Clinton Offers Holiday Messages
After his quick Bosnia visit, the president plans a quiet Christmas at home
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 23) -- In a holiday ritual, President Bill Clinton has offered words of cheer in his annual Christmas and Kwanzaa messages.
"Warm greetings to everyone celebrating Christmas," the president said in his statement. "At this time of year, when the nights grow longer and often colder, our lives are brightened and our hearts warmed by the lights of Christmas.
"So much light surrounds our memories and celebration of Christmas: candlelight in the windows, colored lights twinkling on the tree, children's faces lit with a joy that is reflected in their parents' eyes.
"The beloved Christmas story itself is a story of light for, as the Gospel of John tells us, Jesus came into the world as 'the true light' that illumines all humankind.
"Almost 2,000 years later, that light still shines amid the dark places of our world. It is reflected in the lives of so many quiet and generous people who strive daily to make life better for others -- feeding the hungry, caring for the ill and elderly, cherishing and nurturing children. It radiates from the hearts of those who work for peace and justice in their communities, our nation, and the world. It shines in the efforts of men and women striving to break down the walls of fear, ignorance, and prejudice that cast shadows across too many lives and prevent us from becoming the people God intended us to be.
"May all who celebrate Christmas this year rejoice in the special gifts of light that it brings: the love that warms our hearts, the faith that lights our journey and the hope that promises us a bright future. Hillary and I wish you joy and peace during this Christmas season and much happiness in the New Year."
The White House also released a message for people celebrating Kwanzaa, the African American-oriented holiday:
"Warm greetings to everyone observing Kwanzaa," the president said. "As America embarks on a season of renewal and reconciliation, the principles of Kwanzaa -- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith -- ring true not only for African Americans, but also for all Americans.
"By emphasizing the importance of family in our lives and the blessings that come with a true commitment to community, opportunity and responsibility, the celebration of Kwanzaa can help us to enter the future as a stronger nation and a more compassionate and united people.
"The symbols and ceremony of Kwanzaa, evoking the rich history and heritage of African Americans, remind us that our nation draws much of its strength from our diversity. As millions of Americans observe Kwanzaa this year, let us renew our commitment to realizing America's promise as a land where all people are free to pursue our common dreams -- to live in peace, to provide for our families and to give our children the opportunity for a better life.
"Hillary joins me in sending best wishes for a joyous Kwanzaa," Clinton concluded.
The Clintons, back from a whirlwind, one-day visit with U.S. troops in Bosnia, plan a quiet holiday. Today, the president is scheduled to light a menorah in honor of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.
"May the candles of the menorah light our way to a true and lasting peace for the people of the Middle East," Clinton said in his Hanukkah message last week.
If he holds true to form, Clinton will make a last-minute shopping trip on Christmas Eve and attend church services. He did some of his shopping in New York on a recent visit there.
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Tuesday Dec. 23, 1997
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