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President Barack Obama spoke Thursday night, December 9th,  at the lighting of the national Christmas tree on the ellipse, just outside the White House:

Obama Tree Lighting

This is a very proud holiday tradition. Snow or shine, in good times and in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with presidents to light our national tree. Now, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch. On one occasion, two sheep left the safety of the nativity scene and wandered into rush-hour traffic. That caused some commotion.

Often, the ceremony itself has reflected the pain and sacrifice of the times. There were years during the Second World War when no lights were hung, in order to save electricity. In the days following Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill joined President Roosevelt to wish our nation a Happy Christmas even in such perilous days.

But without fail, each year, we have gathered here. Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia. It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it’s a message that’s universal: A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world. (More From CNN Belief Blog)

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