Friday, December 30, 2011

 I love the holidays! I love the music, the cheer, the festivities, and the lights! I already posted my pictures of my Christmas tree, which I love. It's a simple tree, but the twinkling lights and simple ornaments make me smile every day.

A few places nearby have an exorbitant amount of lights and I LOVE IT! 

My first visit was to the Washington DC Temple. I don't even want to think about how many lights they have there, or how many people/how long it takes to string them... but they are breathtaking! The visitor center also has concerts every night in December and they are fabulous as well. It's a great missionary tool and I am sure the visitor center gets many interested individuals and family's inquiring about the church because of their experience here.

 One friend noted to me how the lights around the visitor center are bright and colorful, but as you get closer to the temple they turn to all white. Very fitting and I am sure it was done on purpose! But, I love just driving around the parking lot and taking it all in. It's beautiful!!
 My next visit was to see the National Christmas tree on the National Mall. This is my 3rd year in DC and my first visit to see the tree. I also learned that each state and territory has their own tree as well, so I had to come and take a look. It was the perfect evening! I found parking within one minute of looking on the National Mall and the temperature outside was only about 50 degrees! That's my kind of winter weather!!

I love this picture of the National Tree, with the state trees surrounding it and the White House lit up in the background.
 There's a National Menorah right next to the tree as well!
 The White House. 
It's hard to see in the picture, but you can see the trees and lights inside when you look closely. So pretty!
 Pennsylvania State Tree!
 Then, around the National Tree they had a train exhibit. It reminded me of my childhood. We had a "train room" in my house in PA because my family was so into model trains! I went on many excursions with my family to see model train shows and I would be mesmerized  by all the detail in the displays. It's really amazing how they are crafted and built!
 A train village!
 Me in front of the National Tree!
 My final holiday visit (well, the final one I got pictures of... I went to walk around Old Towne but forgot my camera!) I went to the National Harbor across the river. I had been there with my little buddy, Jeremiah, two seasons ago and at that point the village was just being built. But, oh my word... it's grown by leaps and bounds! Stores everywhere, conference centers, hotels.... it's huge now! But, I arrived just in time to walk around and see the sunset as well as their tree!

 I love the colors in this tree! It's hard to see, but there is a musical group performing so I wasn't able to get a picture in front of the tree. However, just opposite this tree was a HUGE PEEPS store. Never been in one before. Oh my word - more Marshmallow Peeps than I could EVER imagine! I like eating maybe one or two a year, but wow... they had more Peeps than I could ever imagine!
As the holiday season comes to a close, my heart is filled with gratitude for the blessing it is to take part in the holiday cheer, music, festivities, and lights. But, more than anything, the reminder that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. And that HE is the light, the truth and the way. It is through HIM that we can find comfort and peace, direction and guidance, and that if we seek HIM, we can feel HIS love in our lives all year long.

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