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Nation's Capitol Celebrates Advent Season with Christmas Tree Lighting

Capitol Christmas Tree
Capitol Christmas Tree

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is now lit. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., flipped the switch Tuesday night. 

The 80-foot Engelmann Spruce traveled 4,000 miles from Payette's National Forest in Idaho. 

Ryan compared the giant spruce with Jesus' birth.  

"Christ's birth, like this tree, is a reminder that God is always with us," he said. "We may neglect Him. We may reject Him, but He never forsakes us. He welcomes us back into His warm embrace." 

Ryan also spoke of his hope for the nation.
"Hope is not the expectation of good fortune. It is the demonstration of good will. It is the determination to do good, whatever the consequences may be," he said. 

The night ended with the U.S. Air Force Ceremonial Brass Band performing "O Christmas Tree" and "Joy to the World."

The annual lighting of the Capitol tree became an official celebration more than 50 years ago.

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