Since 1870, the United States has officially celebrated Christmas as a nation and as a result has declared as a nation the belief in the coming of the Savior to earth. Just as the official Thanksgiving proclamations of the Presidents declare that our nation depends upon the grace and mercy of the LORD God to exist, the celebration of Christmas declares the nation’s faith in the manifestation of that grace and mercy in the birth of Christ.
The following series of articles (Presidential Christmas Messages) will show the Christmas messages of the Presidents where the head of the nation openly declares faith in the Savior of the world.
Presidential Christmas Messages – Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge was the first U.S. President who issued an ‘official’ Christmas message to the nation. He was also responsible for starting the custom of the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony was instituted in 1923 and the first message was given in 1927.
Calvin Coolidge’s Christmas Message 1927
To the American People: —
“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
If we think of these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”
In 1928, Coolidge gave the following message at the National Community Christmas Tree lighting ceremony:
“In token of the good-will and happiness of the holiday season and as an expression of the best wishes of the United States toward a Community Christmas Tree, in behalf of the city of Washington, I now turn on the current which will illuminate this tree.”
The lighting of the national Christmas tree is declaring the nation’s belief that the Light of the World is Christ Jesus.
In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge named the “General Grant Tree” in California the “Nation’s Christmas Tree”. This tree is located in Yosemite National Park in what is now called Kings Canyon National Park. The tree is approximately 2,000 years old and measures 270 feet high and 40 feet across at its base and has a circumference of 108 feet.
In 1870 Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill which made Christmas a legal holiday for the United States.