WASHINGTON, DC – The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree was lit this evening during a ceremony on the building’s West Front.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivered the following remarks prior to the lighting of the tree, an 88-foot tall Engelmann spruce from Colville National Forest in Colville, WA:

“You look up at this awe-inspiring Dome and you look up at the night sky, you get overwhelmed.  Perhaps just as those humble shepherds were when the angel appeared before them.

“Out in the middle of nowhere, they must have wondered what on Earth was going on.  ‘Fear not,’ the angel said, ‘For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy… For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’

“Off the shepherds went, finding the manger and kneeling before the embodiment of God’s light and love for each of us.

“This may be an old story, but still a mighty one to grasp.  It takes great faith.  And it takes true patience, much like the search for the perfect present itself. 

“Slowly, we come to recognize it’s not so much about the telling of the story as it is the serving of the story.   And what emerges is a spirit of giving and a message of hope for all seasons: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’

“‘That,’ in the words of a great philosopher, ‘is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.’” 

NOTE: Assisting Speaker Boehner in the lighting of the tree was Colville’s own Giovanni Gaynor, a first-grader who wants to be a police officer when he grows up.  With that in mind, at tonight’s ceremony, Speaker Boehner and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine named Giovanni a junior Capitol Police Officer for a day.