The smiling Jesus in the cathedral at Pisa is a surprising contrast to the images of the tortured and suffering Savior depicted in much of medieval art. This beautiful mosaic is in the apse of the cathedral which was started in 1063.
Christ, having overcome all, even death, reigns as the risen Lord and invites everyone to follow Him. At Easter we consider His perfect life, ministry and supreme sacrifice; He purchased mankind with His blood so we could return with Him as a gift to the Father (who gave us the gift of His Son and the promise of Eternal Life) to dwell with them in their kingdom; a perfect economy wherein nothing is lost and all are saved.
Spring, with its fluffy baby animals, green buds and beautiful blossoms remind us of the renewal of life. Here are some fun and sweet ways to teach children about the miracle of Jesus and Easter.
The Miraculous Atonement of Jesus Christ
The First Easter
All of Creation testifies of Jesus Christ. From the starry expanse of the midnight sky to the countless sands of tropical beaches; God’s fingerprint can be found in the spiral of pinecones, beautiful colored flowers, the chambered nautilus; the order and beauty of His creation sing of his majesty.
A long time ago, we lived with in a glorious heavenly home with our eternal Heavenly parents. We were eager to be like them. Heavenly Father created a plan for us to become as He is. We would come to an earth to gain a physical body and be tested to show we could live His way. We needed to be obedient to His commandments and when we became perfected we could go back and live with Heavenly Father. We would be like Him when we learned to obey all of His commandments. But we would fail and require assistance; someone to pay the price for our mistakes and when we died, help us to be resurrected. He would be our Savior and Redeemer.
Jehovah, our older brother in the home of our spirits, said He would do this for us. He would show us how to be righteous and prepare for eternal life. He would atone for our sins when we erred, repented and sought His help. He would have a physical body, live, die and be resurrected so we could have the power to be resurrected through Him. Heavenly Father had Jehovah create an earth for us. He created the sun, moon and stars; He put plants and animals on the earth. We came to live on the earth. Heavenly Father sent prophets to teach us about His plan for our happiness. The prophets taught us about Heavenly Father, His commandments and Jesus Christ. Jehovah would be Jesus Christ and our Savior.
If you compare yourself to a computer, you can begin to understand the Plan of Salvation a little better. In the beginning you were programmed by Heavenly Father. You were given all the information you needed to be like Him. At birth that program was closed and you were given a body with a new hard drive; ready to be filled with information and experiences. As you grew your parents formatted your program. You gained information and experience that became part of your programming; both good and bad. When you turned eight, and were able and accountable to make choices for yourself, you could be baptized and given the Holy Ghost. The prophets have given us the scriptures to be an owner’s manual, to help us make choices.
Wise choices, like keeping the commandments and being baptized fill us with valuable and important data. Bad choices or committing sins are like viruses in your computer. They cause problems, create corrupt or false information and can make your computer crash. Satan tries to put worms, viruses or bad programs in your system so he can take control of your life and destroy you. When we repent or seek help, Jesus’ atonement removes the virus or worm, cleans the program and resets you so you can function properly. When your computer is turned off, or you die, you cannot restart it again.
When Jesus was resurrected he activated a restart or reboot program for Himself and everyone else that ever lived. That is why we can all be resurrected or alive again through Jesus Christ. When we return to Heavenly Father, He and we will see the information and experience in our program. Some of it will be very valuable and make us happy. Repentance removes all the bad or worthless data. Heavenly Father and we won’t have to see it again because it is gone. Jesus paid the price for us to clean our program, reboot our computer and run forever in a happy and perfect world with our Heavenly family.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the angels sang for joy. He lived in a family and grew to manhood. He helped, taught and healed others and showed us how to live and be happy. The Bible tells us many stories of Jesus’ life. How he loved children and taught people to be kind and forgiving and keep God’s commandments. You can learn what He did by reading the scriptures.
Wicked leaders did not like Jesus, they were afraid people would follow Him and not listen to them and they would loose their power. They wanted to kill Him. During His last week, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. The Jews celebrated the Passover to remind them how God had saved them and delivered them from Egypt during the time of Moses.
As Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, a great crowd of people went out to meet Him. They waved palm leaves and myrtle and laid robes on the ground for their king. They knew He was the Savior. Jesus rode a young donkey; a symbol of a peaceful king of the Jews, just as the prophet said He would. He told His apostles that He would soon die to pay the price for peoples’ sins.
