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Varying Christmas messages: Trump talks faith; Biden's focus on Americans in crisis

Parishioners sit in folding chairs with candles, listening to prayers outside of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ladue, Mo., on December 24. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 25 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden delivered Christmas messages to the American people on Friday, and their central themes were quite different.

In his message, Trump thanked military families, law enforcement and front-line health and emergency workers.

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"Your daily contributions are an example of the selfless love of God and remind us of the noble principles we strive to live by, especially during this special time of year," he said.

"The first lady and I send our warmest wishes to all Americans as we celebrate Christmas. While our gatherings might look different than in years past, this Christmas, like every Christmas, is an opportunity for us to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, and show our heartfelt gratitude for the abundant blessings God has bestowed upon our lives and country.

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"In this season of peace, we cherish the warmth, generosity, and faith that breathe life into our holiday gatherings. The love we share with our family and friends fills our hearts with joy, just as the story of Christ's birth inspires people all over the world. This year, we come together as proud Americans --grateful for our sacred right to worship freely and to openly profess our trust in the enduring light and promise of the coming of God.

"We are forever indebted to those who courageously serve our country in uniform -- and those who walk alongside them. We also thank our Nation's first responders, law enforcement officers, and front-line medical professionals who work tirelessly to serve and protect our communities."

In their message, Biden and future first lady Jill Biden acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 that has made this holiday season unlike any other in recent memory.

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"We know for so many of you in our nation this has been a very difficult year," the president-elect said. "And we are reminded in this season of hope our common humanity and what we are called to do for one another.

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"Many of our Americans are struggling to find work, literally put food on the table, pay their rent or their mortgage. We are reminded that we're on this Earth to care for one another, to give what we can and to be a source of help and hope."

The couple also expressed confidence that 2021 will bring a return to at least some sense of normalcy.

"Many families are facing their first Christmas having lost a loved one," Jill Biden added. "And Joe and I know that sorrow. And we know how in times of grief, a kind word can mean so much.

"This is also a season of gratitude. And we're so thankful for the front-line and essential workers who have put themselves all at risk for all of us -- and for the scientists and researchers who worked to deliver vaccines that are an incredible scientific breakthrough.

"And we are thinking of our service members who are far from home and the loved ones who miss them. Our family knows your sacrifice and our hearts are with you."

"For the Bidens, we usually have 20 to 25 people over Christmas Eve for dinner, but not this year," President-elect Biden continued. "We're going to miss our family, but it's what we need to do to keep our families safe. We hope you'll consider limiting travel in the size of family gatherings as well this year."

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"Even as our celebrations are dimmed, we know that this won't be forever. And brighter days are coming soon," Jill Biden added. "On this holy day, we remember that love and joy can be shared across the farthest distances. We celebrate apart, but not alone, and look forward to next year when we can come together with renewed appreciation for the people and the traditions we love."

"From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and happy holidays," they concluded.

Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20.

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