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Free Christmas Lighting at Mesa Temple starts Nov. 24, runs through Dec. 31

photo of the Mesa Temple
Beginning Friday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Dec. 31, the lights will turn on every night from 5 to 10 p.m. on the north grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple, 101 S. LeSueur in downtown Mesa. Free admission. (Photo: Richard Webb for Mesa Temple Events)
By Jill Adair | Digital Free Press

For more than four decades, the lighting of the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds has been a favorite Valley tradition, featuring the nativity story and colorful displays.

Beginning Friday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Dec. 31, the lights will turn on every night from 5 to 10 p.m. on the north grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple, 101 S. LeSueur in downtown Mesa.

In addition to lights, there are favorite Biblical vignettes scattered among olive trees with QR codes that take visitors to online videos giving deeper insight to the scenes.

Each vignette comes with New Testament scriptures and tells part of the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, including larger-than-life lighted wise men and their camels on the north lawn, and a near life-size Italian Fontanini nativity scene displayed at the northwest corner of the temple with a newly designed star above the crèche, twinkling with more than 20,000 white lights. Each scene has its own audio system playing accompanying music and narration.

In addition, a unique display of more than 100 nativities from around the world is hosted inside the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center, 455 E. Main St. The event is open 5-10 p.m. from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays during those dates.

This year, this near life-size Italian Fontanini nativity scene will be housed in a new crèche, displayed at the northwest corner of the temple with a star twinkling with more than 20,000 white lights. (Photo: Jill Adair/Arizona Digital Free Press)
The International Nativity Exhibit showcases more than 100 nativities from around the world — many which are handmade — and is hosted inside the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center, 455 E. Main St. The event is open 5-10 p.m. from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays during those dates. Admission is free. (Photo: Scott Adair/Mesa Temple Events)

All events have free admission and free parking is available nearby.

Event planners say it is one of the largest known volunteer-driven Christmas lighting displays in the country.

“It is our gift to the community,” says Mesa Temple Christmas Lights Director Stacey Farr. The event is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the lights and displays are installed by volunteers, who began their efforts this summer.

The lighting event began in 1979 and returned last year after a hiatus during which the temple and grounds were renovated.

Mesa Temple Christmas Lights are associated with Merry Main Street activities in downtown Mesa. Other events include Winter Wonderland Ice RinkVisits with Santa, Mesa’s 40-foot-tall Christmas tree, Holiday Sunset Market, Mesa’s Menorah, Reindeer Roll & Stroll, Jack Frost’s Food Truck Forest, Gnome on the Roam, Holiday Happenings at the Mesa Arts CenterMesa Santa Express and Mesa Christmas Market.

More information, including FAQ, can be found at MesaTemple.org.

Mesa Temple Christmas Lights
Aerial view of the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights shows many of the lights and displays, all installed by volunteers. (Photo: Kary Ann Hoopes/Mesa Temple Events)

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