December 21, 1984
Nancy and I are very pleased to send our warmest greetings to all those gathering with family, friends and neighbors to celebrate this Christmas season.
The first Christmas was a time of family joy for Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus. Although they had made a long journey to reach Bethlehem and were lodged in humble surroundings, they knew that the child Mary bore was a gift not to them alone, but to all mankind. The shepherds who gathered around the manger, and the wise men who traveled from the East to honor the King of Kings, knew that the star above Bethlehem was a guide not only for the pilgrims of that day, but for those in every age seeking the peace which passes understanding.
An early American hymn sang of the Christ-child that ``this richest babe comes poor in being, more pearled within than to the seeing.'' More than any gift or toy, ornament or tree, let us resolve that this Christmas shall be, like that first Christmas, a celebration of interior treasures. And let us resolve to share our many blessings with others now and in the year to come -- from the hungry or the helpless near at hand to those in trouble or turmoil in distant lands from Africa to Asia and beyond.
Today, as we gather with our family and friends to honor Christ, we can experience the same peace and joy as the shepherds and the Magi did almost two thousand years ago. If we make that peace and joy a part of our lives, our example will serve as a guide and an inspiration for everyone we meet. Nancy and I pray that the joy of this holiday season will remain with us all throughout the coming year. May God bless you.