Christmas Messages from US Presidents and Others: We’re bringing you some special messages from US presidents and others who have given very strong Christmas presentations! We’re also going to play a little vocal recognition game! Tune in now for more!
Air Date: 12/25/2018
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas to all of our WallBuilders Live listeners. We’re glad that you’re still tuning in on Christmas Day or if you’re listening to this later through the archive sections. Either way, Merry, Merry Christmas. We’ve got a special treat for you today.
I’m Rick Green. Former Texas legislator here with David Barton America’s premier historian. And Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor. And we’ve got some really cool things we’re going to be sharing with folks today. Guys– and, in fact, I don’t know if we should tell them all of them that we’re going to add– that we’re going to be airing today. But let’s just say some interesting folks are going to be saying “Merry Christmas”.
Yeah, interesting could be appropriate. It might be fun actually just to do some some vocal recognition if you could play the soundbites and see who would recognize the voices.
Hey, that’s a good idea. Let’s do that! We’ll play the soundbites and see if you can recognize who it is. That’ll be great. So, Justin, let’s start the first one. Here’s a sound– I will tell you it’s a U.S. president and this–
Well, now you’ve made it a lot easier because there’s only 45 options.
Yeah, there’s only forty–
Less than 45 because there weren’t– I think George Washington has a vocal recording we can go to.
Do You Recognize This President?
We don’t know if recording of Washington?
Oh no, go to YouTube his inaugural address right–
No, I don’t–
Maybe not, maybe not.
Well, I don’t think he made it. No, but certainly Merry Christmas from us here at WallBuilders and some presidents also who had some pretty strong Christmas messages while they were in the White House. And we thought this would be a very appropriate way as we talk about the real reason for the season, right, the meaning behind Christmas, as we talk about Jesus. Today there is this thought that you can’t have that from politicians, you can have that in government. But that’s just not the position that most presidents of our nation have taken.
So, we have just pulled a few clips where you can hear presidents talking about the Christmas message and what Christmas is. And then actually during their time as president challenging the nation to remember Christmas and what it was all about. So, we can start with one of these presidents and see if we recognize who it is.
So, here’s your first clip.
We present now a special transcribed Christmas message from the president of the United States to the American people.
A Crusade of Prayer
My fellow countryman, all over our country and in many other parts of the world, men, women, and children, are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Christ. Never before in our lives has a Christmas seemed so important. I’m not thinking of turkey dinners and stacks of gifts. I mean the quiet, reverent, celebration of faith, hope, and love born in a manger in Bethlehem. Across all the continents of this world, peace loving people today feel apprehension, and loneliness, and fear.
Many have forgotten the humble surroundings of the nativity and how, from a strong littered stable, shone a light which for nearly 20 centuries has given man strength, comfort, and peace, peace of mind. At this Christmas time we should renew our faith in God. We celebrate the hour in which God came to man. It is fitting that we should turn to Him.
Many of us are fortunate enough to celebrate Christmas at our own fireside. But there are many others who are away from their homes and loved ones on this day. Thousands of our boys are on the cold and dreary battlefield of Korea. But all of us at home, at war, wherever we may be, are within reach of God’s love and power. We can all pray. All of us should pray. We should ask the fulfillment of God’s will, we should ask for courage, for wisdom, for the quietness of soul which comes alone to them who place their lives in His hands. We should pray for a peace which is based on righteousness.
Our nation already is in the midst of a crusade of prayer. On the last Sunday of the old year there will be special services devoted to a revival of faith in God. I call upon all of you to enlist in this common cause. I call upon you no matter what your spiritual allegiance may be. We are all joined in the fight against the tyranny of communism. Communism is godless. Democracy is the foundation of faith – faith in one’s self, faith in one’s neighbors, faith in God. Democracy’s most powerful weapon not a gun, or a tank, or a bomb – it is faith. Faith in the brotherhood and dignity of man under God.
Let us pray at this Christmas time for the wisdom, the humility, and the courage, to carry on in this faith.
Who Was That?
Alright, so there is a Christmas message from a president, and it is who?
Well, there are some good contextual clues in there because Korean War and “our brethren are at war.” So, the Korean War happened shortly after World War II. So, for listeners thinking, right, FDR is gone. Truman takes over after FDR. So, Truman would be that guy.
1950 Christmas address Harry Truman. And he did not back away from a very clear proclamation. I thought it was interesting he said the nation is praying for a revival.
