“Sharing Time: The Gift of Obedience,” Friend, Dec. 1996, 14
How could the Father tell the world
of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe,
with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world
the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men
on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world
of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us
and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us?
What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son,
help others on their way.
What does he ask?
Live like his Son.
(Children’s Songbook, pages 34–35.)
December is full of thoughts of gifts—gifts that you will receive and gifts that you will give.
Father in Heaven has given you great gifts—your life, your body, your agency, and many others. However, one of His gifts was so valuable and important that He asked you to remember it always. Heavenly Father gave the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that you might live with Him again (see John 3:16).
The Savior gave us the gift of His life. He spent His life teaching us how to live—how to love one another, how to forgive one another, and how to help one another. He then gave up His life so that we can be resurrected. He also suffered for our sins so that we might be forgiven. He is the greatest gift of all!
What gift could you give Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Your love and your willingness to obey the commandments are the only things you really can give. Everything else already belongs to the Lord.* When you give your love and obedience to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, you are filled with a spirit of happiness, joy, peace, and love.
This year remember Jesus Christ, and give the gift of obedience.
Instructions: Mount page 15 on heavier paper or posterboard, then carefully cut out the two strips. Glue or paste tab A to A and tab B to B, forming two picture tubes. Place the tube with the starry sky inside the tube with the tree and the building. As you turn the inside tube counterclockwise, you will see Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem for the birth of the Savior.
1. Explain that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ want us to be happy now and in the future. We will be happy when we keep the commandments. Discuss with the children how they feel when they keep the commandments and how they feel when they do not. Tell the story of Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah (see Mosiah 27:8–24, 32; Mosiah 28:1–4; and Alma 36:25–26). Give each child an envelope containing these phrases on separate slips of paper: “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and / will be the end thereof, if we / pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, / uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and / keeping all the commandments of God” (Joseph Smith, Teachings, pp. 255–256). Have each child place the phrases in order. Suggest that the children share this activity with their families.
2. Tell the children that Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another (see John 13:34–35). Ask how they can show love for each other. Explain that Jesus asks us to love our enemies as well (see Matt. 5:44). It is not always easy to love those who do not return our love. Ask a Primary teacher to read “Gold Heart,” part 1 (Friend, Sep. 1993, pp. 20–22). Read parts 2 and 3 (Friend, Oct. 1993, pp. 15–17, and Nov. 1993, pp. 20–22) over the next two weeks as a conclusion to each Sharing Time.
3. Prepare two sets of word strips. Write commandments on one set, and the blessings that come from keeping those commandments on the other set. Ask the children to name some of Heavenly Father’s commandments. As they do, place the previously prepared commandment word strips on the bulletin board or wall. Randomly place the blessing word strips on another wall. Explain that there are great blessings promised to those who keep the commandments (see D&C 130:20–21). Divide the children into groups. Give each group one or two scripture references. As they discover which commandment and promised blessing is discussed in each scripture, have them share it with the entire Primary, and place the blessing strip next to the appropriate commandment strip. Prepare a list of commandments and blessings for each child and suggest that they share this activity with their family: tithing (Mal. 3:10) / Blessings will be poured out upon you; forgive others (D&C 82:1) / The Lord will forgive you; remember Jesus (3 Ne. 18:7) / You will have His Spirit to be with you; baptism (Mark 16:16) / You shall be saved; obedience (Ex. 19:5) / You will be the Lord’s treasure; keep the commandments (Mosiah 2:41) / You will be blessed and happy; the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89:19–21) / You will have health, wisdom, knowledge; study the scriptures (JS—M 1:37) / You will not be deceived; keep the Sabbath day holy (D&C 59:9–10, 16) / The fulness of the earth will be yours.
4. Read carefully 1 Ne. 8. Prepare simple props and costumes to help the children dramatize Lehi’s dream of the tree of life. Explain that living the gospel each day helps us taste the fruit of the tree of life, which is the love of God. Help the children understand the meaning of each part of the dream and how it relates to their present lives.
5. Prepare a fishing pole with a magnet on the end of the line. Make a set of colored paper fish with a metal paper clip on each one. On the back of each fish, write questions and selections from the Children’s Songbook such as these: What helps make a family happy? (“A Happy Family,” p. 198); In whose way should we walk in order to be happy? (“I Will Follow God’s Plan,” p. 164); When we help others, it makes us ? (“When We’re Helping,” p. 198); When we ? , it helps us to be happy? (“Choose the Right Way,” p. 160); When I come to church, I can have ? (“When I Go to Church,” p. 157); I can do and say what kind of things each day? (“I Am like a Star,” p. 163); There is a special gift that brings happiness. What is it? (“A Special Gift Is Kindness,” p. 145). As the children use the pole to “catch” a fish, ask the question written on the back of it. Then invite them to sing the song and find the answer.
6. Invite several families with Primary-age children to share how they remember Jesus during the month of December. Encourage the families to bring items the children can look at and possibly handle.
7. For stories and additional Sharing Time help on finding happiness through choosing to live the gospel, please see “Peace in Obedience,” Friend, Apr. 1994, IFC, and “The Choice,” Friend, July 1994, pp. 8–10.