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Current Page: U.S. | Friday, December 04, 2015
Jesus' Values Are in All Faiths, Obama Says at Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Jesus' Values Are in All Faiths, Obama Says at Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the National Christmas Tree Lighting and Pageant of Peace ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, December 3, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)
U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by actress Reese Witherspoon and daughter Malia, sings onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting and Pageant of Peace ceremony on the Ellipse Washington December 3, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama hugs a man dressed as Santa Claus as Muppets character Miss Piggy (top L) watches during the National Christmas Tree Lighting and Pageant of Peace ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington December 3, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the National Christmas Tree Lighting and Pageant of Peace ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington December 3, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

During Thursday's White House National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, President Barack Obama suggested  the teachings of Jesus Christ are reflected in all faiths.

Obama, who was accompanied by his family, called Americans and the world to share the "spirit of compassion," adding, "That's the message of the child whose birth families like mine celebrate on Christmas — a prince born in a stable who taught us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves; and that we are our brothers' keeper and our sisters' keepers; that we should feed the hungry, visit the sick, welcome the stranger.

"These are the lessons of Jesus Christ," Obama declared. "But they're also the bedrock values of all faiths — values to be cherished and embraced not only during the holidays, but to be practiced in our daily lives."

Obama added that the victims of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California, should be reminded that they are in "our thoughts, they're in our prayers, and we send them our love."

The president also called on people around the world to come together to share in a "common humanity," while praising the U.S. Armed Forces and religious liberty.

"And let's keep in our prayers those Americans who protect that ideal, especially those stationed far from home during the holidays," he added.

"Our men and women in uniform and their families sacrifice so much for us. And it's because of them that we can celebrate freely, that we can worship as we please, that we can come together on a night like this – strong, and united, and free," he added.

After the lighting of the tree, CNN reported that Obama and actress Reese Witherspoon led the assembled in singing "Jingle Bells." Miss Piggy made an appearance, praising first lady Michelle Obama for her "Let's Move" fitness campaign.

The lighting of the national Christmas tree is in its 93rd year, dating back to the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. Speeches have been included by every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The tree is located on the Elipse or President's Park South across from the White House. The ceremony's traditional inclusion of a nativity scene has survived various legal challenges dating back decades.

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