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Christmas Night Pilgrimage to the Latter-Day Temple Near Washington, D.C.

Updated on March 24, 2018
Guckenberger profile image

Alex has taught at two public schools, been accepted into two honorary societies, and traveled the Americas and Europe.

My Personal History

I have only ever been to what is commonly referred to as the "Washington Temple" once before. And, that visit was years ago. So, it only seemed like the right time to visit. I had made up my mind! I was going to make my journey to the temple on Christmas.

Statue of Jesus Christ indoors nearby the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
Statue of Jesus Christ indoors nearby the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

Before The Dawn

I had never been to a Latter-Day saint (LDS) temple during the Christmas season. It seemed like an exciting idea! My excitement was definitely not in vain either. The entire experience was amazing.

Miniature model of the Washington Temple near the Washington Temple
Miniature model of the Washington Temple near the Washington Temple

A Quick Explanation

I had some time in the afternoon that was completely free and my Mom had just given me a heating pad, so I decided to make the journey down to the temple.

Gorgeous decorations outside of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
Gorgeous decorations outside of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

An Important Note

I mentioned earlier that my mother had given me a heating pad on Christmas morning. This is important to note, as my car currently lacks any heat.

The Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
The Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

A Long Drive

That's right; I drove the almost two hours to and roughly two hours back from the Washington Temple. And, boy was it still worth it!

More amazing lights outside of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
More amazing lights outside of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

A Gargantuan Giant

I can remember seeing the Washington Temple long before I arrived on the grounds of the visitor center. The temple is huge!

Setting The Mood

I also have a fond memory of my drive on Stoneybrook Drive; there was just something very bucolic about the scenery. Even so, it was nothing to compare to the beautitudes of the lights all over and by the visitor center!

Washinton Temple property in Kensington, Maryland
Washinton Temple property in Kensington, Maryland

The Christmas Helpers

When I arrived at the entrance to the temple grounds, there was a gentleman who was guiding traffic onto the temple property. There were multiple individuals helping vehicles and people to move in and about.

A Matter Of Destiny

The aforementioned gentleman told me that there was no more parking spaces, so I was quite excited to find a place to park much sooner than I had initially expected.

The Washington Temple yet again in Kensington, MD
The Washington Temple yet again in Kensington, MD

Keeping Warm

Fortunately, I had brought extra socks. At this point, I was already very cold. I put on two extra pairs of socks on each of my feet and proceeded to stare in awe at the amazing decorations, lights, and displays!

Preparation For Pretty Photography

I got my two cameras out; I just had to take pictures of this incredible display! The cold seemed as nothing whilst I looked at the gorgeousness that surrounded my somatic form!

Me being silly in front of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
Me being silly in front of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

It Was Lovely

The experience was incredible. There were hoards of people everywhere and they were from all kinds of different cultures. Even one of the elders, who was on traffic duty, was switching between English and Spanish!

Wonderful decor near the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
Wonderful decor near the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

The True Spirit

When I told them (that is; those who were working around the temple) that I felt bad that they had to work on Christmas, they would point out that what they were doing was what the holiday was all about.

A small body of water in front of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
A small body of water in front of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

My Aspirations For Others

I knew that work is a very important aspect of the gospel, but I still felt sorry for these men. We all have our work to do, but I hope they still had time for their families on such a special day.

When Nature Calls

One of my first stops was the restroom. I was unsure of what to do when I discovered that the men's bathroom on the first floor of the building I was in was out of order.

Outside of the temple in Kensington, MD
Outside of the temple in Kensington, MD

An Answered Prayer

I ventured to the second floor and audibly thanked my Heavenly Father after I had found a men's restroom there. Although this may sound silly to some, I had been holding my fluids in for a very long time.

The Washinton Temple in Kensington, MD
The Washinton Temple in Kensington, MD

Gorgeous Scenery

Honestly, a part of me didn't want to leave. The Washington Temple grounds are so gorgeous during the holiday season. It is simply amazing, and pictures alone do not do it justice!

A depiction of the angel Moroni can be seen high above the temple in Kensington, Maryland
A depiction of the angel Moroni can be seen high above the temple in Kensington, Maryland

Beyond Mere Words

It is difficult to formulate into words what it feels like to look at that enormous temple in person. It is a humbling experience; a reminder of how small we really are.

Near the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland
Near the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland

The Quest For Wifi

But, I knew that I needed to get home. I had a small problem; the area I was in did not have free wifi. So, I drove to a nearby gas station hoping to get wifi. I needed wifi for a couple of minutes to set course on my global positioning system (GPS).

My Thoughts And Apologies

The first convenience store I stopped in was a no go. I tried using the wifi, but it was password protected. I walked into the store and asked the man to use their wifi. He was ready to help me with his phone, but for such a long trip this wouldn't help too much. I feel as though I was politely rude to the man. If you are reading this, I'm sorry; I was just super cold and getting tired!

Nearby the temple in Kensington, Maryland
Nearby the temple in Kensington, Maryland

Next Stop - Home

I finally did find wifi and was on my way home. I was finding ways to warm one hand at a time as I drove without doing anything dangerous. I was very excited to see the entrance to my community. I would soon be warm, and indeed I was!

A
Washinton Temple:
9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD 20895, USA

get directions

Final Thoughts And Feelings

My visit to the Washington Temple was a rough, yet amazing experience. I recommend that other should also visit if they are able. I also suggest that said people should wear warm clothes and bring a vehicle with working heat.

Have you been to the Washington Temple?

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What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts of the Washington Temple in Kensington, Maryland? Do you like it? Are you LDS? Have you ever been to this temple or any Mormon temple? Please tell me all of your thoughts in the comment section below!

© 2018 Alexander James Guckenberger

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