As part of the Europe Area’s recent “Witnesses of Christmas” concert broadcast, President Dallin H. Oaks gave a concluding message repeatedly testifying of the living Lord and the birth, Resurrection and Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.
In the Dec. 19 online broadcast, the first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, noted the commemoration of “the birth of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father,” and added that in the midst of memories of tragic wars and painful current turmoil, “we long for the fulfillment of the angel’s declaration of ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward man’ (Luke 2:14).
“As an Apostle of Jesus Christ,” President Oaks continued, “I am a present witness of this living Lord. I testify that Jesus Christ is the source of our joy, and the only Being who can bring peace to the troubled world. As the angels proclaimed at His birth, He was born for us ‘a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11).
“I testify of the literal Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of the truth of His promise that His Resurrection assures the literal resurrection and immortality of all who have ever lived.
“I testify that as Isaiah prophesied, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and with His stripes we are healed.
“Therefore, as an Apostle, I testify that our Savior offers His merciful forgiveness for all sins of which we repent.
“Finally, I testify that our Savior Jesus Christ is there for each of us to give us the strength to bear the burdens of mortality. During His mortal ministry, He taught that He came to save that which was lost. He declared through the prophet Isaiah, ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands’ (Isaiah 49:16).”
The interfaith celebration featured familiar Christmas carols like “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel” and “Away in a Manger” performed by acclaimed violinist Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four and Irish soprano vocalist Alexandra Sharpe. Danish actor Tomas Ambt Kofod narrated the program.
Taped during a recent visit to Rome, Italy, and Paris, France, President Oaks’ message was accompanied by video clips of him and his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks, pausing at a Nativity scene at the Christus statue on the grounds of the Paris France Temple and at the Christus and statues of the ancient apostles in the rotunda of the Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center. Also included were clips depicting the life of Christ from the Church’s New Testament Bible videos.
“Through modern prophets,” said President Oaks of the Savior, “He has taught that in His Atonement, He descended below them all, that He may know according to the flesh, how to succor His people, according to their infirmities. All we must do is to ask for His help.”
Much of the world’s greatest art — so much of it originating from Europe — has depicted and celebrated the life of Jesus Christ, President Oaks said. “We see His influence in all the beauty around us. His invitation, ‘Follow me,’ invites us to follow Him in service to our fellow man. He represents and makes possible our greatest desire and hope to follow this life by entering into the kingdom of God.
“The angels heard on high where the first witnesses; the shepherds in the field by Bethlehem represent all of us when they said one to another, ‘Let us now go … and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us’ (Luke 2:15).”
President Oaks concluded: “We too can see this thing and we too can witness what the Lord has made known to us, when we keep His commandments and follow Him by serving our fellow man. I testify that all of this is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
The hourlong concert featured musical performances blended with a biblical account of the Savior Jesus Christ’s humble birth in Bethlehem. The program also included video excerpts from holiday celebrations in Germany, Austria, France and Spain, reflecting some of Europe’s diverse Christmas traditions.
Jenny Oaks Baker is a daughter of President Oaks, and her four children who comprise Family Four are his grandchildren.