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Watch: ‘Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ’ — connecting holiday symbols to the Savior

The new-for-2022 Christmas program features European performers, European carols, narration, animation and video illustrations

“Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ” — a concert featuring 12 popular European musical artists and a set of 10 traditional European Christmas carols — is now available for online viewing through mid-January.

Presented by the Church’s Europe Central and Europe East areas, the program is more than just music, with narration explaining how traditional Christmas symbols — stars, bells, candles, trees and more — are connected to Christ.

Featured clips from the Church’s Bible videos and the 2019 short film “The Christ Child,” provide depictions of the Savior’s birth, teachings and life as accompanying illustrations. Other video segments include 3D animation representing scenes from Charles Dickens’ well-known novel “A Christmas Carol.”

Filmed in English and presented in 31 languages, the concert was released online Sunday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. Central European Time (in the United States — noon Eastern, 11 a.m. Central, 10 a.m. Mountain and 9 a.m. Pacific). It is available on various official Church channels through the middle of next month (see below).

From the Charles Dickens Museum in London, England, Savannah Stevenson provides narration for the 2022 Christmas production “Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ,” produced by the Europe Central and North areas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The British actress portrayed Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the Church’s Bible videos. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sites and performers for 2022 concerts

“Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ” features two taping sites — the Charles Dickens Museum in London, England, and the 2,000-year-old Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The latter is transformed into a Christmas stage for the outdoor musical performances.

From the museum, Savannah Stevenson of the United Kingdom provides narration on the tradition and importance of the Christmas symbols, scenes from “A Christmas Carol” and key connections with the Savior’s birth, ministry and mission.

Featured Latter-day Saint performers include: Ruth Lorenzo (Spain), Louis and Per Herreys (Sweden), Salome Moana (Switzerland), Nuara (Spain), Igor & Vesna Gruppman (Ukraine and Serbia), Alex Sharpe (Ireland), Jack and Marta Tyndale-Biscoe (United Kingdom and Spain) and Wolfgang and Constance Gebauer (Germany and Austria.

Also, the two area presidents — Elder Massimo De Feo of the Europe Central Area and Elder Hans T. Boom of the Europe North Area — provided messages as part of the program.

A pair of renown Latter-day Saint musicians from the United States aided the production, with violinist Jenny Oaks Baker serving as musical director in helping recruit the European performers and keyboardist/composer Kurt Bestor providing arrangements for the beloved European carols performed.

Featured performers and the orchestral ensemble pause after performing “O Holy Night,” the finale of the 2022 Christmas production “Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ,” from the Europe Central and North areas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

‘Symbols of Christ’ setlist

The concert features the following numbers, performers and the related Christmas symbols:

  • Overture, performed by the orchestra
  • “Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle” an Italian carol, by Naura, featuring stars.
  • “Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus,” a Swedish song, by the Herreys, featuring candles and light.
  • “O Tannenbaum,” a German carol, by the Gebauers, featuring trees.
  • Holly & Ivy,” a British carol, by Moana, featuring wreaths.
  • “O Come All Ye Faithful,” a carol original written in Latin, by the Tyndale-Biscoes, featuring candy canes.
  • “Carol of the Bells,” a carol based on a Ukrainian folk chant, by the Gruppmans, featuring bells.
  • “Joy to the World,” an English carol, by Lorenzo, featuring stockings.
  • “In the Bleak Midwinter,” an English poem often performed as a carol, by Sharpe, featuring gifts.
  • Finale: “O Holy Night” a carol based on a French poem, performed by all artists, featuring nativity scenes.

Songs are performed in different languages and different styles, from jazz-pop to opera. A couple of numbers even have verses in different languages.

Elder Boom contributes a message based on lessons from “A Christmas Carol” of repentance and redemption as well as service and giving, and Elder De Feo speaks of the history and traditional importance of nativity scenes.

Constanze and Wolfgang Gebauer, Naura, Ruth Lorenzo, Alex Sharpe, and Salome Moana perform “O Holy Night,” the finale of the 2022 “Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ” program from the Church’s Europe Central and Europe North areas. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

How to watch — and other activities

The concert is available until mid-January 2023 on the following official Church channels:

In conjunction with the program, activities for children and families can be found at ChurchofJesusChrist.org/comeuntochrist/uk/lighttheworld, as well as Christmas service calendar, posters, pass-along cards and promotional videos.

Vesna and Igor Gruppman, from Serbia and Ukraine, perform “Carol of the Bells” in the 2022 “Witnesses of Christmas: Symbols of Christ” program from the Church’s Europe Central and Europe North areas. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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