"The Christmas story began 2,000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby son, and the most extraordinary gift of all – the gift of God's love for all of humanity." – President Donald J. Trump
(Washington, DC) — [CBN News] President Trump lit the National Christmas Tree for the first time alongside Melania and thousands of revelers. (Screengrab via CBN News Live/ White House Christmas Tree Lighting)
"As president of the United States it's my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very Merry Christmas," he said.
Trump counted down from 10 while Melania pushed a button that lit up the national tree with silver and gold stars.
It's a tradition that dates back nearly a century and started with President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.
"From the earliest days of our nation, Americans have known Christmas is a time for prayer and worship, for gratitude and good will, for peace and renewal," President Trump said.
Thursday's celebration featured a number of musical performances, singing, and dancing. However, President Trump reminded the nation that Jesus is the real reason for the season.
"For Christians this is a holy season, a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," he said.
"The Christmas story began 2,000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby Son, and the most extraordinary gift of all – the gift of God's love for all of humanity," he continued. "Whatever our belief, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of this incredible life forever changed the course of human history. There is hardly an aspect of our life 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." (Screengrab via CBN News Live/ White House Christmas Tree Lighting)
He explained that Christmas isn't about presents, but celebrating our unique identity.
"Each and every year at Christmas time we recognize that the real spirit of Christmas is not what we have, it's about who we are. Each one of us is a child of God. That is the true source of joy this time of year," President Trump said. "That is what we remember during today's beautiful ceremony. That we are called to serve one another, to love one another, and to pursue peace in our hearts and all throughout the world."
President Trump ended by asking God for his blessings.
"This Christmas we ask for God's blessings for our family and for our nation."