During his brief remarks, Obama said his trip brought scripture to life and brought him personally "closer to Christ."

"For Christians to walk where he walked and see what he saw are blessed moments," Obama said. "And while I had been to Jerusalem before, where Jesus healed the sick, and cured the blind, and embraced the least of these, I also had a chance to go to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem."

Obama also made a sly reference to battles in Congress, joking that his visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem — which is co-managed by different faiths, sometimes resulting in dramatic conflict — struck a familiar chord.

"Entering the church is a remarkable experience, although it is a useful instruction to see how managing different sections of the church and different clergy — it feels familiar," Obama said. "Let’s just put it that way."