Christmas is a federal holiday. President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the bill making Christmas Day an officially recognized holiday on June 28, 1870.

Since that time, our nation’s history is full of examples of its public recognition.

President Ronald Reagan, in his 1981 Christmas Message, stated, “The Nativity story of nearly 20 centuries ago is known by all faiths as a hymn to the brotherhood of man.

For Christians, it is the fulfillment of age-old prophecies and the reaffirmation of God’s great love for all of us. Through a generous Heavenly Father’s gift of His son, hope and compassion entered a world weary with fear and despair and changed it for all time.”

President George W. Bush’s 2008 Christmas message included these thoughts, “Each year, Christmas brings together families, friends, and communities to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ and celebrate the wonderful gifts God has bestowed upon us. During this season, we remember Jesus' birth from the Virgin Mary, His justice and mercy that changed the world, and His ultimate sacrifice for all people. Though Jesus was born humbly in a manger, He was destined to be the Savior of the world. The light He brought into the world continues to break through darkness and change people's lives two thousand years later.”

Yes, Christmas is a federal holiday, it is publicly recognized by our Presidents, and now in Texas Public Schools there is a law that grants staff and students the right to greet one another with “Merry Christmas.”

The law is House Bill 308 (HB 308) or, as it is sometimes called, the “Merry Christmas” bill.

HB 308 states, in part, “A school district may educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including: “Merry Christmas, “Happy Hanukkah, and “happy holidays.’”

President Reagan ended his 1981 Christmas message with, “Nancy and I ask you to join us in a prayer that prudence, wisdom, and understanding might descend on the people of all nations so that during the year ahead we may realize an ancient and wondrous dream: ‘peace on earth and goodwill toward men.’”

And from me to you, “Merry Christmas.”

Dr. Jerome Stewart serves as the superintendent of schools for the Midlothian Independent School District.