Jesus went to the temple every day the last week of his life. He cleared the temple of corrupt money changing and merchandising. He healed many people. He taught the first great commandment; to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We need to serve Him and keep all of His commandments; also to love our neighbor and help them.
Jesus told Peter to find a man carrying a pitcher of water. Peter was to follow him to a house where the Passover supper would be ready in an upper room. Jesus invited the apostles to the supper. He washed their feet; teaching them to serve one another. Jesus and the Apostles (witnesses) ate the Passover dinner. After dinner, He gave them the first sacrament. He told them; with the bread to remember His body and with the grape drink; to remember His blood; which was shed for them. They should always remember Him and Heavenly Father would bless them. He taught them to love each other as perfectly as He loved them
One of the apostles would betray Jesus. Judas Iscariot let Satan have power over him. He left and told the wicked men where to find Jesus so they could arrest Him. They paid him 30 pieces of silver. Another apostle was told, before the cock (rooster) crowed three times, he would deny knowing Jesus. After counseling the apostles, Jesus gave them with the promise of peace.
Jesus and the apostles went into the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked the apostles to pray for Him. He went to a place to be pray alone. He asked Heavenly Father to strengthen Him and to forgive the sins of the people who repented and believed in Him. Jesus was sad for the sins of all the people in the world. He began to feel sorrow and pain. He hurt so much that blood came from His skin. The apostles fell asleep. An angel came from Heaven to strengthen Him. Jesus finished praying. He had suffered and paid for the sins of all people.
The wicked men entered the garden and arrested Jesus. Peter wanted to protect Him. He drew out a sword and cut off the ear of one of the men’s servants. Jesus immediately healed him. Jesus was led away and given several false trials. One leader said “I find in him no fault at all,” but he allowed the people to put Jesus to death and washed his hands to show he was not responsible. He turned Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified.
The Roman soldiers beat Him with a braided whip with sharp pieces of metal in it. They placed a crown of thorns on His head. They put a sign on a cross that said “King of the Jews. ”They nailed Him to the cross and crucified Him. As he hung on the cross, they gambled for His robe. Jesus asked Heavenly Father to forgive them. Jesus suffered for many hours; the sky grew dark. He prayed, “Father, into Thy hands, I commend my spirit, ” and died. There was a great earthquake. One of the soldiers said, “The God of nature suffers.” The veil in the temple that shielded the holiest area was torn. A soldier drove a spear into Jesus’ side to make sure he was dead. The disciples took Jesus body and carefully placed it in a tomb. A large rock was set to seal the tomb where Jesus’ body stayed for 3 days.
On Sunday morning, two angels came and rolled the stone away. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw that it was empty. She ran to tell the apostles. Peter and John ran to the tomb. They looked inside and saw the burial cloth and went home. Mary stayed nearby, crying. She looked inside and saw the angels. They asked why she was crying, saying, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? ”She did not understand. She turned around and saw a man standing nearby. He asked why she was crying. She thought he was a gardener; then He said, ”Mary.” She knew it was Jesus and that he was alive. He asked her to tell the apostles that He was resurrected.
Later, Jesus visited the apostles. He let them feel the nail prints in his hands and feet. He ate dinner with them. Other righteous people were resurrected and seen by people in the city. Jesus taught the apostles how to lead His church. He would go back to heaven, but the Holy Ghost would help them. They taught people the gospel and healed them.
The history of the first Easter was a beautiful story. People have celebrated the atonement and resurrection of Jesus for almost 2,000 years. The day of the Easter holiday changes every year. It falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal (Spring) Equinox on March 21st (as determined by the Nicene Council in 325 A.D.)
Easter is a very important holiday. Today we celebrate by going to church, singing songs about the Savior’s resurrection and triumph over sin and death. We remember to share and be kind to others.
Print several of these pages. Cut them apart and reassemble them in different orders to make pages with 4 images across and 4 down. Play 4-In-A-Row like bingo. Use candy, buttons or other small objects to mark the pictures as the story is read. The first person to get 4 in a row wins.
