Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Temples

With Christmas approaching, I thought I'd write a little bit about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' temples that have Christmas displays.  This list is not exhaustive, but should highlight some of the great Christmas displays at Latter-day Saint temples.

The Salt Lake Temple has the most prominent Christmas displays.  Massive amounts of intricately placed tasteful Christmas lights fill Temple Square, the Conference Center Plaza, Main Street Plaza, and the block east of the temple.  Dozens of large nativity sets are placed on the block east of the temple.  A prominent nativity scene, complete with audio narration, is done on the grass between the Tabernacle and the North Visitors Center.
Christmas Lights at Temple Square

The buildings on Temple Square also receive decoration with wreaths and Christmas trees being placed in the Conference Center, Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, Visitors Centers, and Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  Christmas events also take place such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, Christmas themed films in the visitors centers, and numerous other Christmas concerts and events.  You can see some photos and read a great article on how Christmas lights started at Temple square here.

Christmas Lights around the Assembly Hall on Temple Square

The St. George Temple also has Christmas lights.  There is a formal lighting ceremony each year, usually on the day after Thanksgiving.  A photo can be seen here.

The Washington D.C. Temple features its Festival of Lights each Christmas season.  The festival includes international nativity scenes and Christmas trees, nightly concerts, and a vast number of Christmas lights.
Washington D.C. Temple Festival of Lights

The Mesa Arizona Temple also has a Christmas light display and nativity scenes.  Some photos can be seen here.  International nativity scenes are on display.
Mesa Arizona Temple Christmas Lights
Mesa Arizona Temple Christmas Lights

The Oakland California Temple has a Christmas lights display.
Oakland California Temple Christmas Lights

The San Diego California Temple has some Christmas lights and a nativity scene that can be seen here.  In fact, many temples have a small nativity scene even though most temples don't have Christmas lights or other events that would attract non temple patrons during the holidays.

The Los Angeles California Temple has a Christmas lights display that can be seen here.

The Hamilton New Zealand Temple also features a Christmas lights display that can be seen here.

One of the nice things about Christmas lights at temples is how tastefully they are done.  The lights are very neatly arranged.  Great care is taken so that the lights don't take away from the temple.  Nativity sets are a common feature so that these Christmas displays can remain religious and focused on Jesus Christ who is the reason for Christmas and central to our temples.  I've seen Christmas light displays at other churches with varying degrees of success .  Some are tasteful, but unfortunately some are commercial, lack the religious elements, or are focused on Santa instead of The LORD Jesus Christ.  I'm glad that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints keeps the proper focus on Jesus Christ.

There are probably a few more temples with Christmas lights and other Christmas decorations.  Please comment and tell us about them, or more about some of the ones that I mentioned but know little about.