More than a million twinkling lights are estimated to be part of Temple Square at Christmas--but how well do you know the winter decorations and events on Temple Square? Here are 20 things we bet you haven't heard before!
Visiting Temple Square at Christmas time is on a lot of people's bucket lists--and not just for Mormons. The lights display on the Salt Lake Temple's grounds makes December a favorite time for visitors.
One couple--not LDS--comes every year all the way from North Carolina to see the Christmas displays, "Because no one celebrates Christmas like the Mormons do."
And while Temple Square always has surprises in store no matter when you go, at this time of year, there's something extra magical about this wonder of the Mormon world when it's adorned with beautiful nativities and decorated with glowing lights on every tree, bush, and building. It's a magic that brings peace. As Elder Richard L. Evans said at the first lighting ceremony in 1965, "We thought that Temple Square should be a place where men could come and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas."
Did you know that Mickey Mouse wasn't always the kind, compassionate role model we know today?
In the early days, Mickey was quite the violent troublemaker. His gradual change to the gentle, giving character we now know and love was significantly influenced by the man who was in charge of the Mickey Mouse comic strip for 45 years: Church member Floyd Gottfredson.Image from fantagraphics.com
Gottfredson was hired by Walt Disney in 1929 to train in animation, even though his real passion was for comic strips. But four months later, Walt Disney asked Gottfredson to take over the Mickey Mouse comic strip.
At this point, Gottfredson was enjoying working in animation and didn't want to make the switch, but as Gottfredson said in a 1979 interview with Jim Korkis, "Walt was quite a salesman. He told me to just take the strip for two weeks to give him some time to find another artist. I wanted to help out, so I agreed." Gottfredson filled that "temporary" position from 1930 to 1975.
The most important reminder I have ever received about gratitude happened at my father's bedside as he lay dying. Barely able to speak, he managed to share a reminder about gratitude that changed my life.
It was early on a Sunday morning in January and the fifth-floor cancer wing of the East Texas Medical Center was uncharacteristically quiet.
I had spent the night on the couch in my father’s hospital room, and before rising, I peeked through the curtains just above my makeshift bed and out into a winter wonderland—the trees and grounds glowing with freshly fallen snow. The peaceful scene before me contrasted sharply with the anxiety I felt over my father’s rapidly deteriorating condition.
I crawled from beneath the covers, slipped my shoes on, and tiptoed across the floor so as not to disturb my younger sister who was somehow sleeping soundly in the recliner beside the couch.
I settled into a chair beside my father’s bed, and while watching my big teddy bear of a father sleep, I thought about how he had never missed a Sunday of church until the last couple of weeks when he was too sick and weak to attend.
When he awoke sometime later and focused his eyes on me, I asked if it would be okay if we had our own Sabbath day devotional. Although he had spoken very little in days due to the increasing pressure of the tumor on his brain, he managed to mouth the word “OK” in something just above a whisper.
The first place I turned for inspiration was to his favorite section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to the very verse he had raised his four daughters on. I read aloud in a tone I hoped conveyed my love and respect for the man who had woven the power of this verse into the fabric of my spirit: “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail" (Doctrine and Covenants 6:34).
For Latter-day Saints, there's more than one place to find scriptural accounts of the first Christmas. Here are 6 ways to incorporate the Book of Mormon into your Christmas celebrations.
When I was growing up, every December we would read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and Matthew 2 about Christ's birth in Bethlehem, the shepherds, and the wise men. But as Latter-day Saints, we know there's more to that story--there's a second Christmas account about what was happening in the Americas at the same time, found in the Book of Mormon.
Remember the Nephites and Lamanites in this year with these 6 ideas for a "Book of Mormon Christmas."
1. Sing or listen to Christmas songs based on Book of Mormon events.
The Christmas season is famous for its music, but some of the best LDS Christmas songs you won't hear on the radio.
A favorite LDS-specific Christmas song can be found in the Children's Songbook: "Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus." The
Artwork by Greg Olsen and featured in Stars Were Gleaming.
David O. McKay
It is a glorious thing to have old St. Nicholas in our hearts and in our homes today, whether he enters the latter through the open door or creeps down the chimney on Christmas Eve. To bring happiness to others without seeking personal honor or praise by publishing it is a most commendable virtue. . . .