President Barack Obama and his family failed to do one thing on Christmas that many might view as integral to the Christian holiday — they didn't go to church.
According to the New York Times, the president and family "celebrated a low-key Christmas in Hawaii this year," but did not attend church services.
"Historically, watching the nation’s first family head to church dressed in their Sunday best, especially around the holiday season, was something of a ritual," the Times noted. "Yet Mr. Obama’s faith is a more complicated, more private, and perhaps — religious and presidential historians say — a more inclusive affair."
US President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama wave as they arrive to talk to members of the military and their families during a Christmas dinner in Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on December 25, 2013. The first family is in Hawaii for their annual holiday vacation. (AFP/Jewel Samad)
Gary Scott, author of "Faith and the Presidency," added to the paper of record that Obama "has not gone to church hardly at all, as president" and that it is "very unusual for a president not to attend" Christmas services.
Mail Online noted that the news comes on the heels of Obama urging Americans to remember the religious meaning behind Christmas.
"Every year, we mark the holiday season with celebrations and good cheer. And I should remind my girls that I like getting Christmas presents as much as anybody," Obama said, according to Mail Online. "But this is also a time to remember the story of a child born to two faithful travelers on a holy night, long ago."
According to Mark Knoller of CBS News, Obama has gone to church 18 times during his time at the White House, the Times reported.
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