Are Christmas and the 4th of July connected? The 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, thought so.  John Quincy, the son of our second President, John Adams, observed, “[I]n the chain of human events, the birthday of [our] nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior.”

What does Christmas have to do the founding of America? 

Adams answered that question, “[T]he Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact [of America] on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth…” and “laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity[.]”

The first Christmas changed the course of human history forever.   The Son of God left heaven and came to Earth in the form of a human being to save all who would receive him.  His birth (and sacrificial death) proved the immeasurable worth of every person.   As the carol, “O Holy Night” says, “when he appeared, the soul felt it’s worth!”

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence similarly shocked the world with its famous words, “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”  The Declaration announced the intention of our Founders to build a nation on the truth that God has imprinted every person with His likeness, and, therefore, every person has inherent and equal worth. The historical truth of the matter is that the world-changing principles expressed in the Declaration were derived from the world-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.   In fact, every right articulated in the Declaration was first preached in American pulpits during the great revival called The First Great Awakening. [i]

John Quincy Adams’ remarks recognized that America’s government was established on the Word of God.   His comments also recognized the Christian mission of America.   When the first settlers arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, their pastor Robert Hunt knelt on the shore beside a wooden cross and dedicated the colony and all subsequent generations of Americans to the Great Commission:

We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the people within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth.  May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this earth remains, and may this Land along with England be Evangelist to the Word.[ii]

Thirteen Years Later,

The Pilgrims on board The Mayflower at Cape Cod compacted together to form a civil government “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”  These and subsequent generations of colonists pioneered the as-yet-untested vital principles of freedom of religion and speech.  Our Founding Fathers thereby laid the foundation for what would become the most prosperous nation in the history of the world.  More importantly, the Christian mission of this God-birthed nation made it a beacon of freedom and relative virtue to the world for two hundred years – a “shining city on a hill” and a leading source of gospel missionaries.   Thus, John Quincy Adams was right when he said, the birth of America “form[ed] a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation.”

This Christmas, let’s celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and gratefully renew our dedication to the God-given mission of this great nation. 

[i] (quoting David Barton, citing Prof. Alice Baldwin, American Clergy in the American Revolution.”)

[ii] Lucas, Kristen Nicole, America: Given to God, F.A.C.E., Volume XI, No. 3, November 2004, page 2.