Purpose: To help each member of the family focus on the Savior this Easter and remember that through the resurrection, we can return to our bodies and live forever. Jesus Christ gave us great gifts that no one else could give us. The Family Home Evening Resource manual states:
“Religious holidays provide parents with some very natural teaching moments when they can share with their children those feelings and experiences that will bind them to each other and to the gospel throughout their lives…We need to find ways to celebrate Easter that are meaningful and that help them grow in love and appreciation for the Savior.”
Possible scriptures:Any in Matthew 21-28, Mark 11, 14-16, Luke 19-20, 22-24, or John 12-13, 18-20 (clearly, there is more to the last week of the savior’s life, but these scriptures cover the events); Guide to the scriptures on the Atonement; 1 Ne. 11:32–33; 2 Ne. 2:7; 2 Nephi 9:6–26; Alma 7:11–13; Alma 11:41–45; Alma 40–41; Doctrine & Covenants 19:16–19; 1 Corinthians 15; Article of Faith #3
Possible Materials: An Easter basket filled with eggs and bunnies, with an empty egg for each member of the family. Gospel Art pictures (or any other pictures of your choosing) involving the Savior’s last week; including the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, Christ in Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and Christ as a resurrected being.
Preparation: Begin with prayer. Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources. Address this lesson with enthusiasm and gratitude.
Children: Think about what Easter is all about. Fill an Easter basket with your favorite things about Easter, then gather enough empty eggs for each member of your family. Then watch the videos about the week of Jesus’ death, including the triumphal entry, the Last Supper, Christ in Gethsemane, Christ on trial, Christ being crucified, and Christ risen again [Note to parents: for younger attention spans, pick the videos you deem most appropriate for your child].
Introduction: Pull out an Easter basket filled with commercial Easter items. Hand the family each an empty egg and ask them to find something that fits in the egg that makes them think about Easter. Make suggestions throughout about new birth and spring flowers starting to grow, or about bunnies and candy. The idea is to understand that each of these things has a place, but that they are not the purpose of Easter. When the family has regrouped, start with the youngest member of your family and ask each person what they found. Each selection is good, because it brings happy memories, even if it doesn’t focus on the Savior.
Discussion: Ask the family why we celebrate at Easter time. The responses will turn towards focusing on Jesus, but get the family to think even deeper. Emphasize the word Celebrate. Easter is about Jesus’ death and all of the pain and agony he felt. Why, then, do we celebrate?
We celebrate Easter because Easter is about Jesus’ final triumph in that he overcame death, both spiritual and physical. Easter is Christ’s final victory! We celebrate Easter because of the Atonement! Explain to the family that the Atonement has two parts: the first part is when Christ suffered for the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane. The second part came when he was resurrected after he died on the cross. Both sin and death are part of the mortal experiences we came to earth for; both were part of the plan for us to learn and progress. But both, without the atonement, would keep us stuck and unable to return back to Heavenly Father.
From the New Testament: Read the scriptures involving the last week of the saviors life listed in the suggested scriptures. Or read any of the following summarizations:
· Easter Week from the April 2013 Ensign
· Easter Week from the April 2011 Friend
· Easter Footsteps from April 2012 Friend
Activity: Many people find it convenient to explore the last week of the savior through another Easter egg hunt. I discuss a few of my favorite examples on my blog.
Further discussion: Read the following statement from the Family Home Evening Resource Manual. It sums up the entire lesson in 2 lines. Then talk about the importance the atonement has in your life.
“Without the Atonement, it wouldn’t matter how good we tried to be; we would not be able to return to our Heavenly Father or regain our bodies. We would all be lost.”
Challenge: Challenge your family to memorize the 3rdArticle of Faith as they celebrate Easter this week.
Resources: Behold Your Little Ones lesson 29;Sunbeams Manual Lesson 45; Come, Follow Me lessons on the Atonement; Family Home Evening Resource Book lesson 36; Easter Weekfrom the April 2013 Ensign; Institute manual on The Life And Teachings Of Jesus Christ, section 5; Easter Weekfrom the April 2011 Friend