In its 43rd year, the annual Festival of Lights at the Washington, DC Temple grounds and adjacent Visitors’ Center offered a unique drive-through edition this December due to COVID-19 safety recommendations. The driving route gave visitors a special, close-up view of the iconic Washington, D.C. Temple since it closed for renovations in March of 2018. A landmark used for traffic reports, the Washington, D.C. Temple sits atop a hill close to the Capital Beltway and is viewed daily by thousands driving on one of the busiest freeways in the United States. This brief video beautifully captures how tens of thousands of attendees enjoyed this beloved community tradition celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth with stunning views of over 400,000 colorful lights and two life-sized nativities.

“The Festival of Lights has brought people from all over the region together in joy and peace for decades. While 2020 has modified the Christmas plans for many people, we have designed an experience that will help bring the beauty and peace of the Temple to our friends and neighbors in this region. This activity has been carefully designed as both safe from a public health standpoint and meaningful from a spiritual perspective.” said Elder Kevin E. Calderwood, Area Authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sister Janice Chappell, co-director of the Visitors’ Center, with her husband Robert, shared they hope all the attendees felt welcomed and felt God’s love through this celebration.

The Festival of Lights has been an annual tradition in the Washington, D.C. area welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors, including local diplomats, dignitaries, friends of various faiths and neighbors. Under normal conditions the Festival of Lights includes daily performances from a variety of talented music artists and groups from the region, an international creche display and breathtaking Christmas trees each decorated with a unique theme.