“Light the World” on the Grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple

Contributed By Jill Adair, Church News contributor

  • 6 December 2016

Visitors stroll through the gardens of the Mesa Arizona Temple.  Photo by Clint Adair.

Article Highlights

  • Over 3,000 volunteers helped light the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds for Christmas.
  • The decorations were inspired by the “Light the World” Christmas campaign.

MESA, ARIZONA

Hundreds of thousands of colorful lights adorn trees, shrubs, and flower beds of the Mesa Arizona Temple gardens, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and helping to “Light the World.”

Held as an annual community event, this year the display supports the Church’s new Christmas initiative, “Light the World,” which encourages daily acts of service leading up to December 25.

And acts of service are what make it all possible.

Stacey and Gary Farr serve as directors of the lighting event but credit more than 3,000 volunteers who offer their helping hands in a variety of ways.

“It’s a sight to behold!” said Sister Farr of the amount of time and effort that is given during the weeks leading up to the day after Thanksgiving, when the lights are officially turned on. The lights are on nightly from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. through December 31.

A variety of displays help tell the story of Christ’s birth, including a large outdoor crèche, shepherds’ field, Mary and Joseph figurines, the prophet Isaiah, and much more.

And countless Christmas lights dangle from tall palm trees, wrap tightly around tree trunks, hang from branches, cluster in bouquet-like arrangements on the ground, and cover flower beds and low walls.

“‘Light the World’—that’s exactly what we’re doing in this little corner of the world,” Sister Farr said.

Six-year-old Elise Cronin looks into the trees at the colorful lights. Her family visits the event every year. Photo by Scott Adair.

Inside the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center, visitors can watch a short video highlighting the initiative and encouraging viewers to learn more about service ideas at mormon.org.

“It’s a great program that we’re participating in,” said Elder Norman Ashton, director of the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center.

He said he anticipates more than 150,000 visitors to come inside the center at 525 E. Main St. during the event to see a video, view the 13-foot Christus, enjoy various exhibits, or discover a room full of Nativity scenes from around the world.

Susan Fuller of the Tempe Arizona South Stake pulls together the special crèche exhibit each year and says this year there are 145 sets for visitors to see.

Elder Ashton says visitors come from all over to see the lights and enjoy what’s offered inside.

“There is nothing quite like it,” he said. “It’s something that many look forward to every year.”

The Cronin family lives close by, and the parents say they bring their children to visit several times during the Christmas season.

“They love it,” said Crystal Cronin. “They love the lights.”

Lubna Dent, who is from Pakistan but now lives in Arizona, visited for the first time five years ago and returned again this year.

“The moment I entered I was in awe,” she said. “The people from their hearts are trying to spread the Light of Christ and His message of hope. It’s amazing how they do it out of love and service.”

The event also includes 30-minute concerts presented on the north lawn nightly at 7:00 p.m.

For more information about the Temple Garden Christmas Lights Display or to view the concert schedule, visit www.mesachristmaslights.com.

Hundreds of thousands of colorful lights adorn trees, shrubs, and flower beds of the Mesa Arizona Temple gardens, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and helping to “Light the World.” Photo by Scott Adair.

The Toney family of Gilbert, Arizona, views the crèche display for the first time. Photo by Scott Adair.

A winter forest scene is on the north side of the temple. Photo by Scott Adair.

Christmas lights dangle from tall palm trees, wrap tightly around tree trunks, hang from branches, cluster in bouquet-like arrangements on the ground, and cover flower beds and low walls. Photo by Scott Adair.

Nativity scenes from around the world are part of an exhibit inside the visitors’ center. Photo by Scott Adair.

A traditional lifelike Nativity scene imported from Italy is a focal point of the displays amid the Christmas lights. Photo by Scott Adair.

The prophet Isaiah is portrayed in foretelling the Savior's birth. Photo by Clint Adair.

Display stands have interactive QR codes linking to videos with deeper insight to the scenes presented in the gardens. Photo by Clint Adair.

Wise Men and camels are illuminated on the north lawn of the Mesa Arizona Temple. Photo by Clint Adair.

Figurines represent Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. Photo by Clint Adair.

The Fairbanks family poses for a photo underneath giant snowflakes. Photo by Scott Adair.

A life-size white sculptured Nativity appears to float in an infinity edge reflecting pool. Photo by Clint Adair.