Monday, March 24, 2008

The Living Christ



Flourish image for decoration

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fullness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

Image of the signatures of the First Presidency Image of the signatures of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

January 1, 2000

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Move Over, Dumb Bunny!

PERSONALLY, I have nothing big against the Easter Bunny. BUT he sure can make it tricky for kids to be excited to learn about the TRUE reason we celebrate Easter/Resurrection Sunday. So I just thought I would SHARE the few cool ideas I DO know to make the REAL stuff interesting (and a little sweet!)!

Resurrection Cookies

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt

1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon


1. Set oven to 300ยบ.

2. Place pecans in zipper baggie and beat them with
the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.

3. Put vinegar into a mixing bowl. Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Sprinkle a little salt into the bowl. Add 1 cup

4. Beat with mixer on high speed for
12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.

5. Fold in the broken nuts.

6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper covered cookie sheet

7. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven OFF.

8. Seal the oven door with a piece of tape.

9. The next morning open the oven and give everyone a
cookie. The surface will be cracked and the cookies are hollow.

10. Have the children help you and t
ell them the following story as you make the cookies.

The Resurrection Cookie Story

As they beat the nuts with the wooden spoon, explain to the children that, after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.

Before you put the vinegar in the bowl, let each child smell it and then explain that, when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given vinegar to drink.

As you beat the egg whites, ex
plain that eggs represent life and how Jesus gave his life to give us life.

Sprinkle a little salt in
to each child's hand and let them taste.
This represents the salty tears shed by the followers of

When you add the sugar, explain that this is the sweetest
part of the story because Jesus loves us and wants us to know and belong to him.

Explain that the color white represents the purity in God'
s eyes.

As you mound the cookies onto the waxed paper, explain that the cookies represent the rocky
tomb where Jesus' body was laid.

When they put the tape on the oven explain that the tape represents how Jesus' tomb was sealed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.

The next morning when they take a bite and see the cooki
es are hollow, explain how, on the first Resurrection day, his followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.


OR a shorter lesson, with rolls...

Resurrection Rolls

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough

8 large marshmallows
Melted butter


Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This
represents the linen used to wrap Christs' body.
Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.

Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the

Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow
will "ooze" out of the seams)

Bake according to package directions. (The oven represents the tomb.)

Break open the roll and the body of Christ is no longer there.

I really like these, particularly hidden in an actual easter egg hunt, but numbered. Just have the kids save them. A good way to bring them BACK to the real purpose for celebration. There are lots of versions online of these, or you may have a favorite scripture and a symbol you like to use. That's okay. But this is just one that was pretty good. They do SELL Resurrection Eggs, but this is how to MAKE them with plastic Easter eggs from the dollar store. Not bad for UN-commercializing Easter, eh? Hee hee!

TRUE Easter Eggs

This carton contains twelve plastic eggs. Each egg contains part of the Easter story, along with the appropriate item (except for the 12th egg, which should remain symbolically empty). The eggs are numbered (1 through 12). Simply open up the eggs in order to read the Easter story.

You can serve the eggs directly from this carton, in a decorated basket, or at each place setting at the dinner table. [Or in a real egg hunt like my family! Yay!]

This can provide a unique presentation of the often-heard Easter story. In addition to opening the eggs in order to tell the story, you can play a game of "scrambled eggs" by having players match the scripture to the appropriate item, or putting the story in sequence.

Egg 1: Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He asked Heavenly Father to bless him. He did not want to suffer. He said to Heavenly Father, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." But Jesus wanted to obey Heavenly Father. He would suffer for all people who would repent of their sins.

Matthew 26:39-44
Plastic or Paper Cup

Egg 2: One of Jesus' 12 apostles, named Judas, made a deal with some wicked men. The wicked men wanted to hurt Jesus. They said they would give Judas 30 pieces of silver if he would show them where Jesus was. So Judas showed them where Jesus was, which was in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:14-16
3 Dimes or other Silver Coins

Egg 3: The wicked men took Jesus to the Pharisees (the ruling men of Jerusalem). The Pharisees tied Jesus up and took him to Pilate, the Roman leader.

Matthew 27:1-2
Knotted Twine

Egg 4: Pilate asked Jesus many questions. Pilate told the Pharisees that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Pilate wanted to let Jesus go, but the Pharisees hated Jesus. They said to Pilate, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate did not want trouble with the Pharisees, so he washed his hands (act out with the soap) in front of the people saying, "I am free of the blood of this just (good) person." Pilate let his Roman soldiers take Jesus to crucify him.

Luke 23:13-24
Chunk of Soap

Egg 5: The Roman soldiers took Jesus, took off all his clothes and put a red robe on him. They put a crown of thorns on his head. They made him hold a long green branch in his right hand. They made fun of Jesus, called him names and spit upon him. Then they took the long green branch and hit him on the head with it.

Matthew 27:28-30
Square of Red Felt

Egg 6: After the Roman soldiers had done all of these terrible things to Jesus, they took the robe off him and put his clothes back on him. Then they took him away to Calvary Hill. The soldiers lay Jesus on a wooden cross. They nailed his hands and feet to the cross.

Matthew 27:31-32
Toothpick Cross or Cross Charm or Tiny Nail

Egg 7: Jesus was on the cross. He prayed and asked Heavenly Father to forgive the Roman soldiers who crucified him because the soldiers did not know Jesus was the Savior. The soldiers took Jesus' clothes and played a game called "casting lots" to see who would win the clothes.

Luke 23:34-37
Pair of Dice

Egg 8: Jesus' mother and his disciples and friends were very sad. They loved Jesus very much. Jesus suffered on the cross for many hours. Then Jesus died. His spirit left his body. The sky was dark. There was a big earthquake. Rocks broke in pieces. The Roman soldiers were afraid.

Matthew 27:45-46, 50-54
Bag of crushed rock or potting soil

Egg 9: One of Jesus' disciples, named Joseph, took Jesus' body off the cross. He wrapped Jesus' body in a clean cloth and laid him in a tomb (a place where people are buried).

Matthew 27:57-59
Piece of White Cloth

Egg 10: After Joseph laid Jesus' body in the tomb, he rolled a big stone in front of the tomb so that Jesus' body would be safe.

Matthew 27:60

Egg 11: Jesus' body was in the tomb for 3 days. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with sweet spices.

Matthew 28:2 and Mark 16:1-9
Bay Leaf or Other Herb

Egg 12: When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary got to the tomb, the stone was rolled away from the door. They looked inside the tomb, but Jesus' body was not there. They saw an angel who said, "Jesus is not here, for He is risen as he said." Jesus was resurrected! His body and spirit had come together again. He was alive again! Jesus promised that we, too, will be resurrected like Him. This is a very special gift that Jesus gave to us.

Matthew 28:1-6
Empty Egg

Knowing Christ Better

"We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him; we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him. . . .What manner of men and women ought we to be? Even as he is."

--Howard W Hunter, "The Temptations of Christ", Ensign, November 1976, p. 19

The Gift of the Resurrection

"The Savior's Resurrection assures all of us that someday we, too, will follow Him and experience our own resurrection. What peace, what comfort this great gift is which comes through the loving grace of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind."

~M. Russell Ballard, "The Atonement and the Value of One Soul," Ensign, May 2004, 84

Happy Easter, blog readers! Please watch the movie The Bread of Life online (it is free and only about 10 minutes long) as a celebration of our Savior's great gift to us!!!