“Sharing Time: I Shouted for Joy!” Friend, Feb. 1999, 46
“Hurray!” we cried. “Hurray!” We shouted for joy! Have you ever been so happy in a meeting that you wanted to shout for joy? Did you know that you attended a very big meeting before you were born? It was called the Council in Heaven. All of Heavenly Father’s spirit children were there. Jesus Christ was there, and each one of us was there. Jesus was Heavenly Father’s Firstborn Son in the spirit world. We are also His spirit children. We lived with Heavenly Father and Jesus in heaven before we were born on this earth.
In the Council in Heaven, Heavenly Father told us about His wonderful plan. We call it the plan of salvation or the great plan of happiness. As part of this plan, Jesus, under the direction of Heavenly Father, would create a beautiful earth for us. Heavenly Father wanted each of His children to come to earth and receive a body. We had learned as much as we could in the spirit world. With a body and with the gift of agency (freedom to choose right or wrong) we could prove to Heavenly Father that we wanted more than anything else to keep His commandments and return to live with Him again. We were excited to be able to come to earth.
But there was a problem. Heavenly Father knew that when we became mortal and had bodies, we could get sick and die. We would make mistakes and could be tempted. We could sin, and no one who is sinning can live with Him. Heavenly Father knew that someone would have to pay the price for our sins so that we could be clean again and free from sin. We would need a savior who would give his own life in payment for our sins. Heavenly Father asked, “Whom shall I send?” Jesus said, “Here am I, send me.” Jesus said that He would do whatever Heavenly Father wanted Him to do to help us. There was another spirit person there who wanted to take away our agency and force us all to follow him. That was Lucifer, or Satan. He didn’t want to follow Heavenly Father’s plan—he wanted his own plan. Heavenly Father said, “I will send the first.” (See Abr. 3:24–27.)
When we heard that Jesus would be our Savior, we were so grateful and so happy that we shouted for joy. All the prophets from Adam’s time onward knew that Jesus would come and be our Savior. All the prophets who have lived since Jesus’ birth testify that He did come and that He is the Christ. The Apostle John, who knew Jesus personally, declared “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69). When we read that scripture, our faith can grow. Once again, we feel like shouting for joy!
Instructions: Jesus Christ has many names or titles in the scriptures (see “Christ, Names of” in the Bible Dictionary). These titles help us know more about Him. Read the descriptions in the left column, look for the correct answers in the right column, then fill in the blanks with the correct titles. Because more than one title may fit each description, the shaded blanks have the letters of His name. To make this puzzle activity into a scroll, mount this page on heavy paper or fabric and cut it out. Glue sticks or dowels along the left and the right edges of the puzzle and let them dry (see illustration). Roll the sticks toward the middle and tie a piece of string or ribbon around the scroll.
1. God of the Old Testament
a. Alpha and Omega
2. Cares for the flock
b. King of Kings
3. Oldest spirit child
4. Gives good advice
d. Good Shepherd
5. Offspring of Heavenly Father
e. Light of the World
6. Brings calm to a troubled heart
7. The First and the Last
8. Brings us back to Heavenly Father
9. Is above all earthly rulers
i. Son of God
10. Rescues us from sin
11. Because of Him, we can “see.”
k. Prince of Peace
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__ __ of __ __ __
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__ of __ __ __ __ __
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__ and __ __ __ __ __
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__ __ __ __ of __
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of the __ __ __ __ __
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. Plan with the music leader to teach the children about the plan of salvation with a “Sing-a-Story.” (See Primary Sharing Time Resource Manual, pp. 26–27.) Assemble the following visual aids: signs, Premortal Existence (or, Pre-earth Life), Spirit World, Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, Telestial Kingdom; a globe or picture of earth; a baby doll; 4 pictures of Jesus—alone, teaching, the Crucifixion, resurrected; 2 labeled partitions (these could be posterboards, drapes, scarves, or screens)—Birth and Death; and “name” tags, Spirit Body and Physical Body. Have one child represent all the children and move through the “plan.” In the premortal existence, the child wears the Spirit Body sign. Sing verse 1 of “I Lived in Heaven” (CS, p. 4). Ask, “How many of us were there?” [we all were], and tell briefly about that Council in Heaven and our choosing to follow Heavenly Father’s plan. Sing verse 2 and hold up the picture of Jesus alone. Tell the children that when Jesus volunteered to be our Savior and give His life so that we could return to live with Heavenly Father, we were so glad that we shouted for joy. Explain that the next step for us was to be born into this life. Have the child pass through the partition marked Birth. Explain that all of us come into this earth life as babies (show the globe or picture of earth, and the doll) and get a physical body (add the Physical Body sign on the child). Sing “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (CS, pp. 164–165). Ask, “What does this song tell us that we must do while we are on earth?” [Seek God’s light, obey His commandments, etc.] (For younger children: sing one or two action songs about bodies—see “Action Songs” in the CS Topics index. Stress that on earth, we learn how to use our body and teach it to obey.) Sing verse 3 of “I Lived in Heaven” and hold up the pictures of Christ teaching and the Crucifixion. Explain that because Jesus taught us the gospel and overcame death through the Resurrection and gave us the gift of the Atonement, we can return to live with Heavenly Father and Him again by living the gospel. Sing “I Want to Live the Gospel” (CS, p. 148). Have the child pass through the Death partition. Explain that although we don’t know if we will be old or young when we die, we do know that our spirit leaves our body for a while (take the Physical Body sign off the child) and lives in the spirit world (hold up the Spirit World sign). After Christ’s Second Coming (show the Resurrected Christ picture), we will all be resurrected and receive our physical body again (return the Physical Body sign to the child) and we will find a new home in one of the three degrees of glory (show the 3 Kingdom signs). Emphasize that we are aiming for the Celestial Kingdom. Sing “I Am a Child of God,” verse 4 (CS, pp. 2–3). Bear your testimony of the Savior and your gratitude for the plan that allows us to return to Him.