And that there’s going to be churches gathered all over the nation the first week of the year praying for revival. How good good is that to hear from a president?
And hope for the people–
–because of the gospel message. Which, the same thing is true today. For people listening, this is absolutely true for us in our life. And although we on our show, we try to look back, and we talk a lot about America’s history and heroes, and we try to emphasize the Constitution, and the religious and moral values upon which our nation was founded. We would be amiss to not point out that, no, the gospel message is what this is all about and helping people come to know the God who sent His son, which is where we get the Gospel message, and there is an opportunity for peace and hope for all listening.
The Bible In Space
I love the fact also that he pointed out communism is godless. He even used Christmas as an opportunity to point to the difference in how our government is formed versus communist countries.
We’re going to jump forward eight years. And in eight years, in 1958, the president now is Dwight Eisenhower. Dwight Eisenhower is the first man to have his voice broadcast over satellite. And it was broadcast on Christmas night with Christmas greetings. We’re not going to play that. But ten years after that is a major broadcast that came from outer space. Apollo 8, they were orbiting the moon, they were getting ready for what would happen with Apollo 11 when they walked on the moon.
So, as they are orbiting the moon you have three astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman, and they recited Genesis Chapter 1 verses 1-10. They read that back to Americans on Christmas night. So, here is outer space, 1968, Apollo 8.
We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the water. And God said, ‘Let there be light” and there was light and God saw the light that it was good.
“Then God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters. God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters that were above the firmament and it was so. Then God called the firmament heaven and the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He seas, and God saw that it was good.”
From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with goodnight, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good earth.
And the pauses you heard between the readers. Was each of the astronauts was passing a King James Bible to the next astronaut and that takes a little while when you’re kind of weightless and kind of floating around not tied down. So, that’s what the pause was between the readers. But that was Christmas Eve night of 1968.
Are We Still Playing the Game?
And David and Tim, who’s our next– are we going to tell them who it is? Or are we going to play it and see if we can figure it out?
Well, for this generation there’s a whole lot of people who are not millennials who will recognize his voice. Maybe some millennials as well. But this is a very recognizable voice. We can say it was a Hollywood actor who became a president, he was a * actor, and it was President Ronald Reagan. This is his first Christmas address. This is 1981, his first year as president.
Good evening. At Christmas time every home takes on a special beauty, a special warmth. And that’s certainly true at the White House where so many famous Americans have spent their Christmases over the years. This fine old home, the people’s house, has seen so much, been so much a part of all our lives and history. It’s been humbling and inspiring for Nancy and me to be spending our first Christmas in this place.
We’ve lived here as your tenants for almost a year now and what a year it’s been. As a people we’ve been through quite a lot – moments of joy, tragedy, and real achievement. Moments that I believe brought us all closer together. G.K. Chesterton once said that the world would never starve for wonders, but only for the want of wonder. At this special time of year we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem nearly 2000 years ago.
Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the divinity of the child born in Bethlehem that he was and is the promised Prince of Peace. Yes, we’ve questioned why He who could perform miracles chose to come among us as a helpless babe. But maybe that was his first miracle, His first great lesson, that we should learn to care for one another.
The Twin Beacons
Tonight in millions of American homes the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star if you will. At a lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of Faith and Freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have halted, but trusting in God’s help we’ve never lost our way.
Just across the way from the White House stand the two great emblems of the holiday season – a menorah symbolizing the Jewish festival of Hanukkah and the National Christmas Tree, a beautiful towering blue spruce from Pennsylvania. Like the National Christmas Tree, our country is a living growing thing planted in rich American soil. Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower. So, let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication.
Well, David, you’re right about recognizable. Maybe the most recognizable presidential voice. Still sounds– makes me miss Reagan every time I listen. But certainly when he is pointing out the reason for the season for us.
Hey, does it make you feel old if I tell you that 41 percent of voters today did not live through any part of Ronald Reagan?
I thought the answer to the question was going to be “yes” as soon as you said, “Does it make you feel old?” – I didn’t even have to hear the question. But, yeah, no doubt – 41 percent. Wow.
Yeah, 41 percent. But, again, there is a president who’s very outspoken, did not back up at all from acknowledging the Christian faith, and particularly, on Christmas holiday. He himself was an open professing Christian. He was very God centered in so many of his addresses. But there you have an indication of the strength of his conviction in that Christmas address from 1981.
