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: 12/25/2020

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.

 

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture on Christmas Day. 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.

David:

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 the messages of a certain presidents that I know exists, and couldn’t even get them to pop up on the search server. So they’re really just up 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 as 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 the presidential message from President Reagan back in 1983 to the nation.

Reagan:

“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. 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 whether 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 whoever rained and all the parliament’s that ever said, 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 snowed with victory that saved the cause of independence. It said that their root 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 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 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 will maintain a watch for their missing-in-action. And yes, let us remember all those were 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 asked 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. 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 short answer to all the problems we face. Till next week, thanks for listening. God bless you and Merry Christmas.”

Tim:

Alright, guys, and 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, 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.

Guest:

We present now a special transcribed Christmas message from the President of the United States to the American people.

Harry:

“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 reverent 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 littered 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 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 hand. 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 whole 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 bomb, it is faith; faith and 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.

Guest:

Ladies and gentlemen, you have just heard President Truman’s Christmas message to the American people.

David:

We’re going to get that taken Truman’s successor, which was actually, President Dwight D, 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 Sputnik that gets in the 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 to 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. If you listen, and you will hear that Christmas message. And this is broadcast from space and the satellite going around Earth back in 1958.

Eisenhower:

This is the President of the United States speaking. [inaudible 11:13-11:30] for peace on earth ad goodwill toward men everywhere.

David:

So you just heard a message delivered from a satellite in space. Now, we’re going to jump for 10 years, we’re still talking space program here, but we’re now at the time of Apollo 8. 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, it’s a Christmas message, and they actually are going to read at 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 Christmas greeting at the end. But this is a broadcast Christmas message from space going around the moon in 1968.

Astronaut 1:

We’re now approaching lunar satellite. And for all the people back on earth, the [inaudible 12:28] has a message that we would like to send 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 waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and 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 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. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And 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 unto 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.”

And from the [inaudible 14:06] Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck and merry Christmas. And God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.

Rick:

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.

BREAK

Hey friends, if you’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifices they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories. Here on WallBuilders Live, once in a while, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices, have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live from folks that were in the Band of Brothers to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived being Indianapolis to so many other great stories you’ve heard on WallBuilders Live. You have friends and family that also served.

If you have World War Two veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please email us at radio@wallbuilders.com, radio@wallbuilders.com. Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live.

Rick:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, and so far, we’ve been 40 years ago to President Reagan. We’ve been a Truman, Eisenhower and even in space with the Apollo 8 astronauts. Where’s our next stop, Tim Barton?

Tim:

Well, guys, let’s go back to another Ronald Reagan’s 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.

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 are 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 paths other than the military life.

During your time, the sacrifices you’re called upon to make seem 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 are 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.”

Tim:

And guys, one more really great one from President Ronald Reagan, 1981, as this is really early in his presidency, but he’s reminding the Americans of what Christmas is all about. You guys check this out.

Reagan:

Good evening. At Christmas time, every home takes on a special beauty, the Special One. And that’s certainly true with 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 in history. 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 is 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 upon 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.

Tonight in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love of Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow 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, a twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have fallen, 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 because of 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 A Christmas Carol”, God bless everyone. Good night”

David:

So as we’re starting to look toward the end of the program, let’s move to Christmas this year. This is the current Christmas message from President Trump. And like President Reagan, it is very unequivocally Christian. It reminds us of what Christmas really is about. It’s a great message from the president. And then you will hear the military band to the close right at the very end with a chorus from one of the Christmas hymns.

Trump:

Thank you very much. To every family across our nation, the First Lady and I want to wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas. For Christians, this is a joyous time to remember God’s greatest gift to the world. More than 2000 years ago, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. He said, “Do not be afraid, you have found favor with God.” The angel told her that she would give birth to a baby boy Jesus, who would be called the Son of the Most High. Nine months later, Christ was born in the town of Bethlehem. The Son of God came into the world in a humble stable.

As Christians everywhere know, the birth of our Lord and Savior changed history forever. At Christmas, we give thanks to God, and that God sent His only Son to die for us and to offer everlasting peace to all humanity. More than two millennia after the birth of Jesus Christ, His teachings continue to inspire and uplift billions and billions of people all over the globe. His divine word still fills our hearts with hope and faith, and Christians everywhere still strive to live by Jesus’s timeless commandment to His disciples: love one another.

Above all during the sacred season, our souls are full of thanks and praise for Almighty God for sending us Christ, His Son to redeem the world. Tonight, we ask that God will continue to bless this nation and we pray that he will grant every American family a Christmas season full of joy, hope, and peace. On behalf of Melania and the entire Trump family, merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a very, very great and happy New Year. Thank you.

Tim:

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 and remembering what it’s all about. And Luke 2 is certainly one of the more famous passages when it comes to Christmas. And there is 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 2 and we want to play that for you guys, as we were finishing out the program. So here is John Rice Davies reading Luke 2.

John:

And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, and all the world should be taxed and all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from gala tea out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David which is called Bethlehem because he was of the house of lineage of David to be taxed with Mary is a spouse 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 first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them 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 shown round about them, and they were sore 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 should 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.