President Joe Biden (L) and first lady Jill Biden (R) sit with their dog, the German Shepherd puppy Commander, while virtually meeting with U.S. military service members Saturday on Christmas Day. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 25 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden thanked U.S. armed forces members and "resilient" Americans providing help during the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday in their Christmas message.
"We pray for our service members and their families, and thank them for their service and sacrifice," the first couple said in a statement, adding that they're also keeping all those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 in their thoughts.
"We pray for you to find strength from sorrow and purpose from pain," the Bidens said as they celebrated their first Christmas in the White House.
The first couple also praised Americans' "resilience and resolve" in 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic -- thanking especially those who "comfort, teach, and protect and serve in ways big and small."
"You show there is much to gain in appreciation and gratitude for the gift of time and goodwill we share as we look out for one another," they added. "Again and again, you show how our differences are precious and our similarities infinite."
The president and the first lady said that this holiday season "is yet another reminder that we are a great nation because we are a good people."
The first couple, accompanied by their new puppy Commander, also addressed members of the American armed forces -- the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard -- in a video forum from the White House.
On Friday, the Bidens visited the National Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Here is the Bidens' full Christmas message:
On behalf of our family, we wish a merry Christmas to everyone in the United States and around the world who is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and the promise of hope and renewal.
During this season of joy, we are inspired by the countless Americans who are a reminder that the things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time, and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family, and friendship; a love of the arts, learning, and nature; gratitude, service, and community; unity and peace. These are the gifts from the heart.
Looking back at this year, we've seen enormous courage, character, resilience, and resolve in all of you who heal, comfort, teach, and protect and serve in ways big and small. You show there is much to gain in appreciation and gratitude for the gift of time and goodwill we share as we look out for one another. Again and again, you show how our differences are precious and our similarities infinite.
We are also keeping in our prayers all of you who have lost loved ones during this pandemic and for whom this Christmas falls on heavy hearts. We pray for you to find strength from sorrow and purpose from pain.
We pray for our service members and their families, and thank them for their service and sacrifice.
And, for the nation, we pray for the promise found in Scripture -- of finding light in the darkness, which is also perhaps the most American of things to do.
As we celebrate our first Christmas in the White House, we see the world through the eyes of the Child born on this day -- of hope and love, peace and joy, and of the light that shines within us all.
This sacred season is yet another reminder that we are a great nation because we are a good people.
We are forever humbled and grateful to serve as your president and first lady.
Merry Christmas, America.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and first lady Jill Biden pet their dog, Commander, while virtually meeting with United States military service members on Christmas Day, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, DC, on December 25, 2021. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo