[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book II)]
[December 25, 1993]
[Pages 2204-2205]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
December 25, 1993

    Good morning. On this Christmas morning, I won't keep you very long 
because I know many of you may still have presents under your trees 
waiting to be opened. But I do want to send my warmest Christmas 
greetings to all Americans.
    For Hillary, Chelsea, and me, this is our first Christmas in 
Washington. We've taken great joy in decorating the White House with 
trees and ornaments and decorating our own Christmas tree upstairs in 
the residence. We've taken even greater joy in seeing our fellow 
Americans share in the beauty and the history of their house, the 
people's house, here in our Nation's Capital, as tens of thousands have 
come through to see the White House at Christmastime.
    Like so many of you, we've been joined by relatives and friends. 
We've been reminded of all we have to be thankful for. For this holiday 
season is a time to remember what we value and what gives our lives 
meaning. Today Christians celebrate God's love for humanity made real in 
the birth of Christ in a manger almost 2,000 years ago. The humble 
circumstances of His birth, the example of His life, the power of His 
teachings inspire us to love and to care for our fellow men and women.
    On this day we should be especially grateful that here in America we 
all have the freedom to worship God in our own way, for our faith is 
purest when it is the offering of a free and joyous spirit. We are a 
nation of many faiths and beliefs, united in a sense of mutual respect, 
shared values, and common purpose. Each of our faiths teaches that none 
of us can live alone, for we all belong to something larger than 
ourselves. Each teaches that we can see the image of God reflected in 
our fellow men and women, whatever their creed or color. Each teaches 
that our responsibilities to God are reflected in our responsibilities 
to each other. ``If I am not for myself, who will be for me?'' the Rabbi 
Hillel asked. ``But if I am only for myself, who am I?''
    Part of the miracle of this season is that each of us can hear what 
Abraham Lincoln called ``the better angels of our nature.'' As we gather 
with our families, our friends; as we hear stories of our parents and 
grandparents; as we delight in the laughter of our own children and 
grandchildren, we're reminded again that we are part of a great sea of 
humanity including those who

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came before us and those who will live long afterward. That sense of 
connection is part of the joy of this season, part of the reason why, no 
matter how cold it gets, our hearts remain warm.
    As we rejoice in the best of what life can be, we ask ourselves how 
we can act in the spirit of the season not just on this day but on every 
day. As we look into the eyes of our children filled with life and 
laughter and promise, we're reminded of our most sacred obligation: 
nurturing the next generation. Every father and mother must do whatever 
we can to help our children live decent and responsible lives so they 
can be the people God intended them to be. And as the National 
Conference of Catholic Bishops declared in a pastoral letter, ``No 
government can love a child, no policy can substitute for a family's 
care. The undeniable fact is that our children's future is shaped both 
by the values of their parents and the policies of our Nation.'' So we 
must act as parents, and we must also act as citizens.
    On this day of all days, we are reminded of our obligations to every 
child, not just our own. As long as there are children whose parents 
can't afford to take them to the doctor, as long as there are young 
people who live in fear that they will die before their time from gang 
violence and random gunfire, then each of us is diminished. If each of 
us could find the wisdom, the courage, and the commitment to help bring 
peace to all our own streets and peace of mind to our own families here 
in America, we could give a wonderful gift to ourselves, to our 
children, and our beloved country.
    For most of us, this is a day of well-earned rest. But it's also a 
day when we remember that along with family and community, work gives 
purpose and structure to our lives. In this country, everyone who is 
able to work should be able to find work. And everyone who works should 
be able to support a family. When we restore dignity and security of 
work for all people, we'll go a long way toward restoring the fabric of 
life in all our communities. I'm glad that more Americans are working 
today than there were last year, but I know we've got a long way to go.
    I also want to say a special word of thanks to all those who are 
working today who may wish they weren't working on this day, from those 
who care for the sick in our hospitals to those who patrol the streets 
of our communities. Most of all, we honor the service men and women who 
stand sentry for our freedom every day of the year. Because of their 
vigilance on this Christmas Day, our Nation is at peace. And although 
they may be thousands of miles away, they are close to us today.
    To all those who hear me now, wherever this Christmas morning finds 
you, I wish you the best of holiday seasons, and may God bless you and 
your family.

Note: The address was recorded at 9:55 a.m. on December 22 in the 
Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on 
December 25.