- (Photo: White House)
In his weekly address to Americans on Saturday, President Obama extended a Merry Christmas, thanked U.S. troops and remembered the birth of Christ as the reason for the season.
"For my family and millions of Americans, it's a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, to reflect on His life and learn from His example," Obama, a self-professed Christian, stated.
"Every year, we commit to love one another. To give of ourselves. To be our brother's keeper. To be our sister's keeper. But those ideas are not just part of our faith. They're part of all faiths. And they unite us as Americans."
The weekly address became available Saturday morning and features both President Obama and First lady Michelle Obama wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
The theme for this year's holiday season at the White House was "Joy to All," where families could spend time with their loved ones. That especially goes for military families.
"You see, the war in Iraq is over. The transition in Afghanistan is underway. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home," said the president. "And all across America, military families are reuniting."
He added, "So this week let's give thanks for our veterans and their families. And let's say a prayer for all our troops – especially those in Afghanistan – who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear."
The Obamas also mentioned those devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown, Conn., shooting.
A total of 28 people died in Newtown last Friday including the gunman, Adam Lanza. Lanza shot 26 people, mostly first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School as well as his mother in his home before turning the gun on himself.
"In this country, we take care of each other," said the First Lady. "And in this season of giving, it's inspiring to see so many people all across America taking the time to help those most in need."
The president added, "That's part of what makes us such a compassionate nation. And this year, I know many of you are extending that kindness to the families who are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy and your prayers to the people of Newtown, Connecticut."
The Obamas are in Hawaii for their Christmas vacation.