Some Christmas lights will shine at Temple Square, even with construction

A new Nativity presentation will be projected on the Tabernacle’s ceiling; other events will stream online.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Daniel Beck performs “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of the "Witnesses of Christ" Christmas concert, which will stream on the website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.

Though much of downtown Salt Lake City’s Temple Square is still closed off for construction, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will present a limited version of its traditional Christmas season lights.

The church announced Friday its holiday plans — including the presentation of an animated telling of the Nativity story — for the square, where a four-year restoration and renovation project began in December 2019.

The new Nativity presentation, “Peace on Earth,” will be projected on the ceiling of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. With shadow graphics, narration and a musical underscore, the presentation tells a child-friendly version of the story of Jesus’ birth, according to the church’s news release.

The four-minute presentation will be shown every 15 minutes — alternating between English and Spanish — from 4:30 to 10 p.m., starting Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.

Images and audio tracks from the presentation will be made available, via TempleSquare.org, so people can incorporate this rendition of the Christmas story into their celebrations at home.

Also on Nov. 26, the Lights on Temple Square will be turned on in the evenings. The traditional display of Christmas lights will be limited in size and scope, due to construction. International Nativity scenes will be displayed near the Assembly Hall, in the square’s southwest corner.

The areas of Temple Square that are open to visitors include the Salt Lake Tabernacle and Assembly Hall and the space between them, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the reflecting pool east of the Salt Lake Temple, the Relief Society Building, the Church Administration Building and the Beehive House. Buildings adjacent to Temple Square — such as the Conference Center, Church History Museum, Family History Library and Church History Library — are not in the construction zone.

The Conference Center will be open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Tabernacle offers daily organ recitals, noon daily except Sundays, when the recitals start at 2 p.m.

Attendees to Temple Square events are required to wear masks and be vaccinated against COVID-19 (in the eligible age categories). Crowd sizes and COVID-19 conditions will be monitored, and adjustments made if necessary.

The church’s “Light the World” Giving Machines — vending machines that take donations for charities — will be placed at City Creek Center, starting Nov. 24. The machines also will be placed at Orem’s University Place starting Nov. 23, and at eight other cities during the Christmas season: Las Vegas; Nashville, Tenn.; Honolulu, Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; New York; Oakland, Calif.; and Gilbert, Ariz.

The church announced two Christmas season events, both streaming online on the church’s website, ChurchofJesusChrist.org:

• “Witnesses of Christ,” a 50-minute musical presentation. A lineup that includes the Truman Brothers, Utah State University Chamber Singers and Daniel Beck will perform new arrangements of familiar carols. Emcee David Butler will deliver “thought-provoking messages” centered on Jesus’ birth, the church said. The show will be streamed Sunday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. Mountain time.

• The First Presidency’s annual Christmas devotional, featuring Christmas messages from top church leaders and music by The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. It, too, will be streamed live, on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. Mountain time. There will be no public attendance this year.

Other holiday plans for the Tabernacle Choir are still pending, the church said.