WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obamas got into the holiday spirit Sunday evening with a little help from Hugh Jackman, Sheryl Crow and Janelle Monae.
President Barack Obama and his family attended the 32nd annual “Christmas in Washington” concert, a benefit for the Children’s National Health System. After an evening of Christmas carols at the National Building Museum, the president said Americans should remember Jesus Christ’s lessons of charity and compassion.
“Through his example, he taught us that we should love the Lord, love our neighbors, as we love ourselves. It’s a teaching that has endured for generations. And today, it lies at the heart of my faith and that of millions of Americans, and billions around the globe,” Obama said.
“No matter who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it’s a message of hope and devotion that can unite all of us this holiday season,” he added.
Before the concert began, the president, his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, helped collect presents for patients at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, watched from nearby.
The Obamas met five of the hospital’s young patients, who were dressed as elves.
“Hey, you guys, you going to help us?” Mrs. Obama asked.
“Good job, elves,” the president said. “Nice job.”
Jackman, who hosted the concert, also urged the audience to remember those less fortunate.
“It is the season of compassion. Let us not forget those who are down and out, who are suffering and who have little hope: the Washington Redskins fans,” Jackman said. “I can say it, I’m a Giants fan.”
The Redskins lost to the Atlanta Falcons earlier Sunday and fell to 3-11 for the season. The New York Giants also lost, though, getting shut out by the Seattle Seahawks as their record fell to 5-9.
Other performers at the concert included the Backstreet Boys, Anna Kendrick and Pat Monahan, the singer from the band Train. Retired NBA star Charles Barkley also was on hand to talk about programs at Children’s National.
The concert will be broadcast Friday evening on TNT.