Michelle and I wish a blessed Christmas to Orthodox Christians in the United States and around the world. During this holy season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and pray for peace on Earth. This day gives us a special opportunity to commemorate the contributions of American Orthodox leaders to our progress. It also gives us a chance to reaffirm our commitment to protect religious minorities, including Christian minorities, who too often face violence and persecution throughout the world. Today and every day, we stand with all those who suffer attacks and discrimination – because we believe that the freedom to practice your religion as you choose is a birthright of every person and part of the bedrock of a just society. So we join with our Orthodox brothers and sisters in celebration, and in hopeful prayer for peace and justice the world over.