“Sharing Time: What a Joyful Day!” Friend, Dec. 2001, 21
Imagine that you lived over two thousand years ago in a city named Zarahemla. The city is surrounded by a high wall that protects the people from their enemies. Imagine that one day, while walking through the city with your parents, you hear a lot of commotion ahead of you. As you come nearer, you see a man standing upon the city wall. He is prophesying of the coming of the Messiah and the things that will happen in both Zarahemla and in the land of Jerusalem as signs that He has been born.
You and your parents stop and listen to this man’s message. He is named Samuel and is a Lamanite prophet. The Lamanites have been your enemies for many years, but as you listen to him, you feel that the things he is saying are true. He says that in five years the Messiah will be born in the land of Jerusalem and that when He is born, a new star will appear in the heavens. There will be a day and a night and a day without any darkness. It will appear to be as one day. When these things happen, the people in Zarahemla will know that the Savior has been born. Some of the people around you, however, do not believe Samuel and are very angry with him. They begin to throw stones at him and try to shoot him with arrows. He cannot be injured, though, and he escapes.
After returning home, your parents tell you that the man you heard is a prophet of God and that the things he taught are true. You and your family are baptized and prepare for the coming of the Messiah (see Hel. 16:1–5). You study the scriptures together, pray to Heavenly Father, and listen to the teachings of the prophets. In five years, a new star does appear and there is a night without darkness. You know that the Savior has been born, just as the prophet Samuel had said. What a joyful day!
It is fun to imagine that we lived long ago and heard Samuel prophesy about the coming of Jesus Christ. Many prophets besides Samuel told the people of their times about the Savior’s birth. Those prophecies were fulfilled that night in Bethlehem. Just as the prophets testified of the Savior’s birth, they have prophesied that He will come again. At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will come not as a child but as an adult, and He will then rule and reign forever. All people everywhere will know that He is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world.
Although we do not know when He will come again, we have been told to prepare for that time. We can prepare for His Second Coming just as the righteous people in Zarahemla prepared for His birth. We can follow the words of the prophets. We can study the scriptures and pray to Heavenly Father. We can keep our baptismal covenant and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Prophets today continue to prophesy that the Savior will come again. If we follow the prophet, we will be prepared. What a joyful day that will be!
(Note: Make or copy all the items you want on page 19 before doing this activity.)
Glue this page onto a heavier piece of paper.
Color the picture of things you can do to prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming.
Cut out Sections A and B and the window in Section A.
Form two tubes by gluing Tab 1A behind Tab 1 and Tab 2B behind Tab 2 (see illustration).
Place Section B inside Section A. As you turn Section B, pictures will appear to help remind you of some of the things you can do to be ready for the Second Coming.
Choose one thing each week that you will try to do a little bit better to help you be better prepared.
I can pray daily.
I can keep my baptismal covenants.
I can follow the prophet.
I can study the scriptures.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
1. Help the children discover some of the prophecies concerning Jesus’s birth and His Second Coming by preparing a Christmas “Sing-a-Story” (see Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 174–175). Use pictures of the Savior’s birth and Second Coming from the GAK. On the back of each picture attach a simple narrative that includes the name of the prophet who prophesied the event and a scripture containing the prophecy. Choose children to hold the pictures and narrate the story. Sing an appropriate song from the CS to go with each picture. For example:
GAK 201: Nephi—The Savior’s mother will be from Nazareth (1 Ne. 11:13, 20–21 [first sentence]) / “Mary’s Lullaby” (pp. 44–45)
GAK 200: Helaman—His name will be Jesus Christ (2 Ne. 25:19) / “Once within a Lowly Stable” (p. 41)
GAK 203: Samuel—Great lights and a new star will appear (Hel. 14:2–5) / “Stars Were Gleaming” (p. 37)
GAK 238: Matthew—Jesus Christ will come again (Matt. 16:27) / “When He Comes Again” (pp. 82–83)
2. Ask, “If you had a message that you wanted people throughout the world to receive, how could you send it?” (Telephone, satellite, television, Internet, etc.) Would that have been possible two thousand years ago? Explain that two thousand years ago something wonderful was going to happen—Jesus Christ was going to be born. Heavenly Father wanted people all over the earth to know about it, so he sent prophets to tell the people of the signs of the Savior’s birth. Tell the story of Samuel the Lamanite (Hel. 13:1–16:8; GAK 314). Have children dressed in simple costumes role-play the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophecy. (There was no darkness on the night of the Savior’s birth, and a new star appeared in the heavens—see Sharing Time, p. 20.) Sing “Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus” (CS, p. 36). Show a map of the world. Ask where else people saw a new star on the night of the Savior’s birth. Explain that although Bethlehem was a great distance from Zarahemla (somewhere in the Americas), people knew of the birth of the Savior by seeing the same star. Even far away in the East, the Wise Men (GAK 203) had been watching for the star to appear. They knew that it was a sign that the Savior had been born. When they saw it, they traveled a long way to come and worship the child (see Matt. 2:1–12; including footnote 2a). Sing “Silent Night,” (Hymns, no. 204, “It Came upon the Midnight Clear,” (Hymns, no. 207, third verse), or “With Wondering Awe,” (Hymns, no. 210). Explain that just as people watched and prepared for the Savior’s birth, we need to watch and be prepared for His Second Coming. Give each child a star on which he or she can write or draw something he or she can do to prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming. Ask them to share their ideas with their families.
