Here's what you do:

1. Email Nancy if you would like to be a contributor.

2. Share a Family Home Evening lesson idea. It can be about any gospel principle or topic.

3. It is not necessary, but you can also include a song, scripture, activity, and treat that go along with the lesson.

4. Add a label to your post including the "age range" your lesson applies to and the "gospel principle" you are teaching.

5. Email Nancy if you have any questions, comments, or ideas for this blog.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Symbols

I have heard this story many times and found it on Christ Centered Christmas today. Check out their site for lots of other great ideas!

Late one Christmas Eve I sank into my easy chair. Admiring the tree with it’s decorations, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing… The kids were in bed the gifts were all wrapped: the milk and cookies were in their place for Santa. It wasn’t long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me into a deep sleep.

I don’t know how long I slept, but all of a sudden I opened my eyes and there stood Santa Claus himself next to my Christmas Tree.

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him. But he was not the “jolly old elf” of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed with tears in his eyes.

I had to ask, “Santa, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“It’s the children” Santa replied sadly.

“but the children love you.” I said.

“Oh I know they love me and the gifts I bring them,” Santa said. “But the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit of Christmas. It’s not their fault. It just that the adults, many of them not having been taught themselves, have forgotten to teach the children.”

“Teach them what?” I asked.

Santa’s kind old face became soft and gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. “Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them that the parts of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch are much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas we now observe. Teach them what it is that they truly represent.”

Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set it on the fireplace mantle. “teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen with its unchanging color represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heaven ward as a reminder that man’s thoughts should turn heaven ward as well.”

--sing “I lived in Heaven”

Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. “The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises and that the wise will still seek Him.”

--Sing, “Stars were Gleaming”

“Red,” said Santa “is the first color of Christmas.” He pulled forth a red ornament for the tiny tree. “Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God’s greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave His life and shed his blood for them that they might have eternal life. When they see the color red it should remind them of that most wonderful gift.”

--Sing “Did Jesus really live again”

Santa found a bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. “Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to follow the true Shepherd who gave h is life for the sheep.”

--Sing “Christmas Bells”

Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its one tiny flame brightened the room. “The glow of the candle represents how man can show his thanks for the gift of God’s Son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ’s footsteps. . . to go about doing good. Teach them to let their lights shine before men that all may see it and glorify God. This is what is symbolized when the twinkling lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright, shining candles, each of them representing one of God’s precious children, their light shining for all to see.

--Sing “I am trying to be like Jesus”

Again, Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped candy cane. As he hung it on the tree, He spoke softly, “The candy cane is a stick of hard red and white candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. The shape J to represent the precious name of Jesus who came to earth as our Savior. It also represents the crook of the Good Shepherd, which he uses to reach down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs that, like sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small red stripes which are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed and a large red stripe that represents the shedding of blood of Jesus so that we can have eternal life. Teach these things to the children”

--Sing “The Shepherds Carol”

Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh fragrant greenery and tied with a bright red bow. “The bow reminds us that the bond of perfection which is love. The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors red and green and the heaven turned needles of the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice. Even the wreath’s very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ’s love. It is a circle without beginning and without end. These are the things you must teach the children.”

--Sing “Families can be together forever”

“But where does that leave you Santa?” I asked. The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa’s face. “Why, bless you, my dear,” he laughed. “ I, too am only a symbol. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I’ll ever be forgotten.”

“I think I’m beginning to understand at last, “ I replied.

“That’s why I came” said Santa, “You’re an adult. If you don’t teach the children these things, then who will?”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I will show faith in Jesus Christ by being baptized and confirmed

2nd Ward Primary FHE idea

Song: “The Fourth Article of Faith” CS,#124

Scripture: 3 Nephi 27:20

Thought: Baptism and the Name of Christ 
(piggy backed off of an idea that I found on another FHE website that I can't remember the name of now)

Tell your family members that there are two pieces of paper hidden in the room that belong to them. Have each family member hunt for the two papers that belong to him. 

*For younger children: make the first-name slips of different colored paper and the last-name slips of one color, or write each child's name in a different color for the first name and in the same color for all of the last names. 

Hide the papers, and help your children find their own by telling them the color or colors they are looking for. 

After all have found their names, explain that they had to search until they found the only paper with their first name, but they could take the first paper they found with their last name. Their first names belong to them individually, but their last name belongs to everyone in the family and shows they are a member of the family. Talk about how important your family name is, how proud you are of your name. If you know any historical or special facts about how your family name came to be, use them. 

Try to develop a feeling of love and pride for your family and family name. Explain that your family stands for certain things. Ask your children what some of these are. You might get answers such as we believe in the gospel, we are honest, or we try to be friendly. Tell your children that what they do reflects back on your family. Each of us have the responsibility to help make our family name respected. 

