Christmas on Temple Square to be celebrated virtually this year

A view of the Salt Lake Temple surrounded by Christmas lights. Photo Courtesy: Intellectual Reserve

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 12, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Christmas on Temple Square will be celebrated virtually this year, according to a news release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Thursday.

“The seasonal lights are ready and musical performances are being recorded for the 2020 Christmas season on Temple Square in Salt Lake City,” the news release said. “The virtual celebration of the Savior’s birth will be different than what visitors to Temple Square have experienced in the past, but organizers say it will once again be a beautiful and inspirational experience.”

Public access to church buildings and to Temple Square has been limited since last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple continues.

“The seasonal lights on Temple Square and at the temples in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles will be turned on in the evenings after Thanksgiving,” the news release said. “The lights on Temple Square will only be viewable from surrounding roads and exterior city sidewalks as the plaza will be fenced off and the gates will be closed, with no public access to Temple Square. Those walking by are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“No public parking will be available in the Conference Center or Joseph Smith Memorial Building parking lots. In Washington and Los Angeles, the lights will be viewable only to those driving by in cars.”

Christmas on Temple Square traditionally includes a kickoff performance in the Tabernacle when the lights are turned on. This year, people from around the world can enjoy a special Temple Square event and its messages from the comfort of their own homes, the news release said. Sister missionaries serving on Temple Square will host a virtual event and guide viewers on a virtual tour of Temple Square and the Christmas lights. View this broadcast live on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on the Temple Square Facebook page. The event will be published in 11 languages and will also be available for viewing on demand after the live broadcast.

Concert series

Christmas performances submitted from around the world will be broadcast nearly every night originating from Temple Square. Concerts will be broadcast in English but will include songs in other languages as well. Concerts will run from Dec. 2–23. Broadcasts will take place at 6 p.m. on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on Tuesday and Friday evenings on the Temple Square Facebook page.

Devotional

The First Presidency Christmas Devotional will be broadcast from Temple Square on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. The program will include Christmas messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church. Music will be from previous Christmas devotionals by The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. View a livestream at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir holiday specials will feature Tony Award-winning star Kelli O’Hara and actor Richard Thomas. Visit the choir’s website for viewing information during December. The Christmas broadcasts were filmed prior to pandemic restrictions during The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Christmas concerts in 2019.

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