Christmas on Temple Square kicks off with concert, virtual tour of the lights

Temple Square’s kickoff Christmas concert “Celebrating the Light of the World” on Tuesday, Dec. 1, concluded with the account of the Savior’s birth in Luke 2 — read by Church leaders in various languages. 

Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles read in Mandarin and Portuguese, respectively, and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé read in French. Young Men General President Steven J. Lund read in Dutch, Elder Michael T. Ringwood of the Seventy in Korean, and Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, in Spanish. Other General Authorities and general officers participated. 

Following verse 20, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The shepherds heard Him as they heard heavenly hosts testifying of Him. As we celebrate that sacred event, we likewise can hear Him. In doing so, we will find peace and joy amid the trials that surround us. 

“Let us show gratitude for the numerous blessings we have been given this Christmas season — greatest among them, our knowledge of the birth of the Son of God. We testify that He is the Light and the Life of the World.” 

Temple Square’s first-ever virtual Christmas concert featured a variety of musical performances and was published in 11 languages. Sister missionaries in the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission hosted the event and provided a tour of Temple Square and the Christmas lights.  

Father-daughter duo Mat and Savanna Shaw opened the concert with “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” followed by renowned pianist Marshall McDonald’s performance of “Good King Wenceslas.”

International performances included Yonita Tuia Tauiliili’s “Silent Night” from Samoa and the Light the World Music Group’s “Joy to the World” from Durban, South Africa. 

Yonita Tuia Tauiliili performs "Silent Night" during the virtual Temple Square concert "Celebrating the Light of the World" on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
Yonita Tuia Tauiliili performs “Silent Night” during the virtual Temple Square concert “Celebrating the Light of the World” on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

While taking viewers on a virtual tour around Temple Square, Sister Short and Sister Tannery highlighted the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Salt Lake Temple, Relief Society Building and Conference Center, as well as the Christmas lights and Nativities representing cultures around the world. 

“Everything on Temple Square points to Jesus Christ,” Sister Short said. 

With the #LightTheWorld initiative officially underway in December, the concert included a quote from President Russell M. Nelson:

“Most of us have experienced disruptions in our personal lives. Earthquakes, fires, floods, plagues, and their aftermaths have disrupted routines and caused shortages of food, staples and savings. …

“The increasing darkness that accompanies tribulation makes the light of Jesus Christ shine ever brighter. Just think of the good each of us can do during this time of global upheaval.”

The Christian Singers Children’s Choir perform "Nativity Song" during the virtual Temple Square concert "Celebrating the Light of the World" on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
The Christian Singers Children’s Choir perform “Nativity Song” during the virtual Temple Square concert “Celebrating the Light of the World” on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

Other musical performances during the virtual concert included “Nativity Song,” by Christian Singers Children’s Choir, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” by the Merchant family, and “The Lord is My Light,” by the Salt Lake Temple Square Missionary Choir. Tierra and Bryson Jones concluded the event with “The First Noel.”

Temple Square Christmas concerts will be streamed nightly at 6 p.m. MST through Dec. 23 on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on Tuesday and Friday evenings on the Temple Square Facebook page. Concerts will include Christmas performances submitted from around the world. Though broadcast in English, they will include songs in other languages as well.