Temple Square aglow for Christmas

Before throwing the switch for the lights that turned Temple Square in Salt Lake City into a shining symbol of the Christmas season, Bishop Richard C. Edgley admonished followers of Christ to let their light shine before men.

At the lighting ceremony in the Tabernacle on Nov. 25, Bishop Edgley, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, recited John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." Then he added, "And so on that holy night that caused a new star to arise, an angel to appear, and the heavenly hosts to praise God, saying `Glory to God in the highest,' God, the Father of us all, gave the greatest gift - the greatest of all gifts - a gift of love, a gift of peace, a gift of hope."He reminded faithful followers of Christ of the charge the Savior gave them: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 5:14-16.)

Then he told the capacity crowd in the Tabernacle and the host gathered on the grounds: "To the faithful followers of Christ, those who have lit their candles and now show them before the world, the gift is sweet. Peace is theirs and they `sing the song of redeeming love' (Alma 5:26.) They have received the gift and rejoice in that which was given unto them and rejoice in Him who is the giver of the gift."

Music for the service was provided by the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony. Under the direction of Robert C. Bowden, the chorus and symphony performed "Candlelight Carol," "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "Hallelujah Chorus." The symphony played "We Three Kings" and the male section of the Youth Chorus and the symphony combined for "Beautiful Savior." Sister Diana Peterson from Salem, Ore., a missionary on Temple Square, gave the invocation.

At the end of Bishop Edgley's address, the doors of the Tabernacle were opened so those inside could see the 300,000 lights on the grounds flash on and there was an audible expression of awe from inside and outside the building. A huge crowd took advantage of a relatively warm evening to see the Christmas lights and life-size Nativity scene.

Bishop Edgley said it is sad that some have not understood or received the gift of the Savior's birth. "Many of us have acknowledged the event but have not received the gift and are no more the richer," he noted. "The Lord has said: `For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.' (D&C 88:33.)

The Savior brought a unique message, Bishop Edgley pointed out, that expressed that power comes through love, kindness and sharing, that people should love their enemies, turn the other cheek when smitten, go the extra mile and forgive.

"His was a doctrine for all people and all times: a doctrine that could bring peace, tranquility, and happiness throughout a troubled world," Bishop Edgley continued. "Yet His doctrine has been too much ignored or rejected, and the world remains troubled and strife abounds. And thus, `

they rejoiceT not in that which is given unto

themT, neither

rejoiceT in him who is the giver of the gift.' (See D&C 88:33.)"

Bishop Edgley said there are more than 1.8 billion professed Christians in the world. "Almost 2 billion candles, some already lit, held before the world on a candlestick; some covered by a bushel; some yet to be lit; and many to be re-lit. . . . Can we even begin to imagine the world we would be living in if all 1,833,000,000 professed Christians were indeed true followers of Christ - receiving His image in their countenances, lighting their candles before the world - forgiving, loving, serving."

Concluding, Bishop Edgley said: "Tonight we illuminate Temple Square with hundreds of thousands of lights. Thousands of lights, each individually inserted in a socket and strung throughout the square. Together they blend into a symphony of color and beauty which will draw tens of thousands of people to Temple Square. The lights will usher in the beginning of the Christmas season, a celebration of the birth of Christ, a remembrance of that holy night. But perhaps there is a far more appropriate and meaningful light that can shine to evidence our acceptance of the Christ child's birth. In our simple way, perhaps we can create a symphony of beauty by lighting our own candles and `letting our light so shine before men that they might see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.' "

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed