President Barack Obama in his weekly address to the nation on Saturday urged Americans to give thanks for the service of U.S. troops, saying a “spirit of service” connects all Americans during Christmas and the holiday season.

The President was joined in the address by First Lady Michelle Obama who said the “wonderful time of year” is “a time to honor the story of love and redemption that began 2,000 years ago … a time to see the world’s through a child’s eyes and rediscover the magic all around us .. and a time to give thanks for the gifts that bless us every single day.”

President Obama noted many U.S. troops are returning to be with their families after the end of the Iraq war.

“So let’s take a moment to give thanks for their service; for their families’ service; for our veterans’ service. And let’s say a prayer for all our troops standing post all over the world, especially our brave men and women in Afghanistan who are serving, even as we speak, in harm’s way to protect the freedoms and security we hold dear.”

Obama also spoke about service as a value shared by Americans.

“Giving of ourselves; service to others – that’s what this season is all about. For my family and millions of Americans, that’s what Christmas is all about. It reminds us that part of what it means to love God is to love one another, to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper,” he said. “But that belief is not just at the center of our Christian faith, it’s shared by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds.”

He noted many Americans volunteer to help people in hunger and who are homeless.

“So whatever you believe, wherever you’re from, let’s remember the spirit of service that connects us all this season – as Americans. Each of us can do our part to serve our communities and our country, not just today, but every day.”