Alright, quick break, guys. We’ll be back with more. We’ve got special messages for you here on Christmas Day. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. I know you hear my dad and Rick talk a lot about our Founding Fathers about the original intent of our nation, a constitutional heritage that we have. And really we’ve seen how far we slipped away from that. And I know a lot of us as we hear my dad and Rick talk think, “I wish there was a place that I could go where I could see these documents and I could read and learn about the Founding Fathers firsthand. See the things they did.”
I want to give you some websites today that can help you accomplish that very thing. If you get online you can go to places like Library of Congress and you can look under their century of lawmaking or historical documents. You can go to the Avalon Project, to the Founders Constitution, Google Books, or even the internet archives.
Or you can just go to WallBuilders.com. We have a section for our WallBuilders Library. And under that section we have different subgroups for historical documents, historical writings, even a place where you can get helpful links to find out more information about other websites. Where you can do research for yourself and find the truth for yourself. Friends, this is the time that we need to know who we are and where we came from. WallBuilders.com is a great place to go.
The Culture of the Day
We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this very special Christmas Day. Bringing you some special messages. So far we have two presidents that have addressed Christmas and even some astronauts. And of course, David, you pointed out– pointed this out earlier in the program. But how cool that the astronauts were reading from the Bible and pretty much the entire nation was tuning in to hear that on Christmas Day.
Yeah, that was the culture of the day. There is no reason to run from our faith or shy from our faith. And, by the way, that reading for the Bible, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the famous atheist, filed a number of lawsuits over that lost every single one of them in court. She tried the Supreme Court, she tried District Court, she tried the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
And actually, on Apollo 11, astronaut, I think it was Jim Lovell, when he got out on the moon actually had communion on the moon. So, you’re talking the first lunar walk and had communion on the moon and also had Bible reading on the moon as well. And she sued for that as well, but didn’t get anywhere.
So, how different is the culture of even earlier, a generation. You were alive at that time, I was alive at that time, and how different is that compared to where we are today. So, it really is, it’s striking.
And we’re going to go back just to a year ago. We listened to President Reagan’s first Christmas address. Now here’s President Trump’s first Christmas address from last year. And it also is strikingly overt in acknowledging Christ in Christmas and the reason for Christmas.
Today is a day that I’ve been looking very much forward to all year long. It’s one that we have heard, and we speak about, and we dream about. And now as the president of the United States, it’s my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very Merry Christmas.
I want to thank everyone who has come together here right in front of the White House. That beautiful, beautiful, White House, and everyone watching from home to see the lighting of this incredible national Christmas tree. For nearly a century through good times and bad, every president has taken part in this wonderful tradition first started by President Coolidge. But I was informed tonight that the weather we have is the best it’s been in 25 years. In fact, I said, “Is it always like this?” And the secretary said, “Hasn’t been like this for a long time. We’re very lucky.”
Doing That Again
Finally, in 1870 President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation making Christmas a federal holiday. And I sort of feel we’re doing that again. That’s what’s happening.
From the early days of our nation, Americans have known Christmas as a time for prayer and worship, for gratitude and goodwill, for peace and renewal.
Melania and I are full of joy at the start of this very blessed season. We’re thrilled to think of the people across the nation, and all across the continents, whose spirits are lifted by the miracle of Christmas. For Christians, this is a holy season, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Christmas story begins 2000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby son, and the most extraordinary gift of all, the gift of God’s love for all of humanity. Whatever our beliefs, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ, and the story of this incredible life, forever changed the course of human history. There’s hardly an aspect of our lives today that His life has not touched – art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person everywhere in the world.
Each and every year at Christmas time, we recognize that the real spirit of Christmas is not what we have – it’s about who we are. Each one of us is a child of God. That is the true source of joy this time of the year.
Well, it’s surprising, to say the least, from what we thought we may get with this president to what we have gotten with the Christmas messages, with the battles he’s been willing to take on. And it’s important to have a president that speaks like that about this most important holiday and the example that sets for the whole country. So, it’s pretty cool. It sounded Reagan-esque, honestly.
It does sound Reagan-esque. And speaking of Reagan-esque, here’s President Reagan’s 1983 Christmas address and it, too, is a very open, very faith filled, and a very good address.
President Reagan 1983
“My fellow Americans, like so many of your homes the White House is brimming with greens, colorful decorations, and a tree trimmed and ready for Christmas Day. And when Nancy and I look out from our upstairs windows we can see the national Christmas tree standing in majestic beauty. It’s lights fill the air with a spirit of love, hope, and joy, from the heart of America.
