Obama urges compassion in Christmas message

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President Obama urged Americans to follow Jesus Christ’s example of charity and compassion in his annual Christmas greeting.
 
“Today, like millions of Americans and Christians around the world, our family celebrates the birth of Jesus and the values He lived in his own life,” Obama said. “Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society’s margins: the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter — or simply an act of kindness.”

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Obama’s holiday message appeared to be aimed at a public on edge after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. 
 
The president has tried to counter inflammatory rhetoric from Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, pleading with Americans not to give into Islamophobia and remain open to welcoming refugees fleeing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 
 
“That’s the spirit that binds us together — not just as Christians, but as Americans of all faiths,” the president said. “It’s what the holidays are about: coming together as one American family to celebrate our blessings and the values we hold dear.”
 
In the spirit of Christmas, the president and first lady Michelle Obama called on Americans to honor the sacrifice of military service members by giving back to them and their communities. 
 
“During this season, we also honor all who defend those values in our country’s uniform. Every day, the brave men and women of our military serve to keep us safe — and so do their families,” the president said. 
 
“Let’s also take time to pay tribute to those who have given our country so much,”  added the first lady. 
 
The Obamas are spending their annual Christmas vacation in the president’s home state of Hawaii. 
 

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