Tune In For A Very Special Broadcast Brought To You Today – Today is a very special day for so many people across the Country. Join us as we bring this special broadcast to you, messages from presidents over the years!
Air Date: 12/24/2021
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.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks so much for joining us today. We got a very special program for you today. I’m Rick Green here with David Barton and Tim Barton. We obviously want to wish you a merry Christmas. David wants Christmas music all year long. But we did definitely have Christmas music today. And we are Christmas music fans, but even better, we like Christmas speeches. Well, I don’t know about better for you guys. I said better, I love some of the things we’re about to share with folks. And David, the first one’s going to be from President Reagan. Tell us a little bit about what we’re going to be sharing.
Yeah. And by the way, I’ve been warming up for this for 364 days. So this is fun. What we’re going to do is actually look at great excerpts out of history, everything from presidents, to other political leaders, to actors, to even astronauts, and the way we’ve celebrated Christmas across the years. So because of technology over history, we have a number of these things that have been recorded, they are somewhat hard to find now. So if you’re using a lot of the search services, Microsoft, Google, whatever, it’s getting hard to find actually Christ-centered Christmas messages.
I was looking specifically for that messages with a certain presence that I know exist, and couldn’t even get them to pop up on the search service. So they’re really shutting stuff down on that end. But we’re going to start with President Reagan.
President Reagan in our lifetime and in the lifetime of many of our listeners, this is a guy who really brought faith back to a very relevant level. He was not ashamed of his faith. He was very outspoken about it. He had the year of the Bible that he declared back in the 1980s as President of the United States. And so his Christmas messages reflect the fact that this is Christmas. It is a religious holiday. It’s not a commercial holiday. It’s not just about Santa Claus. It is about Jesus Christ. So here’s a presidential message from President Reagan back in 1983 to the nation.
My fellow Americans, like so many of you at 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. Its 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 Behnam 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. But 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 is the birthday of a great teacher and philosopher. But to other millions of us, Jesus is much more; He has 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 and 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 said that their route of march was stained by bloody footprints. But their spirit never faltered and their will could not be crushed. 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 and 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 but 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 meetinghouse 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 an 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 Demilitarized 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. A 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 short answer to all the problems we face. Till next week, thanks for listening. God bless you and Merry Christmas.
Alright, guys, another great presidential message from Harry Truman, who’s the president who helped lead America out of World War II. And during his presidency, you get the Korean War. And as Americans, and really the world was fearful of Another World War as the Cold War is unfolding, President Truman wanted to remind Americans what Christmas was all about. You guys listen to this.
We present now a special transcribed Christmas message from the President of the United States to the American people,
My fellow countrymen, 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 as a Christmas seem so important. I’m not thinking of turkey dinners and stacks of gifts, I mean, the quiet reverence, celebration of faith, hope, and love born in the 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 straw-lettered stable shone a light, which for nearly 20 centuries has given men 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 Korean. But all of us at home, at work, 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 placed their lives in his name. We should pray for a peace which is based on righteousness.
The 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 call. I call upon you no matter what your spiritual allegiance may be. We’re all joined in the fight against the tyranny of communism. Communism is godless. Democracy is the foundation of faith: faith in oneself, faith in one’s neighbors, faith in God.
Democracy is most powerful weapon is not a gun, a tank or a bomb, it is faith, faith in the brotherhood and dignity of man under God. I just pray at this Christmas time for the wisdom, the humility, and the courage to carry on in this faith.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have just heard President Truman’s Christmas message to the American people.
We’re going to take Truman’s successor, which was actually President Dwight Eisenhower. Truman at the end of the war was actually the commander-in-chief for Dwight Eisenhower, who is handling all the forces over in Europe in World War II. But what’s interesting is Eisenhower really came out as a big science guy when he was president. And it was under President Eisenhower that NASA was started. And so the space race is going, the Soviets have spent that gets into space before the Americans do. But we Americans managed to get a satellite into space. Now, that’s not a big deal today.
But I want you to think about technology back in 1958. And on Christmas, President Eisenhower has a message for the nation. And it’s just right out of Matthew and Luke the message the angels had, that’s the first message broadcast over satellite, is pretty cool. That is really difficult to hear because technology be what it was back then, you’re going to hear all the scratchiness. And it’s going to be tough, but you listen, and you will hear that Christmas message. And this is broadcast from space and the satellite going around Earth back in 1958.
So you just heard a message delivered from a satellite in space. Now we’re going to jump forward 10 years, we’re still talking space program here, but we’re now at the time of Apollo eight. At Christmas time in 1968, three astronauts are circling the moon, they’re not going to land on the moon. But this is the first time man has ever circled the moon and it is Christmas Eve. And so what they do on Christmas Eve is the three astronauts have a message for Earth that’s a Christmas message. And they actually are going to read out a Genesis 1. And you’ll hear three different voices here as they pass the Bible between the three of them and then you hear a Christmas greeting at the end. But this is a broadcast Christmas message from space going around the moon in 1968.
We’re now approaching [inaudible 12:13], and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send you. In the beginning, God created the heavens in the earth. And the earth was without form, and void and darkness was upon the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night, and the evening and the morning was the first day. And God said let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and let them divide the waters from the water and God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament heaven and evening and the morning was the second day.
And God said let the water under the heaven be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear and it was so. And God called dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called them seas. And God saw that it was good. And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close good night, good luck. [inaudible 14:00]. And God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.
Alright, friends, that was Apollo 8. We’re going to take a quick break. I mean, just the first half of this program, 40 years ago to President Reagan, then all the way back to Truman and Eisenhower, and even in space. Apollo 8. Stay with us, we got even more for you. It’s Merry Christmas today. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. And so far we’ve been 40 years ago to President Reagan. We’ve been to Truman, Eisenhower and even in space with the Apollo 8 astronauts. Where’s our next stop, Tim Barton?
Well, guys, let’s go back to another Ronald Reagan speech. This one was in 1987 he was speaking to military and to US military around the world. He wanted to help them remember they were not forgotten and wanted to encourage Americans to pray for them. And really, just like everything we’ve been hearing, very pointed Christmas message, so this is 1987, Ronald Reagan.
As Americans celebrate this joyful season, it gives me great pleasure to send heartfelt greetings to the members of the United States Armed Forces. Traditionally, this is a time together around the hearth with loved ones, to celebrate and give thanks for the peace and abundance with which God has blessed our great land.
But in the midst of these good times with family and friends, the American people have not forgotten those who’re protecting our way of life. The security that our Armed Forces provides ensures our freedom and protects all we cherish. That’s quite a gift you’re giving and you can be certain we appreciate it. All of you could have taken part this other than the military life.
During Yuletide, the sacrifice as you’re called upon to make see more acute, most especially for those who must spend the holiday season away from home and family. But each of you understands the importance of your job, and that your readiness and vigilance must never be relaxed. The professionalism and spirit with which you maintain our country’s defense, our sources of deep and abiding pride in the hearts of all Americans.
To you who willingly shoulder that burden and to your families who stand beside you as you carry out your vital duties, I send the thanks of a grateful nation. No matter where you serve, your countrymen think of you. As your commander-in-chief, I’m proud to salute you. Nancy joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday, and health and prosperity in 1988. God bless you. And God bless America.
And guys, one more really great one from President Ronald Reagan, 1981, this is really early in his presidency, but he’s reminding the Americans of what Christmas is all about. You guys check this out.
Good evening. At Christmas time, every home takes on a special beauty, a special warmth. And that’s certainly true of the White House where so many famous Americans have spent their Christmases over the years. This final home, the People’s House has seen so much, been so much a part of all our lives and history.
G.K. Chesterton once said that the world would never starve for wonders, but only for the one 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 is the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the divinity of the child born in Bethlehem, but 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 baby. But maybe that was his first miracle, His first great lesson that we should learn to care for one another. 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 at first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will.
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 that brightened the American sky. That times our footsteps many unfolded, 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 Christmas means so much bigger have one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presence money can buy; in their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future, lies the true meaning of Christmas.
So in a spirit of gratitude for what we’ve been able to achieve together over the past year, and looking forward to all that we hope to achieve together in the years ahead, Nancy, and I want to wish you all the best of holiday seasons, as Charles Dickens who said so well in s Christmas Carol. God bless us, everyone. Good night.
Alright, guys, as we are wrapping up this program, one of the things that certainly is worth doing, as we talk about Christmas we celebrate Christmas is going back to the Bible and recapturing the story, remembering what it’s all about. And Luke chapter 2 is certainly one of the more famous passages when it comes to Christmas. And there was many, many actors in Hollywood who were very outspoken Christians, supportive of Christmas. And one of those is John Rice-Davies, who has a very incredible reading of Luke chapter 2. And we want to play that for you guys. So here is John Rice-Davies reading Luke chapter 2.
And it came to pass in those days that went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, all the world should be tax. And all went to the tax, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife being great with child.
And so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shall round about them. And they were so afraid. And the angel said, fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly voices praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.
Alright, friends, for our final Christmas piece, none other than Billy Graham all the way back in 1977.
I think the message of Christmas has been generally misunderstood and misapplied. Some think only of business profits, shopping gifts, tensile toys, and celebrations. Others think only of Bethlehem, of the star in the sky, shepherds in the field and angel singing. And still, others cynically ask where is the Prince of Peace?
But the real Christmas message goes much deeper. It answers all the great questions that plague the human race if this or any other hour. The Christmas message is relevant, revolutionary, and reassuring in a world of confusion and crisis. It can be summed up in three tremendous events: a birth, death, and the climax of human history.
On that first Christmas night, the Bible tells of the angel who said to the fearful shepherds, fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. What is the real meaning of these good tidings?
During various wars, many a mother tries to keep in memory of her young sons father fresh on the boys, man. I heard of one during World War II, who took her young son into the bedroom every day and they would stand in gaze at a large portrait of the father who was away at of war. And one day, the young boy looked long and wistfully at his father’s picture and said to his mother, mom, wouldn’t it be great if dad would just step down from the frame?
For centuries, men had looked into the heavens, longing for God to step out of the frame. At Bethlehem, 2000 years ago, God did exactly that. He stepped out of the frame. That virgin-born baby was God in human form, he humbled himself. He took the form of a servant. He was made in your likeness and man. He identified himself with our problems and the problems of the whole human race.
Thus it was that the apostle John wrote, that Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. May this Christmas mark the beginning of a new life for you and your family, as you make Jesus Christ, the Lord, and Savior of your life. Good night, and blessed Christmas from our house to your house.
Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed this special programming here on WallBuilders Live. We hope you have a very wonderful Merry Christmas. And we encourage you to give the gift of freedom to your family members, to folks that you know. Give them a pocket constitution, give them a copy of biblical citizenship or just invite them to join us on one of our classes. Get them engaged in their culture to be biblical citizens. That’s actually giving the gift of freedom, not just to them, but to the next generation as well.
God bless you and thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live.