President Harry S. Truman, Christmas 1952

Remarks Upon Lighting the National Community Christmas Tree.
December 24, 1952

My fellow Americans:

As we light this National Christmas tree tonight, here on the White House lawn-as all of us light our own Christmas trees in our own homes–we remember another night long ago. Then a Child was born in a stable. A star hovered over, drawing wise men from afar. Shepherds, in a field, heard angels singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” That was the first Christmas and it was God’s great gift to us.

This is a wonderful story. Year after year it brings peace and tranquility to troubled hearts in a troubled world. And tonight the earth seems hushed, as we turn to the old, old story of how “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Tonight, our hearts turn first of all to our brave men and women in Korea. They are fighting and suffering and even dying that we may preserve the chance of peace in the world. The struggle there has been long and bitter. But it has a hopeful meaning.

It has a hopeful meaning because it is the common struggle of many free nations which have joined together to seek a just and lasting peace. We know, all of us, that this is the only way we can bring about peace in the conditions of our time on this earth. Whether we shall succeed depends upon our patience and fortitude. We still have a long road ahead of us before we reach our goal. We must remain steadfast.

And as we go about our business of trying to achieve peace in the world, let us remember always to try to act and live in the spirit of the Prince of Peace. He bore in His heart no hate and no malice–nothing but love for all mankind. We should try as nearly as we can to follow His example.

Our efforts to establish law and order in the world are not directed against any nation or any people. We seek only a universal peace, where all nations shall be free and all peoples shall enjoy their inalienable human rights. We believe that all men are truly the children of God.

As we worship at this Christmastide, let us worship in this spirit. As we pray for our loved ones far from home–as we pray for our men and women in Korea, and all our service men and women wherever they are–let us also pray for our enemies. Let us pray that the spirit of God shall enter their lives and prevail in their lands. Let us pray for a fulfillment of the brotherhood of man.

Through Jesus Christ the world will yet be a better and a fairer place. This faith sustains us today as it has sustained mankind for centuries past. This is why the Christmas story, with the bright stars shining and the angels singing, moves us to wonder and stirs our hearts to praise.

Now, my fellow countrymen, I wish for all of you a Christmas filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and many years of future happiness with the peace of God reigning upon this earth.

–President Harry S. Truman.