2. The opportunity to live on this earth is a wonderful blessing for each of us. Jesus Christ created the earth under the direction of Heavenly Father. He wants us to learn about, enjoy, and respect His creations. Choose five categories (see suggestions below), make a wordstrip for each, and plan something the classes can do to show their interest or appreciation for each. For example: (1) Seasons/Each class chooses a song about a season and sings it. (2) Animals/Each class makes the noise of a favorite animal and the other classes guess what it is. (3) Earth/Each class names a body of water (ocean, river, lake, etc.). (4) Plants/Each class writes down the names of all the flowers (or trees or fruits) they can think of. Ask one class to read its list, then have the other classes read the names they have that have not been mentioned. (5) Talents/Each class pantomimes a talent (dancing, painting, sports, etc.), and the other classes guess what it is. Conclude by singing “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (CS, pp. 228–229).
3. All the prophets have testified that Jesus is the Christ, the One anointed to come and save His people. The scriptures show that these early prophets knew that He would come and often had some special information about Him. On small pieces of paper write the following scripture references: Isaiah 9:6 [Isa. 9:6] (Isaiah prophesies that Jesus will be born.); 1 Ne. 10:4–8 (Lehi tells of the Messiah among the Jews and of John the Baptist.); 1 Ne. 11:13, 20–21, 27, 31, 33 (Nephi sees that Jesus will be born to a young woman from Nazareth, and His birth, ministry, and crucifixion.); Mosiah 3:5–8 (King Benjamin learns from an angel about the Savior’s ministry and that His mother’s name will be Mary.); Alma 7:9–10 (Alma tells that Christ would come soon, be born of Mary, and be born at [near] Jerusalem—Bethlehem is five miles from Jerusalem.); Micah 5:2 (Micah pinpoints the spot of the Messiah’s birth as Bethlehem.); Ps. 22:16, 18 (The wicked will pierce the hands and feet of the Savior and cast lots for His clothing.); Isa. 25:8 (Isaiah knows the Lord will be resurrected.); Hel. 14:2–6 (Samuel the Lamanite prophesies of the coming of Christ to the Nephites in five years and tells of signs in the heavens.). Have each class pick one or two references. Allow enough time for them to look up the reference, then report on what that prophet knew about Jesus. You might assemble some pictures of the stories for the children to use.
4. Some people have heard or seen Heavenly Father witness that Jesus is His Beloved Son. Have the children sing verses 1–3, one at a time, of “This Is My Beloved Son” (CS, p. 76). After each verse, display the appropriate scripture reference wordstrip (see below) and have one child read the scripture and another relate what he/she remembers of the story. Display the appropriate picture. Verse 1: Matthew 3:16–17 [Matt. 3:16–17] (baptism of Jesus); verse 2: 3 Nephi 11:3–7 [3 Ne. 11:3–7] (the Savior appears to the Nephites); verse 3: Joseph Smith—History 1:17 [JS—H 1:17] (Joseph Smith’s First Vision). Ask “Who besides Heavenly Father testifies that Jesus is the Christ?” Possibilities: the early prophets (JS—H 1:17); Christ’s Apostles and friends (John 6:69; Matt. 16:15–16); latter-day prophets (D&C 76:22–24), including President Gordon B. Hinckley (e.g., “No one believes more fundamentally that [Jesus Christ] was the Son of God, … that He rose from the grave, and that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father,” Ensign, Feb. 1998, p. 73); and Christ Himself (3 Ne. 11:9–10; John 4:25–26). As those answers are given, have volunteers look up the scriptures and share them. Sing verse 4 of the song. Bear your witness that as we read the words of Christ in the scriptures daily, we will gain an increasing testimony in our own hearts that Jesus is the Son of God.
5. For additional resources on Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, see the following from the Friend: “My Father in Heaven Loves Me,” Jan. 1996, pp. 12–13; “Jesus the Christ,” Feb. 1996, IFC; “Happy Endings,” Apr. 1996, pp. 28–29; “Window Picture,” Nov. 1996, pp. 32–34; “Agency,” Jan. 1997, p. 39; “My Gospel Standards,” Feb. 1997, pp. 8–10; “The Prophets Testify of Jesus Christ’s Birth,” Dec. 1997, pp. 14–15. See also Primary 2 manual, Lessons 3 and 4 for the younger children.