The PJ Tatler

Obama: Love Thy Neighbor 'Lies at the Heart of My Faith'

The first family joined celebrities at the National Building Museum last night for a Christmas gala taped to air on TNT this Friday.

Actor Hugh Jackman was the master of ceremonies for the annual concert benefiting the Children’s National Medical Center, and President Obama thanked him for “keeping our safety in mind and leaving Wolverine’s claws at home.”

“It can’t be easy to wrap presents with those things,” Obama said. “Good for carving the ‘roast beast,’ though.”

The White House pool report called the evening’s lineup “a 1990s nostalgia jackpot, including performances by the Backstreet Boys and Sheryl Crow along with a special guest appearance by retired NBA star and sports commentator Charles Barkley.”

“At this time of year, we’re grateful for the rebounding economy,” Barkley said.

“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. But this is also a time to remember the story of a child born to two faithful travelers on a holy night, long ago,” Obama said in his remarks.

“The sacred birth of Jesus Christ was God’s gift to man on Earth. And 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,” he 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. It compels all of us to reach out and help our less fortunate citizens — our poor, our sick, our neighbors in need — and to serve those who sacrifice so much on our behalf.”

Obama also gave a nod to “our men and women in uniform serving far from home, in harm’s way, we thank them as well and their families, and we wish — this holiday season and all seasons — for peace on Earth.”

The Obamas leave Friday for a 17-day vacation in Hawaii.