Ambassador Gingrich’s Remarks at Tri-Mission Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Ambassador Gingrich’s Remarks at the Tri-Mission Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Rome, Italy
November 30, 2018

Good afternoon.  Welcome to our Christmas tree lighting ceremony!  It’s a pleasure to be here with Ambassador Eisenberg, Chargé Duffy, and our Tri-Mission Community.

I’d like to thank our CLO for organizing today’s ceremony, and our GSO for decorating this beautiful tree!

As a fellow musician, I’d also like to thank our instrumentalists from the American Overseas School of Rome for being here.

The lighting of our Tri-Mission Christmas tree is a perfect way to begin the holiday season.

This tree stands as a beacon of light, as we look forward to a season of joy with family and friends.

The tradition of the Christmas tree, as we know it, dates back to Germany in the 1600’s.

Back then, there were no bright lights and beautiful ornaments – instead, many people decorated their tree with apples!

German settlers brought this tradition to the United States in the 1800s.  And in 1923, on Christmas Eve, President Coolidge and his wife, Grace, lit the first national Christmas tree at the White House – an event that continues each year to this day.

Over the next few weeks, billions of people around the world will celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas with prayer, gratitude and goodwill.

Traditions such as this connect us to each other and to our loved ones, wherever they may be.  These moments also encourage a sense of fellowship and community, something Newt and I have been so grateful to experience during our first year in Rome.

So on behalf of the United States Embassy to the Holy See, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

Thank you.