Photos by Scot Facer Proctor
Exterior Photos by Cole Goodwin.
click on photos to enlarge
D.C., they say there are three Christmas events not to miss—the
White House at Christmas, the National Christmas Tree, and the Festival
of Lights at the Washington D.C. Temple and Visitors Center.
D.C. Temple is one of the beautiful and awe-inspiring sights of
the area, unavoidably visible from the beltway. Traffic reporters
gauge their reports each day on conditions by the “Mormon
temple” and travelers see the temple suddenly appear like
a breathtaking surprise as it seems to rise out of nowhere as they
travel west from Maryland toward Virginia.
the 25th season of the Festival of Lights with over 300,000 colorful
lights illuminating the temple grounds and over 80,000 guests expected
to attend. Additional attractions include a live, outdoor nativity
scene from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night, nightly performances of
holiday music from performers representing a variety of churches,
schools and community groups, and a display of nativity scenes crafted
by international artisans. (Watch this week for an upcoming photo
essay in Meridian on these beautiful scenes.) In addition, over
20 Christmas trees, decorated by volunteers from throughout the
region, will be on display.
to illuminate the Christmas lights on the temple grounds has become
a major event each year attended by ambassadors and dignitaries
from countries around the world. It is an opportunity for the Church
to continue to build bridges with its international neighbors. This
year representatives from 49 nations attended the event where they
were greeted by the evening’s hosts—Senator Orrin Hatch
and Elder J. Willard Marriott Jr.
that evening and then flipping the switch on the lights were Elder
Neal A. Maxwell and Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi, deputy chief of mission
of the embassy of Ukraine who represented the ambassador who was
called away at the last minute.
by Yatsenkivskyi demonstrated just how far Ukraine has traveled
since their 1991 independence from the Soviet Union. “Ukraine
has a long history of survival against great odds, but in those
hard times we believe that fortunate are those who remain steadfast
through dark trials. Fortunate are those who keep the faith, who
do not stray.”
the theme of the diplomat’s talk as he lauded that since Ukraine’s
independence the people in his country could worship however and
wherever they want and said they looked forward to the time when
there would be a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints in Kiev.
Meridian on a photo tour of the Washington D.C. Temple grounds and
the evening when the Christmas lights came on.
A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve posed with Deputy Chief
of Mission of the Embassy of Ukraine Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi
and his wife Olga before the festivities began.
guests and diplomats took the opportunity to have photographs
with Elder and Sister Marriott and Elder Maxwell.
Senator Gordon Smith also greeted guests at the Washington
D.C. Temple Visitors Center.
Elder Bill Marriott conducted much of the program
in the Visitors Center Theater and bore powerful testimony
of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
A. Maxwell was the keynote speaker to the guests and visitors
representing at least 49 nations. His talk centered in the
immensity of space and the intimacy of a loving Heavenly Father
who knows us every one.
The Mormon Choir of Washington D.C. was joined
by a children's choir as they sang favorite Christmas carols
the many children who joined the choir from the audience in
singing some of the Christmas carols.
Ann Santini, Director of International Affairs for The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted the evening and
spread her good cheer to all in attendance.
Missionaries of the Washington D.C. North Mission held
electric candles to light the way for guests at the end of
Elder Neal A. Maxwell and Ukrainian Deputy Chief of Mission
Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi ready themselves to turn the swith
illuminate hundreds of thousands of lights around the Temple
and Visitors Center.
the Visitors Center of the Washington D.C. Temple through
the month of December and into the first part of January.
illuminate the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple.
Volunteers from the Washington D.C. Temple district brave
the cold and become live players in this depiction of the
nativity which plays every night from 6:00 - 9:00 PM during
Looking northwest towards the Visitors Center reveals the
star that is over the live nativity. Notice The Christus statue
in the window of the Visitors Center.
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