Mormon Temple Lights Display Promotes the True Meaning of Christmas

Krysyan Edler, VHS Writer

The Temple’s Free and Annual Christmas Lights is Now Open

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Temple in Mesa, Arizona located at 525 East Main Street Mesa, AZ. December 6, 2016- Visitors of the Mesa Temple Lights gather around the reflecting pool in front of the Temple, surrounded by Christmas lights. “I go because I love being able to see the lights in the reflection pool with the temple in the background,” said Rachel Angle. Photo Credit to Krysyan Edler.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Temple in Mesa, commonly nicknamed the Mormon Church, has opened their 37th annual Christmas Lights on the Mesa Arizona Temple Grounds featuring hundreds of thousands of lights. This year they expect between 1.2 and 1.4 million visitors.

The display is open from 5 to 10 PM nightly from November 25 to December 31 and is the perfect way to spend your approaching winter break. The Temple was recently voted as one of the best holiday light displays in Phoenix.

“It’s a Christmas gift to the community. We want them [visitors] to have a beautiful Christmas,” said Sister Andreasen, a service missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints with her husband, Elder Andreasen, that volunteers her time to help at the Temple’s visitor center.

“We want visitors to feel the love of the Savior Jesus Christ. [We want the display] to bring the joy of Christmas to everyone,” added Elder Andreasen.

The event is open to public for people of faiths. It is a way to come together as a community.

“Having people, no matter their religion, come together to admire something we all see as beautiful,” said Rachel Angle, a junior at Verrado and a regular visitor of the Temple Lights, via email.

The Mesa Temple Lights is completely unique compared to other displays in the state. The display is meant to remind visitors of the true meaning of Christmas.

“[We focus on Christ] because He is the Savior of the world and as others have said:  He is the reason for the Season.  We love Him and honor Him with our efforts to bring visitors back to the real purpose of Christmas and it’s celebration,” said Steve Harms, the display’s public affairs representatives, via email.

“It [the display] is solely focused on Jesus Christ and the peace He brings to the world.  There is a special spirit in the gardens and its beauty,” added Harms.

Music can be heard as visitors wander the gardens surrounding the Temple and visitor center. Each night leading up to Christmas, musical groups and choirs from the Valley perform Christmas songs at 7 PM.

“We try to have a wide variety of groups, inter-faith choirs and school groups and we require that they sing only selections that are spiritual in nature,” said Harms.

The visitors love the performances, as the music adds to the peaceful atmosphere of the Temple.

“I have listened to them and I think it’s amazing! This year they sang a song in Latin and it was beautiful!” said MHS sophomore student Jessica Funk, via email.

The outdoor display features scenes with recorded audio of the prophet Isaiah foretelling Christ’s birth, a nativity scene, illuminated palm trees and flower gardens.

“I like temple lights because they are so bright and beautiful. They have lights everywhere, in the bushes, trees, mini flower plants on the ground, benches everywhere!” said Funk.

Visitors can warm up in the visitor’s center and view the display of 103 nativities from all around the world and watch videos about the true meaning of Christmas and the Church’s Light the World campaign, a way to serve others this Christmas and focus on the life of Jesus Christ. There are also interactive displays inside and outside the visitors center.

“I love to see the nativities inside! They come from all around the world and are so beautiful! The temple is truly an amazing place to be!” said Funk.

The Temple Lights draw visitors back each year. The peaceful atmosphere acts as a refuge from the busy holiday season where visitors can focus on what matters most.

“People come back year after year. There is a feeling of peace and serenity that is tangible to the soul,” concluded Harms.