the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President at "Christmas in Washington"

National Building Museum
Washington, D.C.

7:31 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Good evening.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Everybody, please, have a seat. 

Good evening, everybody.  I just want to start by thanking all the folks who have joined us at the National Building Museum.  Let’s give it up for our host, who also happens to be the host of the best late night show on TBS, Conan O’Brien.  (Laughter and applause.)  And I want to thank all the spectacular artists and choirs and glee clubs who have made this such a spectacular evening.  Please give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.) 

I want to congratulate 30 years of “Christmas in Washington.”  It’s always such an extraordinary honor to be a part of this event because it benefits such a special place –- the Children’s National Medical Center.  For so many children and their parents, the work that they do to save lives and improve care is nothing short of a miracle.  And that’s fitting, because this is the season to celebrate miracles.

This is the season to celebrate the story of how, more than two thousand years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among cattle and sheep.  He was no ordinary child.  He was the manifestation of God’s love.  And every year we celebrate His birth because the story of Jesus Christ changed the world.  For me, and for millions of Americans, His story has filled our hearts and inspired our lives.  It moves us to love one another; to help and serve those less fortunate; to forgive; to draw close to our families; to be grateful for all that has been given to us; to keep faith; and to hold on to an enduring hope in humanity.

Service to others.  Compassion to all.  Treating others as we wish ourselves to be treated.  Those values aren’t just at the center of Christianity; those are values that are shared by all faiths.  So tonight let us all rededicate ourselves to each other.  And, in that spirit, from my family to yours, happy holidays.  Merry Christmas.  God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

7:34 P.M. EST