Are all your gifts wrapped up yet? Would it help to have a bit more Christmas cheer via more lights around your house?
I went downtown and gathered some photos of the lights there and in Temple Square.
I came away with some extra Christmas season thoughts.
I'll share them with you, along with the pictures, below.
Each year I am enjoying Christmas lights displays more and more.
Our family used to always drive around looking at Christmas lights; we still do, but the displays in Salt Lake City really are something compared to what we used to see as children.
Downtown Salt Lake City has gone mostly with blue on one street and red on another and so forth.
For years the "big deal" has been the lights in Temple Square.
I've walked the lighted square in snow, and dry times. This year I went when it was raining.
The wet surfaces made for a new kind of beauty.
The rain doubled the impact of each light by making the ground a mirror-like surface for reflecting the colors again. Even trolley tracks looked pretty for a change.
The street scenes outside the square had their own industrial kind of beauty.
One Temple Square entry point had a huge light tree.
I just read that America.gov has explained that we celebrate Christmas as Americans by putting up Christmas trees.
Frankly, I wish the more noted tradition would be putting out Nativity scenes.
Inside of the building next to the huge light tree had several Nativity scenes, including this one created inside an egg.
They were not as showy as the light tree.
They required a more personal consideration to understand.
Sort of like the Birth of Christ did.
Manger scenes created by different nationalities included figures that were culturally understandable.
Northern American manage scenes just wouldn't include bears and tigers I think, yet those beasts were included in this manger scene.
Not to worry tree fanciers...the building also had an enormous tree in the center of everything.
The stained glass overhead added extra color to the scene during the daytime.
At night the light duties were undertaken by the crystal chandelier.
The Christmas tree had a hard time competing with those other features.
The greenery swags: Traditionally brought inside to keep evil away during winter.
Hard to remember such fearful beginnings of our trimming traditions.
I get such a kick out of pictures like the one above: The scene is nice and all...but what would REALLY make it look good is if there were people standing in the middle of it all!
(Actually...I think that is what God thought when He added humans to His creation.)
Back outside: the flower beds that were crowded with tulips in April now blossoms with green and blue lights.
The evergreen trees that had no glory in Autumn now shines with the addition of autumn toned lights.
Tree that had sported fall colors now glow pink...
It is a merry mix of colors here now.
I'm happy to see another Nativity scene. This one with a kiwi bird dropping by to admire the Newborn King.
I did mention that it was raining, right?
I meant to set up with a tripod on this photo jaunt but the crowds would have made that very difficult to manage. In the end, the rain softened the scene anyway...and I liked the results.
The beds under the trees were bundled in white cloth. Sometimes the cloth is covered with snow, but in any case, it keeps the bare beds looking neat beneath the trees.
This shot is going to become my new header on Christmas.
These lights are put in the square each Christmas. They glow with words like "Joy" or "Peace" or "Love" in various languages of the world. This lantern says "Peace on Earth" in Arabic.
Oh how I long for that such a day as peace on earth to come!
The lanterns are not as showy as the lighted trees. They need up close inspection to be understood.
A serious photographer with the scene behind me reflected in a window. A woman strides past the whole scene rapidly.
Joy in Albanian
Peace in Turkish.
When God destroyed the tower of Babel and left the people of the world with separate languages, each people group still had the words of God's love and promises...joy, peace, love.
Those are the words that convey meanings that are still felt the same by everyone on earth.
Another series of lanterns provided a pictorial account of the Nativity.
Each one was stunning when lit, yet quite plan without an inner light.
Hmmm...something to think about.
Strolling around the grounds one could just see the trees and be satisfied.
Or one could be drawn to the small lights in an orderly row below the wild lights.
The small lights were the ones with a message to bring.
A water feature that usually has water shooting several stories high. Tonight it is calm, and each light around it is multiplied on its surface.
I know what this lanterns means.
And this one as well.
The curious picture of a lion at peace with the lambs makes perfect sense to me too.
Yet so many people wouldn't know.
My mom told me about a six year old that she talked to.
The little girl had no idea who Jesus was, or what was meant by a manger scene.
The concept of God?
The child had never heard of God.
The child lives in a multi-million dollar house in Southern California, born to Caucasian parents who also grew up in America. The child attends an expensive private school and has well educated parents.
Yet these concepts: Jesus, Nativity scene, God were unknown concepts to her.
They had not even been shared with her as a cultural motif.
My mother was shocked.
And greatly saddened.
Perhaps the uninformed will ponder and ask questions and learn about why this time of year is really celebrated.
Yet, like this unlit lantern, I know that an inner Illumination is needed via God's Spirit for any of His Story to be fully understood.
Without the Light, it all just becomes a corroded design.
I enjoyed the long views...
And the wide eyed children seeing it all for the very first time.
I laughed at this child who was more interested in the lighted water traveling through the trees.
Some people took pictures of people.
Others took pictures of the story telling lanterns.
Some took pictures of the trees.
Others took picture after picture of the temple spires.
I almost wished I could ask them about what interested them the most.
What would you want to photograph the most?
There were plenty of trees to enjoy, both the kind that grew and the kind that man created via strings of lights.
Crowds of people strolled along, some in family groups holding babies and pushing toddlers, others were groups of teens joking and interacting with each other more than enjoying the sights.
There were young lovers holding hands with stars in their eyes that had nothing to do with the electric or celestial lights.
The crowd seemed to be milling almost aimlessly at times, yet I had the thought that God had a plan and purpose for each person that I saw.
Each person could be a light in the darkness...
This group chose to gather and sing carols to the crowds passing by.
(I loved how the light reflected off the wet pavers due to the rain.)
This was the light tree that I was so dismayed to see in place in October.
It takes a couple of months to turn the Square into this light show; I should not be so strict in my thinking about when such decorations are put in place.
In the center of all the light there is a life sized scene of shepherds and their flocks.
The tree (or is it the star over Bethlehem?) behind them...if it is the star, shouldn't they be heading towards it?
They are appropriately heading to see the Holy Family afloat.
Golden glowing orbs floated on the water surface around the Holy Family.
The Bible uses the word "sea" to represent humanity. Knowing that made this scene even more meaningful.
The shepherds were heading toward the Baby in the creche.
(This scene in the snow is amazing. But I liked it with green grass too.)
For many, this building is very significant. I imagine that most people who read this post will have no idea what it is.
If you don't know, why don't you come visit and find out?
Outside the Temple Square gates a bagpiper's music filled the air.
I took a flash photo of him, he immediately squawked "Aye, lassie, you've blinded me!"
Southern belle me replied without missing a beat:
"Well darlin', you know you blinded me first, you with your handsome looks and kilted self."
He laughed and said he would tell his wife that...that she says he is quite homely!
Oh I do miss the Southern charming past time of innocent flirtation.
Bernie and I have had our carriage rides in the snow. I am happy to see others enjoying as well.
I hope you and yours have much joy and enjoyment tonight and tomorrow.
May the Light of God be greater to your soul than any man made light could ever hope to be!
Blessed be the Name of Our Lord!