As we celebrate Christmas, Reagan’s 1981 address is worth reading:
Nancy and I are very happy to send our warmest greetings and best wishes to all those who are celebrating Christmas. We join with Americans everywhere in recognizing the sense of renewed hope and comfort this joyous season brings to our nation and the world.
The Nativity story of nearly twenty centuries ago is known by all faiths as a hymn to the brotherhood of man. For Christians, it is the fulfillment of age-old prophecies and the reaffirmation of God’s great love for all of us. Through a generous Heavenly Father’s gift of His Son, hope and compassion entered a world weary with fear and despair and changed it for all time.
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man.
The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls of the caring. And it is reflected in the brilliant colors, joyful sounds, and beauty of the winter season.
Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year.
Nancy and I ask you to join us in a prayer that prudence, wisdom, and understanding might descend on the people of all nations’ so that during the year ahead we may realize an ancient and wondrous dream: “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”