Mark 11 : 7 – 11
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
Matthew 21 :12 – 13
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Luke 22 : 10
10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
Luke 22 : 11 – 12
11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
Matthew 26 : 26 – 29
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
John 13 : 3 – 5
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Matthew 26 : 14 – 16
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
John 18 : 1
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Luke 22 : 50 – 51
50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Luke 22 : 54 – 62
54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan.
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Mark 15 : 15
15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
Matthew 27 : 24
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
John 19 : 23 – 24
3 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
Luke 23 : 38
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Matt 28 : 2
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
EASTER STORY EGGS
This sweet little activity teaches small children about the miracle of Easter. A basket is filled with colored plastic Easter eggs containing scripture verses and objects that represent Christ’s experience.
You will need
12 medium to large plastic Easter eggs that open and the objects below.
With a fine point permanent marker write the numbers 1 – 12 on the ends of the plastic eggs. Copy and cut apart the scriptures of the Easter story and place in the numbered eggs with the following:
1. A small cup or wooden thimble (from craft store)
2. Three dimes
3. A 4″ piece of twine
4. A small piece of soap
5. A small robe cut from red felt
6. A small wooden cross or brown card stock cross
7. Two dice
8. A small square of white fabric torn almost in half
9. A square of white fabric
10. A small stone
11. A few cloves, a piece of cinnamon stick, bay leaf
12. Nothing – this represents the empty tomb
Have the children open the eggs in order to read the Easter story.
Tell the story about the sacrament of the Last Supper and Christ’s night in Gethsemane, how he paid the price for all of mankind’s sins if they repented and that they might be able to return to heaven and live with the Father . The following scripture verses are taken from the New Testament in the Holy Bible.
1. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:42 – 43)
2. Zechariah, a prophet of the Old Testament foretold that Christ would be ransomed or betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. ” (Matthew 26: 14 – 15)
3. “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. (Matthew 27: 1 -2)
4. “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. (Matthew 27: 24)
5. “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.” (Matthew 27: 28 – 30)
6. “And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.” (Matthew 27: 31 – 32.)
7. “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” (Matthew 27: 35)
8. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27: 50, 51, 54)
9. “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth” (Matthew 27; 58 – 60)
10. “And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matthew 27: 60, 65, 66)
11. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow…Andthe angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (Mark 16: 1, Matthew 28: 2 – 5)
And so we celebrate the joy of eternal life with our loved ones every Easter. Here are a few more ideas to make the holiday fun for your children.
This easy-to-make treat for you published in multiple media sites. The instructions and recipe are on these great newspaper websites:
Deseret News in Utah:
Deseret News Service nationwide:
News OK Syndicate in Oklahoma:
Herald Times in Indiana:
Aberdeen News in South Dakota
Daily American in Pennsylvania:
The Coastal Courier in Georgia:
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal in California:
The Chronicle Independent in South Carolina:
The Reporter Times in Indiana:
Imperial Valley Press in California:
Our Town, Johnstown Pennsylvania:
GRILLED ROSEMARY DIJON LAMB
This barbecued lamb is tender and delicious, even those who don’t like lamb may enjoy it. In a small bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed or 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
In plastic bag, place marinade and4 lamb loin chops. Squeeze out air, seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 – 4 hours. To barbecue, drain marinade and dry chops, cook on oiled grill over medium high heat 7 – 10 minutes per side until done to your liking.
EASTER CELEBRATIONS WITH CHILDREN
EASTER EGG HUNT
One of the highlights of spring for children! They enjoy decorating eggs for the Easter Bunny to hide. At some houses the bunny hides the basket too. We have our hunt on Saturday to focus on the Savior on the Sabbath. There are all sorts of yummy candies on the market for Easter. If you want to cut the sugar; dried fruit, nuts, small crackers and natural treats are a good alternative. And money – kids like money.
For perfect hard-boiled eggs:
Allow the eggs to come to room temperature
Place eggs in a single layer in a pot
Add cold water to two inches above eggs
Set stove on high heat, boil one minute, cover, turn off heat and let sit for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove one egg, run it under cool water and peel to test for doneness.
Pour off cooking water; cover eggs with cool water.
Drain and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
TO COLOR BOILED EGGS
An easy, inexpensive dye can be made from food coloring, water and white vinegar.
For each pot of dye place in a container (the taller and narrower the better)
1 C warm water
1 TBSP white vinegar
a few drops of food coloring
Place colored eggs in cardboard egg cartons to dry. For variations: draw on dry eggs with markers, add stickers and stars.
FOR MARBLEIZED EGGS
Dye eggs using the above method.
Place 1/2″ to 3/4″ of a dye mixture in the bottom of a shallow bowl.
Start with 1 teaspoon, and add 1 to 3 teaspoons of canola, olive or vegetable oil to the dye. The base color will show through more with a larger amount of oil
Gently place an egg in the bowl. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle a few drops of dye over the egg to make a marbleized effect. Food coloring dyes the egg quickly. Using more oil in the dye bath will keep it from seeping into the egg too fast. Remove egg, place on a paper towel to dry. Wipe egg carefully. Avoid contact with furniture or other fabric.
1 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon flavoring
Set aside. In another bowl sift together
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until a smooth dough is formed.
Add 1 – 2 tsp water if necessary. Wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Roll
out fough on floured surface to 1/2 ” thick. Cut with cookie cutters, place on
lightly-greased cookie sheets. bake at 400 6- 8 minutes, until golden around
the edges. Cool on pan 5 minutes, then remove to a cookie rack. Frost with
Lemon Buttercream Frosting.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1 C butter, softened
1 tsp lemon flavoring
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 – 3 tBSP milk
Divide and add food coloring as desired (we used neon for the cookies in the photo). These are so delicious and can be baked ahead and frozen.
EASTER BASKET GOODIES
GIVE THE EASTER BUNNY THE HEADS UP ON THINGS YOUR CHILDREN ENJOY!
Glow-in-the-dark Silly Putty Eggs or scented putty in tins
Handmade bunnies, pompom chicks and ducks
German paper mache eggs containing small cars, dolls, and animals
Money egg: fold up a $5 or larger bill, put it in a special egg
Tickets to a movie, concert or play
Fruit Snacks, Goldfish crackers
Jars of jam
Nuts, Jordan almonds
Ribbon, Cute shoelaces
A key to ?
A gift certificate for an ebook; hobby or skill lessons
Balls, Slinky, Yo-yo
China teacups and saucers
Peter Rabbit or Bunnykin dishes
Dissolving capsules with creatures or animals
Folding paper fan, origami animals
Paper dolls, Jacks
Lip balm, makeup, fancy soap
Crayons, pencils, markers, paints and brushes
Fast food gift certificates
Finger puppets from foreign countries
Flower and vegetable seed packets for the garden
Sewing cards made with vintage images, cardstock and yarn
Chinese jump rope, small puzzles
Action figures – especially prophets and sisters (available at LDS bookstores)
Is the Easter Bunny at your house looking for easy inexpensive gifts to fill the baskets? Here’s a cute and easy project:
You will need:
2 twelve inch scrapbook papers
2 plain white 8.5″ x 11″ papers for each booklet
miniature colored pencils (shown from Michael’s Crafts)
gluestick or glue
grommets, punch and setter or sewing machine
twine or ribbon
Attach the scrapbook papers together with right sides out using the adhesive.
Cut into 4″ x 12″ strips. Decide which will be the outside, lay the paper with the outside down. Fold 2” of the bottom edge up toward the center and crease. Punch holes and use grommets in the corners or stitch to make a pocket.
Bring the top edge down to the bottom fold and crease the center, it should be 5″‘ x 4″ . Set aside the cover.
Fold the white paper lengthwise into 4.25″ x 11″. Cut into three strips 4.25″ x 3.66″ Stack the six sheets and punch holes on the crease, about an inch in from each edge.
Lay the white papers on the cover, center them and punch matching holes in the cover. Tie together with twine or ribbon.
Tuck pencils into pocket and give to darling little people.
Red licorice laces
Froot Loops cereal
Marshmallow peeps; bunnies and chicks
Use a bamboo skewer to poke a hole sideways through the peeps. Have the children thread the Froot Loops and lifesavers onto the licorice, add a peep and more lifesavers and cereal. Use a small piece of duct tape to close ends.
For more colorful and happy ideas visit my Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/pammcmurtry/a-spring-holiday/
And since shopping is a challenge again this year – be sure to order your Easter things early! Many of your favorite retailers will deliver to your home.
Also, visit Hilltop Farm, the home of Peter Rabbit https://pamm4.sg-host.com/2019/01/beatrix-potters-menagerie-a-trip-to-hilltop-farm.html