Yule lights appeal to people of all cultures

A multi-cultural, multi-religious event would have been a good way to describe the lighting ceremony at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center.

Included in the more than 3,000 people attending the Nov. 27 ceremony were 17 Ethopians representing the Ethopian Community Center of Los Angeles, Munir Shaikh and Fawad Yacoob of the Islamic Education Council, Senior Pastor Orsey Malone of the African American Community Neighbor Church, and David Stump and Swami Sarvadevananda of the Vedanta Society of Los Angeles, a Hindu religious society.Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., was the keynote speaker at the lighting ceremony, during which the switch was flipped to turn on 150,000 Christmas lights on palm trees, evergreen shrubs and other trees.

In his address, Rep. McKeon retold the fictional story of Artaban, the other Wise Man: "Just as the fourth Wise Man was not there for the Savior's birth, but experienced the spirit of Christmas through his giving to his fellow man, so can we experience the Christmas spirit by giving to our fellow man throughout the Christmas season."

The lighting ceremony, conducted by Elder Douglas Callister, a regional representative, also featured the Southern California Mormon Choir, directed by Douglas Custance and accompanied by an 11-piece orchestra.

The choir sang a program of Christmas music ending with the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah."

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