Ronald Reagan picture

Message on the Observance of Christmas

December 11, 1986

Every December across America the images of the Christmas season accumulate as this great holiday approaches. Preparations are made in homes and churches and shops in every city and town, and the land is full of traditional signs and symbols of its coming: Fresh snow resting lightly on the holly bush, package-laden crowds crushing the storefronts and bus stops, strings of lights gleaming from the housetops, chestnut vendors and street corner Santas, school plays with children dressed—hardly needing the costume—as angels, and choirs joining heart and voice in joyous song.

Because of these traditions, no Christmas celebration truly stands alone. For most of us, the holidays bring back such a trove of memories, evoked by things as simple as the scent of pine or the painted scene on a greeting card, that our Christmases become not separate events on a calendar but a chain in which all are linked together as one. This is as it should be, for Christmas is a holiday that we celebrate not as individuals nor as a nation, but as a human family—and not merely as a family living in this age and time, but as a family linked through history, in ways we still cannot fully comprehend, to that First Christmas in Bethlehem.

May our prayers this Christmas call forth that serenity of heart and confidence in the future that are the best of all possible gifts. May the song of our people be one of thanks for God's blessings on America and of petition for His continued blessings upon us, especially on those who face this Christmas in want or loneliness. Let us raise our hearts and voices in common song for the reign of peace and the rule of goodwill, that in the words of the carol, all may celebrate "everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight."

Nancy joins me in wishing all Americans a Christmas of true peace and a New Year filled with happiness and joy.


Ronald Reagan, Message on the Observance of Christmas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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