Following a fairly heavy Christmas meal (at 7:00 pm because pregnant Sisterhood felt the pangs of hunger early on and could not wait to have noche buena at midnight), we decided to drive up to the Main temple of the Church of the Latter Day Saints to view their Christmas Lights display. The Mormons decorate their temple and the temple grounds every year and has always been one of the main attractions in the Tron during the Festive season.
We arrived at the Temple grounds at around 9:00 – 9:15 and were surprised by the number of cars and people queuing to view the display. We thought there’d be fewer people considering it’s Christmas Eve, but the whole place was quite packed!
Most of the trees and shrubs were festooned with lights. The trees on the right side of the temple were all bathed in green light, the trees in front were draped in yellow while the plants on the left side of the temple were in red. The pathway leading up to the main temple itself was well lit with white firefly lights. Personally, I think the lights could have been strewn better – I don’t know, perhaps have the lights go around the trees? I guess I’m comparing the display here in Hamilton to the fantabulous display at the Mormon Church at White Plains in the Philippines. Their displays have always been awe-inspiring. The caretakers / gardeners / whoever was in charge of putting the lights up in Manila did so in style. But I really shouldn’t compare and I really should just be glad that the Mormons have taken the time to set something up for everyone to appreciate.
What’s nice about the Mormon display is that they make it a point to include a nativity scene. Most store displays focus too much on Santa Claus or Gifts or Christmas trees – everything and anything but the real reason we celebrate Christmas. And I think that’s quite sad, really. Perhaps others opt to not include the Holy Family because they don’t want to upset those who do not believe (too PC) or maybe a nativity scene will not entice people to spend their hard earned money in their shop. Sigh … All this commercial hoopla has just blurred the real meaning of the Season.
Anyway, the Nativity Scene was set up just beside the Visitor Centre and the pathway leading up to it was lined with biblical verses relating to the Birth of Christ. The figures were slightly larger than life (not to scale) and was made up in such a way that the focus would be on The Holy Family. The three kings were but small cut outs in the background, as were the shepherds.
We didn’t stay long at the Temple Grounds because it started to drizzle and we didn’t want to get the Pregnant One sick. So, we hopped on our vehicle and drove around the city instead.
The Temple of the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Hamilton was the first temple built in the Southern Hemisphere, the second one built in Polynesia, and the 11th Operating Temple in the country. It is located on top of a hill in a sprawling 86-acre block campus. The total floor area of the temple is 44,212 square feet. Its exterior is composed of reinforced concrete block and white painted structural steel, while the interiors feature murals on the walls of its Celestial Room. The Hamilton New Zealand Temple is only one of three temples that have Celestial Room Murals. The other two temples are located in Idaho and Los Angeles in the United States.
There are 152 temples throughout the world either in operation, under construction, or announced.
Located at the base of the hill is the Public Visitors’ Centre and at the heart of the building is a 10-foot replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus. I’ve seen the Christus several times and it is a very impressive work of art. It’s quite imposing yet not frightening at the same time.