Temple Christmas lighting attendees invited to ‘light the world’ through service for the holidays

At the annual Christmas lighting ceremony at the St. George Temple, St. George, Utah, Nov. 24, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Hundreds of people packed the grounds on the east side of the St. George Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Friday evening for the annual Christmas lighting ceremony.

Zachary Smith, president of the LDS church’s Utah St. George Mission, talks about the meaning of Christmas with one of his grandchildren during the lighting ceremony at the St. George Temple, St. George, Utah, Nov. 24, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

A youth choir sang Christmas-centered hymns during a short religious ceremony featuring Zachary Smith, the president of the LDS church’s Utah St. George Mission. He referred to the theme of the evening as “Light the World.”

“The hope of the church is to light the world,” Smith said, adding that it is also the name of a campaign the church launched three years ago that centers on Christ and “lighting the world” through service to others.

This year the campaign’s theme is “Give as he gave,” referring to Christ, Smith said.

“We’re each encouraged to light the world at Christmas time,” he said, and pointed the audience to the church’s website where they would learn more about the Light the World service campaign for more details.

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“I think that’s what lighting the worlds is all about; it’s about encouraging us to bask in the spirit of Christ and to give as he gave.”

Following Smith’s comments and a rendition of “Silent Night” sung by the choir and audience, the lights lit up much of the temple grounds, and Christmas music began to play in the background.

At the annual Christmas lighting ceremony at the St. George Temple, St. George, Utah, Nov. 24, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We just wanted to see the beautiful lights and share it with my kids,” St. George resident Kayla Boyer said. While holding one child, Boyer said it was her children’s first time seeing the lighting ceremony.

“It was wonderful and so special,” she said.

Jennifer McCash, visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico, also enjoyed the event as it provided an opportunity to spend time with family.

“We came here to have some family time,” she said. “I’m really happy to be here with a lot of people and spending time with family.”

Salt Lake City resident Brian Powell said St. George didn’t quite compare to the Christmas lighting at Temple Square back home, but he’s happy to see St. George do something similar.

“It’s a nice thing to come to,” he said. “Just to be able to be here for the season is a nice reminder of Christmas time and what it represents.”

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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