Point out that just as we were born into our family when we came to earth, we are born into another family when we are baptized. At baptism we become members of Jesus' church or members of his family. We make a covenant with Heavenly Father to take upon us the name of Christ. Let the children tell you what they know. Make sure they realize that Heavenly Father wants each of us to be baptized. Tell them we need to do the right things to be ready for baptism and that we promise Heavenly Father and Jesus to keep the commandments after baptism. This means that we act in the way Jesus would have us act. When we do this we are showing we love Jesus. You might want to tell them about the day you were baptized, or let an older child describe his baptism.

General Authority Message: Robert D. Hales, “Special Witness: Baptism,” Friend, 
Jan 2003, insert

At baptism we make a covenant with our Heavenly Father that we are willing to come into His kingdom and keep His commandments from that time forward, even though we still live in the world.

Entering into the kingdom of God is so important that Jesus was baptized to show us “the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which [we] should enter” (2 Ne. 31:9). “Notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments” (2 Ne. 31:7).

He set the example for all of us to humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father. We are all welcome to come into the waters of baptism. He was baptized to witness to His Father that He would be obedient in keeping His commandments. He was baptized to show us that we should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see 2 Ne. 31:4–9).

When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life.

Each week in sacrament meeting we promise to remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior as we renew our baptismal covenant. We promise to do as the Savior did—to be obedient to the Father and always keep His commandments. The blessing we receive in return is to always have His Spirit to be with us.

I feel great gratitude for my baptism and confirmation into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful for the spiritual strength and guidance the gift of the Holy Ghost has given me throughout my life.

Song: “Baptism”, CS #100

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Because I know we are all children of God, I will share the gospel with others

Salt Lake University 2nd Ward FHE idea

Song: “Called to Serve” CS,#174

Scripture: D&C 71:1

Thought: Sydney S. Reynolds, “Sharing Time: Let Your Light Shine,” Friend, Oct 1999, 37

Have a large world map or a globe available. Have your children choose a place where they might someday serve a mission. Ask what they might need to learn about their mission locales? What preparations might they need to make to serve a mission anywhere? (learn another language, to cook, to work hard, to talk to people, to be kind, to sew a button and mend a rip, to wash clothes, to lead music, to conduct a meeting, to offer prayers, to tell the Joseph Smith story, to know what we believe [the Articles of Faith], to know the Book of Mormon, to bear testimony). Let each child choose a few things they think will be important and present one to the rest of the family by pantomime, reciting, singing a song, role-playing, etc. (Allow each person a couple of minutes). When the children have finished talk about things we all should be doing every day to be good examples and to share our testimonies and invite friends to Church meetings and activities. The July 2008 Friend has a great resource for this.  Share your feelings about the missionary work we do by example and calling.

General Authority Message: President Hinckley
I am optimistic concerning the work of the Lord. I realize, of course, that we are beset in the world with many tragic problems. I have been in areas where war rages and hate smolders in the hearts of people. I have watched with alarm the crumbling morals of our society. And yet I am optimistic. I have a simple and solemn faith that right will triumph and that truth will prevail. 

When I left for a mission years ago, my good father handed me a card on which were written five words: “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). I believe in the triumph of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the triumph of the Church and kingdom of God on the earth. The Lord declared that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached … for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). Can it possibly be accomplished? I remember an insight that suggested how it can happen. I met a woman in South America who had just joined the Church. Fired by a great love for that which she had found, she had gone about enthusiastically telling others. During a period of only seven months since her baptism, she had referred 300 acquaintances to the missionaries. At one point, 60 had come into the Church.

Yes, this work requires sacrifice, it requires effort, it requires courage to speak out and faith to try. As Paul wrote to Timothy: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:7–8).

I wish that every member of this Church would put those words where he might see them every morning as he begins his day. They would give us the courage to speak up; they would give us the faith to try; they would strengthen our conviction of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that more miracles would happen over the earth. I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that this is Their holy work.

Song: “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission”, CS #169

The Temple is a Blessing for Me and My Family.

Salt Lake University 2nd Ward June Family Home Evening

Song: “Families Can Be Together Forever”, CS #188

Scripture: D&C 124:40

Thought: adapted from The Friend July 2004, 37.

To help children learn about the ordinances and blessings of the temple, cut a picture of a temple into four puzzle pieces. You can easily print off a temple picture picture from Label each piece with the following scripture references and songs:

(1) Baptism for the dead—D&C 127:6–7, “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” 
(p. 102, second verse),
(2) Confirmation—D&C 20:41, “I Like My Birthdays” (p. 104, third verse),
(3) Endowment—D&C 105:12, “I Love to See the Temple” (p. 95),
(4) Marriage and Sealing—D&C 132:46, “Families Can Be Together Forever” (p. 188).

Using two people, have one stand outside the room while another hides the first puzzle piece. Have the first person come back in and look for the puzzle piece as the family gives clues by singing the suggested song more loudly as the person gets closer to the puzzle piece and more softly as he or she moves farther away. Stick the puzzle piece on the wall. Read the scripture references and discuss the ordinance. For younger children you may want a picture to illustrate the ordinance. Choose more family members to repeat the process.

