President Bush has sent holiday greetings from the White House to Americans celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa this month.
Mr. Bush says, "Christmas is a season of hope and joy, [and] a time to give thanks ... for the blessings that surround" this country. He called for prayers during Christmas religious services "for freedom, justice, and peace on Earth."
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins this year at sundown on Sunday, the same day as Christmas. To those celebrating Hanukkah, the president noted the traditional religious observance is "a symbol of hope shining through darkness."
The seven-day observance known as Kwanzaa, beginning December 26 calls on African-Americans to reflect on their heritage and traditional values, of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Mr. Bush sent greetings to all celebrating Kwanzaa, which he says "contribute[s] to a culture of citizenship and compassion."
Earlier this year, Mr. Bush sent Muslims around the world a message of greeting to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.