Members of Wesley United Methodist Church in Greenville, Texas, are closing 2020 by lighting up the night sky with a message of hope.

Lights of Advent displays 17,000 lights along a two-story, 100-foot wide grid to portray the coming of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Luke. The display portrays a a star-filled sky with angels and twinkling stars over the town of Bethlehem with a two-dimensional nativity at its center. 

The effort began with a simple enough idea.

Last summer, Brock Johnson shared his vision of covering the church in lights to spread joy during the holidays.

However, the idea changed as others contributed their own ideas. For example, Chris Yost wanted the display to communicate the meaning of the Advent Season.

Church members used their talents in art, engineering, and carpentry to build the project beginning in October. Jeff Cullen designed a grid and rigging system.

Artist Elaine Yznaga transformed the idea of the city, sky, and angels into an image. Retired engineer John Yznaga plotted each light across the grid system to portray the images Elaine designed. 

Dozens of volunteers helped build the grids, paint them black, and attach the lights. Others built out the grid system and hoisted panels into place.

"Wesley United Methodist Church is excited to present this gift to the community and the Northeast Texas area," says Kevin Banks, Greenville's venue and tourism manager. "It is our hope that The Lights of Advent become a holiday tradition for your family for years to come."

Visitors can turn off their headlights and listen to 100.1 FM to hear a message about the Advent Season, which runs from November 29 to December 24.

The light display's message changes each week with the traditional advent themes of hope, peace, love, and joy. Visitors can return weekly from now through the Epiphany on January 6, the day the church celebrates the presentation of the infant Jesus to the three wise men. 

The display runs from 6 to 9 p.m. each evening December 6 to January 6. Visitors can enter through the parking lot on Joe Ramsey Blvd. and follow the red and green arrows to the viewing area. The church address is 1200 E. Joe Ramsey Blvd.

The church does not charge entry fees and is splitting donations with Hunt County Shared Ministries, also known as FISH. Donations can be made at through Secure Give. When making a donation, write “Lights” in the notes section. For more information, call (903) 455-1594.

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