Capitol Christmas Tree illuminated on rainy night

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan, with the help of fifth-grader Isabella Gerard, has thrown the switch illuminating the Capitol Christmas Tree -- an 80-foot-tall spruce from her home state of Idaho.

On a rainy Tuesday evening, Ryan and members of the Idaho congressional delegation mused how slightly colder temperatures could have produced a snowy ceremony instead.

Ryan said, "Christ's birth, like this tree, is a reminder that God is always with us. We may neglect him. We may reject him. But he never forsakes us."

After the traditional countdown, the Christmas tree on the west lawn of the Capitol was illuminated and the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass Band performed "O Christmas Tree" and "Joy to the World."