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LDS share Christmas gift of lights, music and drama

SHARE LDS share Christmas gift of lights, music and drama

While church officials and diplomatic officials are scheduled to "flip the switch" on the Christmas lights at the

Washington D.C. Temple grounds in Maryland this week, it is only one of

dozens of opportunities Latter-day Saints have an opportunity to share

the spirit and message of Christ in their communities. In some places,

the media has taken notice.Washington, D.C.Fox news writes

about the Washington Temple lights as do the Philadelphia Inquirer and Washingtonian magazine.Here's

a sample of other ways Latter-day Saints are sharing the Christmas

spirit:Temple Square, Salt Lake CityWhile

there's nothing new being added to this year's LDS Church campus displays,

there is one significant change. The centerpiece of a nativity scene that

used to be off to the side of the reflecting pool on the east side of the

Salt Lake Temple, now sits atop the water."It puts the focus where it needs

to be," said Eldon Cannon, group manager of ground services for Temple Square

and the surrounding church campus.Centreville, Va.The Centre

View reported:"The

sacred musical drama, 'Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection,' is

almost ready for presentation by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

Saints in Centreville. But it's been a long time in the making.'We

started rehearsing in September, but have been planning it for a year —

finding the resources and people we needed,' said Director Devin Toma, who

has two decades' experience working in music and theater.It's a huge

production, with 140 people — ages 8-80 — in the cast and about 20 in the

crew. It's also free to the public, regardless of religious affiliation, 'So

it's a gift to the community,' said Toma.'We hope it'll deepen people's

faith; it's for anyone to come and feel the spirit and message of what it's

all about.'"Jefferson City, Mo.The News Tribune reported:"Come

to the Manger," hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

invites the community to take in the spirit of Christmas with more than 200

mangers on display.The event brings people of all Christian denominations

together to celebrate mini-re-creations of the birth of Jesus Christ more

than 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. The nativity scenes are on loan to

the church for the week and belong to both members of the church as

well as friends from the community. Last year's event brought together

more than 300 nativity sets not only from around town, but from across

the globe.'We always welcome new nativity scenes each year because our

many visitors return year after year and enjoy viewing the

different kinds,' said chairwoman Sherri Downs."Bartsow,

Calif.The Desert Dispatch reported:"The

LDS Church will host the 11th year of Sights and Sounds of Christmas ...

Chairwoman Beth Simpson says, 'The Sights and Sounds of Christmas is a

wonderful way to begin the holidays.' It is sponsored by The Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter-day Saints as a gift to the community to foster a spirit of

love and service as we focus on the birth of Christ. This event is only made

possible with many talented and selfless volunteers, and enriches the lives

of all those who attend.'"Ogden, UtahThe Standard-Examiner wrote:"The

Ogden Stake celebrated its 100-year anniversary and created a float for the

annual Christmas parade. The float depicts a scene of horses and a trolley

passing by Lester Park, a scene reminiscent of Ogden in 1908. The float was

created with plenty of paint, glitter, lights and 'hours and hours and many

hours' of work from about 20 members of the stake, said Jan Lawrence of

Ogden, a stake member."Littleton, Colo.YourHub.com:"In

an interfaith event hosted by the LDS Church, a

30-minute theatre-in-the-round musical production portrays the story of

Mary, Joseph and the birth of their precious son, based on

biblical scripture. In addition, local artwork, performances from

community musicians, and a select display of 50 international crèches

were exhibited. The event has been hosted the last six

years."Howell, Mich.According to the Livingston Daily, The

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints featured more than 400 displays

during an annual Nativity Exhibit."It's hard to believe the Nativity Exhibit

that began 16 years ago with just a 'small' exhibit of 116 nativities has

grown to substantially," said organizer Karen Murdock. "We've had as many

as 700 exhibits but we seem to average about 400, which can be an exciting

challenge with only a four-day time frame to prepare. The question most asked

of our volunteers is where we get all the nativities for the exhibit. Most

come from our church members but several come from fellow exhibitors who may

belong to other religious denominations."Noblesville, Ind.Indianapolis

Star columnist Betsy Reason writes: "Darla Kinney Scoles says the more than

200 Nativity scenes displayed at her church the first weekend in December

offer her a gentle reminder of how the birth of a baby changed the world

forever. 'We invite our neighbors and the community to come and feel the

spirit that exists in a room filled with visual reminders of the holy family

and the miracle that was the birth of the savior,' said Scoles. She will

display her collection of more than two dozen Nativities at The Church of

Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints' third Community Creche

exhibit."Evansville, Ind.tristatehomepage.com:More than 400 nativity

scenes from various countries are displayed, including a live indoor

nativity. This is a non-denominational event; people with no religious

affiliation and non-LDS religious affiliation are welcome. Other activities

include continuous live Christmas music involving

choirs.Springfield, Mo.OzarksFirst reports:The

Springfield LDS Church is into its the 10th year of the

nativity celebration, featuring Branson entertainers. See a video of

the display.Gainesville, Ga.www.accessnorthga.com:"The

multicultural event, in its 12th year, united Christian performers of all

stripes, including the Sugar Hill Latter-day Saints Choir, St. Michael

Catholic Church altar servers, Angelic Voices of St. John Baptist Church and

the Adult Handbell Choir of Gainesville First United Methodist

Church."Foxborough, Mass.www.wickedlocal.com Latter-day

Saints will join other faiths in "The Joy of Christmas Celebration" including

vocalists and instrumentalists including Saint Mary's Catholic Church, Saint

Mark's Episcopal Church, Union Church of South Foxboro, Foxboro Foursquare

Gospel Church and the Serenading Seniors.Midland, Mich.According

to mlive.com,

a display of more than 500 nativities from around the world and a Christmas

concert are being hosted by the LDS Church.Simi Valley, Calif.The

Simi Valley Acorn reported:The

Simi Community Christmas event featuring the international créche exhibit and

musical performances by the Simi Stake Choir.Orange County, Calif.www.ocpac.org:Five choirs and a 60-piece orchestra with the Orange County (Calif.) Mormon Choral Organization will present "All the Bells on Earth Shall Ring," a Christmas concert.

St. George, UtahThe Spectrum said: The St. George Temple continued its 20-year tradition of illuminating thousands

of lights on the temple grounds Friday.North Bend, Wash.The

SnoValley Star wrote:Choirs

from the Snoqualmie Methodist Church, Mount Si High School and three Mormon

congregations will team up for a free holiday musical.