The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Ashok Mirpuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the United States, together pressed a red button and illuminated 400,000 Christmas lights at the Washington D.C. Temple on Tuesday night.

The ceremony launched the 45th annual Festival of Lights for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the temple.

Elder Cook said the lighting ceremony represented the commencement of the Christmas season celebration which “commemorates the birth and life of Jesus Christ, who we revere as Savior and Redeemer of the world.”

“As Christians, we believe that all of us are children of a loving Father in Heaven and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son. Our scriptures speak of Jesus Christ as the light and life of the world.”

Elder Cook called Jesus Christ “the ultimate symbol and champion of how to vanquish the superficial distinctions that otherwise divide us from our sisters and brothers in the family of man.”

“We take that universal injunction seriously,” he said. “Members of our faith are committed to doing what we can to help better communities and break down barriers that prevent God’s children from sharing in the peace and goodwill that ought to be a common inheritance for all humankind.”

The ceremony took place in the lobby of the temple Visitors’ Center. Dozens of invited Ambassadors, Diplomats, and interfaith leaders attended the lighting ceremony. They faced a window that looked out at the brightly lit temple.

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