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Festival of lights

Diplomats participate in heralding the season

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ambassadors and diplomats representing more than 30 countries celebrated the Christmas season at the lighting ceremony for the Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

Thousands of Christmas lights frame the Washington D.C. Temple.
Thousands of Christmas lights frame the Washington D.C. Temple.

Elder J.W. Marriott Jr. of the Seventy, and Jean-David Levitte, France's ambassador to the U.S., flipped the switch to ignite over 400,000 Christmas lights and launch the month-long event that has become a celebrated tradition in Washington, D.C.

"Love is synonymous with light, and love is the power that drives away darkness," Elder Marriott remarked to an audience of approximately 500. "(Jesus') light and love are the great hope for peace in the world today."

Elder Marriott continued, "He was the loving Shepherd who consistently sought after the stray sheep and brought them back to the fold. He taught us to reach out to those less fortunate. And today, Jesus continues to invite us to give of ourselves."

More than 200,000 guests are expected to visit the temple grounds during December to enjoy the wonderland of lights, nightly musical performances by local community groups, and 70 international Nativity scenes that depict the birth of the Savior and reflect the cultural heritage of more than 25 countries.

"It is my humble conviction that the light of hope and freedom will progressively shine throughout the world simply because it shines in the heart of every human being," Ambassador Levitte remarked. "May the 400,000 lights that we are about to kindle bring the world our message of goodwill, peace and hope."

French Ambassador to the U.S. Jean-David Levitte, center, meets with Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, left, and Elder J.W. Marriott Jr. of the Seventy after lighting ceremony.
French Ambassador to the U.S. Jean-David Levitte, center, meets with Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, left, and Elder J.W. Marriott Jr. of the Seventy after lighting ceremony.

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