ideas about preparing and celebrating
Christmas, consider using the four weeks of Advent to study Matthew 1‒2, Luke
1‒2, and the Book of Mormon prophecies about the coming of Jesus such as 1
Nephi 11, Mosiah 3, Alma 7, Helaman 13, and 3 Nephi 1. Also see my Advent and Christmas posts starting with Preparing for Christmas.
Between Christmas and two
weeks before Easter, consider reading one of the accounts of Jesus’ ministry
(Mark 1‒8; Matthew 3‒20; Luke 3‒18; John 1‒10). In the weeks before Palm
Sunday, start decorating the home with spring flowers, prints of art depicting
the ministry of Jesus, and renew your dedication to your personal prayer life,
scripture study, and service to others.
Decorate the home
further for the week before Easter, filling it with fresh flowers and potted
plants and putting up Christ-centered art that matches the events of each day
in Jesus’ last week.
Some families may even want
to borrow from the model provided by the Christmas-season Advent Wreath, which
is an evergreen wreath with four candles. Each Sunday in the four weeks before
Christmas a new candle is lit and a family Christmas devotional is held by its
light. Perhaps starting with Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday, they
can set up an “Easter wreath,” a flowery wreath with three large candles: a
purple one representing that Christ is our king, which can be lit starting on
Palm Sunday; a red one representing that he is our priest, added starting on
Spy Wednesday; and a white candle, lit Easter morning, that proclaims that
Christ came forth alive from the tomb with healing in his week.
Those who want to prepare ahead of time for Holy Week can use the following pages as guides:
Studying pertinent scriptural passages individually,
reading and discussing them with our families and friends, and making other
intentional efforts can prepare us for a truly rich experience as we prepare to
commemorate Holy Week. Like Bartimaeus, our eyes can be fully opened so that
we, seeing Jesus for who he is and understanding better what he has done for
us, can join with him on a scriptural journey to Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the
Garden Tomb. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles since 1994, has taught, “As we approach this holy week—Passover
Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may
we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only
in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely
and when our cross is difficult to bear” (“None
Were with Him,” Ensign [May 2009]: 8).
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