General Authority Message: Special Witness: Elder Russell M. Nelson Friend, April 2008, 22.

I’m not old enough to go to the temple. What can I learn about it?
A temple is literally the house of the Lord, reserved for ordinances of eternal significance. Those ordinances include baptisms, marriages, endowments, and sealings. The temple is closed on the Sabbath so that people can attend church and be with their families on that hallowed day. We must qualify for admission to the temple. We prepare physically, intellectually, and spiritually. In the temple, all are dressed in spotless white. Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life—the greatest gift of God to man.

President Henry B. Eyring, Special Witness of Christ Video segment “I Love to See the Temple”

Song: “I Love to See the Temple”, CS #95

Heavenly Father Planned For Me To Come To A Family.

May Family Home Evening

Song: “Love Is Spoken Here”, CS #191

Scripture: 3 Nephi 22:13

Thought: adapted from Margaret Lifferth, “Sharing Time: My Family Can Be Forever,” Friend, Apr 2005, 13.

We can strengthen our family in the gospel in our homes. The family will move from room to room for brief activities. Help the child or children to lead or teach at a station as much as possible.

In the living room 

Older Children: Lead children on a scripture chase Include the following scriptures: D&C 19:38 (praying), D&C 1:37 (reading scriptures), John 14:15 (keeping the commandments), Ex. 20:12 (honoring parents), D&C 119 (paying tithing), and D&C 59:9 (attending meetings).

Younger Children: Conduct a similar activity—instead of using scriptures, ask the children to identify the principles as shown in pictures from the GAK.

In the kitchen have the children make a simple sack puppet (see TNGC,176–77). Show pictures of various foods and substances. Have the children open the puppet’s mouth if the food or substance shown is good for them and close the puppet’s mouth if it is not.

In the bedroom review with the children how to pray with the second verse of “I Pray in Faith” (p. 14) or by discussing the Lord’s Prayer (see Matt. 6:9–13). Help the children make cutouts of the sun and moon to remind them to pray morning and night.

General Authority Message: Special Witness: Pres. Ezra Taft Benson Friend, May 2001, inside front cover
The family unit is forever, and you should do everything in your power to strengthen that unit. In your own family, encourage family home evenings and be an active participant. Encourage family prayer and be on your knees with your family in that sacred circle. Do your part to develop real family unity and solidarity. …

Your most important friendships should be with your own brothers and sisters and with your father and mother. Love your family. Be loyal to them. Have a genuine concern for your brothers and sisters.

Remember, the family is one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day. Help keep your family strong and close and worthy of our Father in Heaven’s blessings. As you do, you will receive faith and strength which will bless your lives forever.

Next, … participate in a program of daily reading and pondering of the scriptures. …
Of the four great standard works of the Church … I would particularly urge you to read again and again the Book of Mormon and ponder and apply its teachings. The Book of Mormon was referred to by the Prophet Joseph Smith as “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (History of the Church, vol. 4, page 461).

Young [people], the Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring a spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life.

Song: “Seek the Lord Early”, CS #108

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My son Ethan has the Worlds BEST Sunbeams Teacher! I'm not kidding.

On her blog I found a really cool website that offers all sorts of ideas for Activity days, Relief Society, Primary, nursery....and others.

Check it out.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Will Follow The Prophet

University 2nd Ward Primary April FHE idea

Song: “Follow The Prophet” (CS #110 verse 9)

Scripture: Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. (D&C 21:4-5)

Thought: What is a prophet? A prophet is a man called by God to be his representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking. A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. He calls the unrighteous to repentance. He receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. He may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned.

A prophet may come from various stations in life. He may be young or old, highly educated or unschooled. He may be a farmer, a lawyer, or a teacher. Ancient prophets wore tunics and carried staffs. Modern prophets wear suits and carry briefcases. What, then, identifies a true prophet? A true prophet is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority.

Latter-day Saints sustain the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets. However, when we speak of “the prophet of the Church,” we mean the President of the Church, who is President of the high priesthood.

Through the Ages the Lord has called prophets to lead mankind: Who am I?

He has taught us to remember the one who neeeds help and pattern our lives after the life of Jesus Christ. 

He taught that those who keep the word of wisdom will receive health, wisdom, and knowledge. 

He taught the people that if they loved and served one another, they would prosper in the land and be blessed.

He taught the people that if they were baptized and kept their covenants, the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon them to teach and guide them.

The first prophet, he taught his children to pray and promised that if they did, they would be guided by the spirit of inspiration. 

He warned the people that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed in flood. 

General Authority Message: 
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 
Give heed unto the Prophet’s Words, General Conference April 2008

Throughout history, a loving Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the head of the Church, have blessed us with prophets who counsel and warn about future dangers. In Doctrine and Covenants, section 21, speaking specifically of the prophet, the Lord declares:
“Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”

Song: “We Thank Thee O God, For a Prophet” (Hymns #19)