Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas at LDS Temples

With Christmas approaching, I thought I'd write a little bit about LDS temples that have Christmas displays.  This list is not exhaustive, but should highlight some of the great Christmas displays at Mormon 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 Mormon 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.


Brett said...

The Hamilton New Zealand Temple also has nativities and other Christmas related displays leading up from the road to the Visitors Centre at the foot of the Temple. (Incidentally my dad built the nativity and signs back in the early 80's when he worked at the temple). In addition to this there are combined stake choirs that give concerts leading up to Christmas. The season is launched usually by a VIP such as when the Hon. Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand did in 2001.

The Sydney Australia also has a more humble display of lights and nativity scenes.

Brett said...
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Brett said...

Off topic, the news story for the new Gilbert Arizona Temple indicates that a new floor plan has been developed for it and adapted for the new Payson Utah Temple featuring 3 ordinance rooms. Do you know anymore about this? Will they cluster 3 stand alone rooms around a central celestial room or have they added another room to the current 2 room progression design?

Brett said...

The funniest Church I saw a couple of years ago was not only decorations all over the Church but there was a Santa Claus on the Cross out the front. I laughed for ages after seeing that...priceless.

Scott said...

I'd heard that the church was considering doing 2 'A' rooms feeding into a single 'B' room, which makes sense, because you spend about 1/2 the time in the 'B' room so this saves space.

Brett said...

Aha...two A rooms makes sense. Have you noticed that the two temples utilising the new floor plan are quite large compared to the others now under construction?

Brett said...

BTW...I am off to Hamilton this Sunday to see the Christmas Lights at the Temple so I will take some photos and post a link to them ASAP.

Terri Wagner said...

New to your site but I love the DC temple. Guess we all have that one special one. The festival of lights is breathtaking.

Brett said...

So here are my very bad mobile phone photos from the Hamilton Temple Christmas lights.

The display is much smaller then when I was a child. The elaborate pageants on the the left side hill of the temple are gone, as are the large light designs in the middle of the double stairs leading to the Temple.

There is a small choir that performs nightly, but this pales in comparison to the large multistake choirs that once graced the Temple hill.

Heidi said...

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