Thousands of lights adorn the grounds of the Sydney Australia Temple during the holiday season. Similar to lighting displays at other temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the presentation also features life-size nativity characters and an art show. The collection of paintings in the show chronicles the life of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection, a story that is particularly interesting to individuals of the many non-Christian faiths who reside in Sydney.
Christmas lighting displays are uncommon in Australian culture, so the staging at the temple provides a unique means of celebrating the holiday for thousands of residents, according to Alan Wakeley, assistant director of Public Affairs for the Pacific Area.
The lighting exhibit includes some 140,000 multi-colored lights covering the grounds of the Sydney Temple in Carlingford. The display, now in its 20th year, draws thousands of guests during the holiday time period.
Also included at the setting is a life-size nativity scene with characters in carefully crafted costumes. The camels defining the setting were hand-carved by a local artist, according to Wakeley.
In the adjoining, historic Buckland House an art exhibit entitled, “Life of Jesus Christ in Art” includes some 35 works of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Harry Anderson. Work of local artists and recently produced videos on the life of Christ will also be a part of the exhibit, which runs evenings through 31 December.
Recent visitors on the temple grounds noted the events in the life of Jesus Christ noted in the art exhibit. A young Chinese couple explained the Christian scenes to their mother who was visiting from China. “My mother knew nothing of Jesus,” the young Chinese woman said, “so this has given her insight to new ideas.”
Another guest from India expressed appreciation for the holiday exhibit. “Christmas is my only day off work in the month of December and I love to spend part of my celebration in this beautiful exhibit.”
“Families often enter viewing the temple lights as a calendar item on their annual celebrations,” added Wakeley.
The Innis family from Kellyville enjoyed a night away from the “distractions of electronics.”
“Spending time with the children walking through the temple grounds brings joy and peace to any father’s heart, but especially in this season,” explained Nelson Innis. “The spirit of the grounds and the art really draws families together.”
People of many and varied faith traditions express similar feelings as they view the informative exhibit.
Read Sydney's Temple Hill Shines with 140,000 Christmas Lights on Australia’s MormonNewsroom.org website.