Capitol Christmas Tree. Photo courtesy Architect of the Capitol.
Watch the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting Ceremony by clicking above.
“Waiting for us is that sense of wonder that the shepherd felt when the angels appeared in the night sky and heralded the birth of the Savoir,” Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, R-Wis. said at the Capitol Tree lighting ceremony.
“After hearing this news, the shepherds knew they had to go see for themselves what this was all about. ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that happened,’ they said. That is the true spirit of Christmas and that is what we reflect upon here,” Ryan also told those attending the event.
Ryan was the main speaker at the 53rd U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Capitol’s West Front Lawn Wednesday.
Ryan spoke about the true meaning of Christmas with his remarks.
“Amid our cares and troubles, we gather to see for ourselves that the light overcomes the darkness,” the speaker continued. “We seek the joy and good in the world. We give back to those who are in need. We give a hand to those who are in pain. We see the glory of God as it shines all around us and brings us closer to one another.
“These gifts may never dim our hearts. They are always there,” Ryan said. “All we need is a little light of course. a little Christmas to guide our path.”
Then with the assistance of 11-year-old Ridley Brandmayr of Bozeman, Montana, the speaker started a countdown and Brandmayr threw the switch to light up the tree.
Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of the Capitol, served as the master of ceremonies for the event. The Architect of the Capitol selects the tree in consultation with the United States Forest Service.
This year’s tree was chosen from the Kootenai National Forest located in the northwest corner of Montana. The Englemann Spruce is sponsored by the Montana Congressional Delegation led by U.S. Senator Jon Tester.
It was harvested near Yaak, Montana on November 8, 2017, and traveled cross-country to Washington, D.C. by truck, making stops at several communities along the way.
The Architect of the Capitol’s grounds team decorated the tree with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from communities across Montana.
The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2018.
Ever wonder how the Capitol Christmas Tree is selected? You can find out more about the tree selection process at the Architect of the Capitol website.