Merry Christmas 2010!
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.Readers, whether you're celebrating the Feast of the Nativity today or simply taking advantage of the holiday to relax and relieve stress, all of us at the Northwest Progressive Institute would like to wish you a very merry Christmas.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on Earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
— Luke 2:1-14; from the New American Bible
If you're exchanging gifts this morning, we hope you'll remember to be kind to the environment and reuse or recycle as much as you can. Most product packaging can be recycled these days, including plastic. Many cartons or bags have symbols on them indicating that they can be recycled; plastic bags are also often marked with a number in addition to the symbol which indicates what type they are for sorting.
As you might expect, today's weekly presidential address (which goes out on Saturdays) is Christmas-themed. It features First Lady Michelle Obama in addition to the President, and was recorded earlier this week before the family left for Hawaiʻi, where they are spending the holiday. The full audio is available for download, but here's an excerpt from the transcript:
Michelle Obama: This is the “People’s House.” So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season.It is likely that the Obamas will spend part of their Christmas Day doing just that — visiting with soldiers at one of Hawaii's military installations, as they have done for the past couple of years, and thanking them for their service.
This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls. And the idea behind this year’s theme, “Simple Gifts,” is that the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing — the comfort of spending time with loved ones … the freedoms we enjoy as Americans … and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves.
So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.
Barack Obama: Because this is the season when we celebrate the simplest yet most profound gift of all: the birth of a child who devoted his life to a message of peace, love, and redemption. A message that says no matter who we are, we are called to love one another – we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, our separate stories in this big and busy world are really one.
Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays — especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas.
We can't all visit a mess hall to do likewise, but if you'd like to send a message to deployed soldiers, sailors, or aircrew, you can easily do so using this online form provided by the Department of Defense. You might also consider participating in Netroots for the Troops' holiday fundraiser.
Once again, Merry Christmas from all of us at NPI. Blessings upon your household, family, friends, and table during this joyous season!