With a countdown from 10 and an invitation of “Let’s light the world” from Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, president of the Philippines Area, the Christmas lights on the grounds of the Manila Philippines Temple were illuminated.
The lighting ceremony on Nov. 27 was virtual for the second year in a row due to precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which also included prerecorded messages and musical numbers, was streamed on Facebook and YouTube and also helped kick off the Light the World initiative in the country.
“Every year thousands of lights, as well as hundreds of smiles, illuminate the Manila Philippines Temple grounds … to usher in the Christmas season,” said Elder Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy.
The lighting ceremony included messages from Church leaders, interfaith representatives and government officials.
On behalf of Cardinal Jose Advincula, archbishop of the Manila Archdiocese, the Rev. Father Carlos Reyes delivered Cardinal Advincula’s message.
“We truly need to light the world with love during this time of the pandemic. In the northern hemisphere, we celebrate Christmas during the winter solstice when the night is longest,” the Rev. Reyes said. “Perhaps it is provident that we celebrate the first coming of the Savior during the longest and darkest night of the year. It sends a message that Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, comes into the darkest of our long night to be our comfort and our light.”
Philippines Senator Grace Poe and her daughters also participated in the lighting ceremony.
“Whenever we see the lit landscape of this temple, it signals to us one of the best reminders that we are approaching Christmas,” she said. “Tonight, even though there is darkness and hopelessness, these can be dispelled by the true light and love which emanate from our Savior Jesus Christ.”
The lights are on daily from dusk to 10 p.m. until the end of December.
The Light the World initiative has two calendars with service prompts that started with Giving Tuesday on Nov. 30. This year’s theme is “Light the World With Love.” Find the calendar in English and Tagalog.
Starting on Dec. 1, a bus, jeepneys and electronic jeepneys, or eJeeps, wrapped with the “Light the World with Love” red and white logo were on the streets in the Metro Manila area. See information on the Church’s Philippines Newsroom about the route for free rides on the wrapped bus and free rides on the regular jeepneys.