3. Cut a large picture of the nativity into puzzle pieces, one piece for each class. On the back of each piece, write a reference to scriptures that prophesy of the birth of the Savior (for example: Isa. 7:14; 1 Ne. 11:13, 15, 18; 2 Ne. 25:19; Hel. 14:2–5). Place the puzzle pieces in a random pattern on the floor. Have one child from each class come up and toss a beanbag until he/she hits one of the pieces. He/she has his/her class look up the scripture reference and choose one child to read the scripture aloud. Have all the children respond to what the prophecy or sign is and where and when it would take place. Have a member of the class hang its puzzle piece on the wall, trying to put the puzzle together. After the puzzle is completed, sing “Once within a Lowly Stable,” (CS, p. 41) or “The Nativity Song,” (CS, pp. 52–53). Testify that just as the prophets foretold the birth of Jesus Christ, they have also told us that He will come again to the earth.
4. Have a child dress up as a shepherd boy and tell the story of the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. Talk to the children about the events surrounding the humble birth of Jesus Christ and sing “Away in a Manger,” (CS, pp. 42–43). Contrast that setting with what the prophets have said will occur when He comes again by having the children look up scriptures concerning the Second Coming. Prepare strips of paper with a summary of each scripture ahead of time. (For example: Isa. 65:25 / There will be peace on earth; Matt. 16:27 / He will come in His glory; Matt. 16:27 / Angels will come with Him; Matt. 24:30 / He will come in clouds of glory; Matt. 24:36 / No man knows the day of His coming; 1 Thes. 4:16 / The Lord will descend from heaven with a shout; D&C 76:108 / He will come to be our king; D&C 133:25 / He will stand in the midst of His people and reign over all flesh.) Put a picture of the Savior’s Second Coming (GAK 238) on the board and have the children place wordstrips describing the events of the Savior’s Second Coming under the picture as they find each scripture. Sing “When He Comes Again,” (CS, pp. 82–83).
Help the children understand the difference between the humility of Christ’s birth (GAK 200) with the glory of His Second Coming. Tell the children the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1–13). Have a picture of a Biblical lamp mounted on a poster board, with a space behind it for placing slips of paper (see “I Believe That Jesus Will Come Again,” Friend, Sept. 1995, pp. 12–13). Tell the children that just as the five wise virgins were prepared, we can be prepared for the Savior’s Second Coming by doing certain things today. Have them each write something that they can do now to have their lamp full and be prepared when the Savior comes again. Have each child place his or her paper in the lamp until the lamp is filled with things that they can do. Give each child a piece of paper with a picture of a lamp on it to color. Have him/her write on the lamp something he/she will do this week to prepare for the Savior’s coming. Bear your testimony that the things we do to prepare for the Second Coming are the same things that will make our lives happier and will prepare us to live with Heavenly Father one day. Sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus,” (CS, pp. 78–79).
5. Additional Friend resources: “Samuel the Lamanite Tells About Jesus Christ,” Oct. 1995, pp. 16–18; “The Signs of Christ’s Birth,” Dec. 1995, pp. 4–6; “The Prophets Testify of Jesus Christ’s Birth,” Dec. 1997, pp. 14–15, 23; “God Tells His Prophets,” Jan. 1998, pp. 12–13, 45; “Isaiah Prophesies of the Savior,” Mar. 1998, pp. 34–35; “Isaiah Says,” (song) Mar. 1998, p. 38; “Message from Isaiah,” Nov. 1998, p. 11; “They Testify of Him,” Jan. 1999, pp. 24–25; “Jesus Christ Will Come Again,” Dec. 1999, pp. 10–11; “When He Comes Again,” Dec. 1999, pp. 35–37.