‘His light has the power to change the world,’ Elder Montoya says as Christmas lights turned on at Mexico City temple

More than 100,000 participate in country-wide event marking the beginning of the Christmas season in Mexico 

With just less than one month until Christmas Day, the Church’s Mexico Area leaders invited members of the community to join in the celebratory lighting of the grounds around the Mexico City Mexico Temple in Mexico City. 

Elder Hugo Montoya, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Mexico Area, presided over the meeting and shared a message of the hope and love that come from Jesus Christ. 

“The symbolism of Christmas lights is related to the birth of Jesus because His birth symbolized the coming of the ‘light of the world’ (John 8:12). … 

“His light has the power to change the world.”

Nearly 700 individuals attended the event on Sunday, Nov. 27. Almost 500 of those were specially invited guests, government officials, religious leaders, non-government organization representatives and members of the media. Among the government leaders in attendance was Ariadna Montiel Reyes, head of the Welfare Department for the Mexican federal government.

Various community and religious leaders from the Mexico City area attended the Christmas lighting ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

More than 100,000 watched the event’s broadcast, which was streamed live on YouTube and Facebook and can still be watched on both platforms. The event was shared, liked and commented on thousands of times across various social media platforms. 

During his message, Elder Montoya also talked about the two #LightTheWorld Giving Machines that have opened in Mexico City as a way to share the light of Christ with those in need during the Christmas season. 

“This is a new and novel way to share with those who are less fortunate and make the Christmas season more meaningful together with friends and family.” 

Elder Montoya mentioned the Church contributed earlier this year to Mexico’s Association for People with Cerebral Palsy to help with the purchase of an exoskeleton that provides support to children as they learn to walk.

“We consider caring for those in need as a duty and a great privilege as followers of Jesus Christ,” he said. 

After an audience-led countdown, one of the children who has used the new exoskeleton pushed the button to turn on the Christmas lights around the Mexico City temple. Ximena Barnard smiled bigger and bigger with each number in the countdown leading to her pushing the button that lit up Mexico City’s version of Temple Square.

Ximena Barnard smiles as she prepares to hit the button that will turn on the Christmas lights around the Mexico City Mexico Temple grounds. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Montoya also encouraged participation in Saturday’s National Day of Service in Mexico. He said opportunities to serve can be found at (the Spanish version of 

In 2021, more than 25,000 individuals served in more than 150 projects around the country on this day of service. 

“We invite all to illuminate Mexico through their service.” 

A poster promotes Mexico’s National Day of Service on Dec. 3, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Montoya said “the world is nurtured by light. The majority of living things develop better when the sun shines.”

In addition to helping living things grow, light can also help provide clearer vision, he said. 

“Light allows us to see life with improved clarity. In the light, we can distinguish truth from error. We can make better choices. And we can plan our lives with higher purpose.”

Christmas hymns and villancicos

Songs about Christmas played a big role in the event with an orchestra, mariachi band and various individuals singing different songs throughout the program. 

The night started with a medley of “Joy to the World” and “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” played by the orchestra. 

Immediately before Elder Montoya spoke, a female trio sang the Christmas hymn “O Holy Night.” 

Following Elder Montoya’s message, different groups made up of members of the Church performed five songs with a mariachi band’s accompaniment. These included both hymns and villancicos — traditional Christmas carols in Spanish — like “White Christmas,” “Los Peces en El Río,” “Campana sobre Campana,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Joy to the World.”

After that series of songs, the audience and guest artists joined with the orchestra in performing “Silent Night” together. 

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