I shared that spirit recently when a young girl named Amy Bynum helped me light our national tree. Amy had said that the tree that lights up our country must be seen all the way to heaven. And she said that her wish was to help me turn on its lights. Well, Amy’s wish came true, but the greatest gift was mine because I saw her eyes light up with hope and joy just as brightly as the lights on our national tree. And I’m sure they were both seen all the way to heaven and they made the angels sing.
Christmas is a time for children and rightly so. We celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace who came as a babe in a manger. Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great teacher and philosopher, but to other millions of us, Jesus is much more. He is divine, living assurance that God so loved the world He gave us His only begotten son so that by believing in him, and learning to love each other, we could one day be together in paradise. It’s been said that all the kings who ever reigned, that all the parliaments that ever sat, have not done as much to advance the cause of peace on earth and goodwill to men as the man from Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth.
Christmas is also a time to remember the treasures of our own history. We remember one Christmas in particular, 1776, our first year as a nation. The Revolutionary War had been going badly, but George Washington’s faith, courage, and leadership, would turn the tide of history our way. On Christmas night, he led a band of ragged soldiers across the Delaware River through driving snow to a victory that saved the cause of independence. It’s said that their route of march was stained by bloody footprints, but their spirit never faltered and there will could not be crushed.
It’s Not Enough to Depend On Our Own Courage and Goodness
The image of George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow is one of the most famous in American history. He personified a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness. They must also seek help from God their Father and Preserver. In a few hours, families and friends across America will join together in caroling parties and Christmas Eve services. Together we’ll renew that spirit of faith, peace, and giving, which has always marked the character of our people.
In our moments of quiet reflection, I know we will remember our fellow citizens who may be lonely and in need tonight. “Is the Christmas spirit still alive?”, some ask. Well, you bet it is. Being Americans, we open our hearts to neighbors less fortunate. We try to protect them from hunger and cold and we reach out in so many ways. From Toys for Tots drives across the country, to Goodwill by the Salvation Army, to American Red Cross efforts which provide food, shelter, and Christmas cheer from Atlanta to Seattle.
Churches are so generous it’s impossible to keep track. One example, Reverend Bill Singles, Presbyterian Meeting House, in nearby Alexandria, Virginia is simultaneously sponsoring Hot Meals on Wheels programs, making and delivering hundreds of sandwiches, and box loads of clothes, while visiting local hospitals and sending postcards to shut ins and religious dissidents abroad.
Let us remember the families who maintain a watch for their missing in action. And, yes, let us remember all those who are persecuted inside the Soviet bloc – not because they commit a crime, but because they love God in their hearts and want the freedom to celebrate Hanukkah or worship the Christ child. And because faith for us is not an empty word, we invoke the power of prayer to spread the spirit of peace.
We ask protection for our soldiers who are guarding peace tonight from frigid outposts in Alaska, and the Korean de-militarized zone, to the shores of Lebanon. One Lebanese mother told us that her little girl had only attended school two of the last eight years. Now, she said, because of our presence there her daughter can live a normal life. With patience and firmness we can help bring peace to that strife torn region and make our own lives more secure.
Never Be Afraid of Trusting in God
The Christmas spirit of peace, hope, and love, is a spirit Americans carry with them all year round everywhere we go. As long as we do we need never be afraid because trusting in God is the one sure answer to all the problems we face. Until next week, thanks for listening. God bless you and Merry Christmas.
Well, guys, we’re almost out of time, but I think we have a final, not president, but a final Merry Christmas.
We do have a final Merry Christmas and it actually goes back to 1843. Charles Dickens, when he wrote A Christmas Carol. And there’s been many versions of that done over the years. I think my favorite version of The Christmas Carol is the one with Alistair Sims. I cry when I see it. It is so good. But that was a Christ centered message that they had and particularly, when you read it. Hollywood has made it less Christ centered. But as you actually read the story, Charles Dickens was an overt Christian, outspoken about his faith, and it was very evident in a Christmas carol.
Christmas Messages from US Presidents and Others
So, we want to close with the last section of the Alastair Simms movie, A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol:
He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city ever knew – or any other good old city, town, and * in the good old world. And to Tiny Tim who lived and got well again, he became a second father. *Uncle Scrooge!* And it was always said that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, everyone.
Well, Merry Christmas from all of us here at WallBuilders to all of you, our listeners. Thank you for your support. Thank you for listening. And have a Merry, Merry Christmas.