- (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)
President Barack Obama and the first family have, in years past, attended church services as a part of their Christmas celebration in Hawaii, but a brief description of the President's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day activities doesn't mention churchgoing at all.
The commander-in-chief took time before dinner on Christmas Eve to make "holiday telephone calls" to members of the U.S. military during his vacation in Kailua, Hawaii, a White House press pool report states. On Christmas morning he and his family opened gifts, ate breakfast and sang carols together.
In the afternoon, the president and first lady visited service members and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii before enjoying a dinner with family and friends. The president is scheduled to leave Hawaii for Washington, D.C., on Wednesday evening in order to continue working on the nation's fiscal crisis, though the rest of the family will stay behind.
In 2009, some people criticized the president, a professing Christian, for not attending any church services during his 11-day vacation over the Christmas holiday. The first family would go on to attend Christmas services alongside military families at the Hawaii Marine Corps base in both 2010 and 2011.
"For my family and millions of Americans, it's a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, to reflect on His life and learn from His example," the president said in his weekly address on Saturday.
"Every year, we commit to love one another. To give of ourselves. To be our brother's keeper. To be our sister's keeper. But those ideas are not just part of our faith. They're part of all faiths. And they unite us as Americans."
In the address, he encouraged Americans to give thanks for those veterans who have returned home from war, and to pray for those who are still overseas. He also discussed the compassion of individuals nationwide who have helped those affected by Hurricane Sandy and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
Other pool reports from Sunday, which were posted to the blog of Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren, indicate that the president spent part of Sunday morning at a memorial service for recently deceased Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and in the afternoon he went on a hike with his family.
In an email to The Christian Post, a White House media affairs representative did not indicate whether or not the Obamas had attended any Christmas church services recently, and said the information in the pool report was the only information available on the topic.