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.
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 Rink, Visits 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 Center, Mesa Santa Express and Mesa Christmas Market.
More information, including FAQ, can be found at MesaTemple.org.