There are few things as big as President Donald Trump’s personality—but the National Christmas Tree comes close. At 50 feet, it loomed large over the crowd at the lighting ceremony, almost as large as the debate about the holiday itself.
For the Trumps, Thursday’s event wasn’t so much about flipping the switch on a giant evergreen, but about turning the page on eight years of sanitized celebrating.
“We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said with gusto. And they aren’t just saying it, they’re embracing it. From the official White House Christmas card to red and green press conference signs, this is the December Trump has been waiting for.
“Today is a day that I’ve been looking very much forward to all year long. It’s one that we have heard and we speak about and we dream about. And now, as the president of the United States, it’s my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very merry Christmas,” he told the crowd at the ellipse.
With a bit of irony, Trump pointed back to the 1870 legislation signed by President Ulysses Grant making Christmas a federal holiday. “And I sort of feel we’re doing that again. That’s what’s happening,” he said.
But Christmas isn’t the only thing making a comeback under Trump—so is the story behind it. In a speech that no one would ever mistake for President Barack Obama’s, the 45th president made it clear that this “is a holy season, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
… [That is] the most extraordinary gift of all—the gift of God’s love for all of humanity … Whatever our beliefs, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of this incredible life forever changed the course of human history. There’s hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched—art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person, everywhere in the world.
“Each one of us is a child of God,” the president reminded Americans. “That is the true source of joy this time of the year … And so, this Christmas, we ask for God’s blessings for our family and for our nation. We pray that our country will be a place where every child knows a home filled with love, a community rich with hope, and a nation blessed with faith.”
For most of America, though, it was a refreshing break from the left’s pageants of political correctness. To millions of them, Trump isn’t just tapping into the frustration they feel about Christmas—but the mockery of every value they hold dear: marriage, family, faith, and patriotism.
As far as some liberals are concerned, believing in Jesus is as childish as believing in Santa. They’re embarrassed by the “unsophistication” of Christianity. And, for years, they’ve done a bang-up job persuading others to feel likewise.
“The opponents of ‘Merry Christmas’ and other uses of the word ‘Christmas’ know exactly what they are doing…” writes Dennis Prager. “They are disingenuous when they dismiss defenders of ‘Merry Christmas’ as fabricating some sort of ‘war.’ The left in America, like the left in Europe, wants to create a thoroughly secular society … That’s why ‘Merry Christmas’ so bothers the anti-religious left. It is perhaps the single most blatant reminder of just how religious America is.”
“The ‘Happy Holidays’ advocates want it both ways,” Prager argues. “They dismiss opponents as hysterical, while at the same time, relentlessly pushing to rid America of ‘Merry Christmas.'”
Why? Because in the end, this isn’t a war on Christmas. It’s a war on Christ. Every time the nine letters of Christmas are used, people come face to face with the six that secularists are trying to drive out.
So this is hardly a silly little controversy invented by hypersensitive Christians. It’s the epitome of the fight for faith in America. And don’t believe any liberal who says otherwise.
This was originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.