FHEs have been somewhat pathetic in the Smith household of late; I’m going to try to rectify this situation in the new year by (1) having a year-long theme and pattern and (2) preparing lessons in batches by months and (3) posting them here a few weeks in advance. We’ll see how that goes . . .
The big picture: we’re going to spend the year studying The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles.
The pattern: each week, we’ll have:
Recitation (I’m using the artwork from this site [scroll all the way down to the bottom to download the entire thing all at once] to make a flipbook with each phrase on a different page. Then we will recite it each week. I imagine we will have it memorized by the end of the year without too much effort.)
Topic Introduction (This is mostly defining difficult words.)
Flannel Board Story (I own the most awesomest flannel board ever; if you don’t, you can get one on ebay or you can make your own using artwork from The Friend.)
So here are the specifics for January:
1. As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago
Song: Once within a Lowly Stable
Topic Introduction: define ‘commemorate’ and ‘millennia’
Flannel Board Story: birth of Jesus Christ
Activity: Write the following scenarios on little slips of paper: you forget to wear shoes, you forget to eat, you forget to close the door of your house, etc. Take turns pantomiming these and letting others guess what was forgotten by each actor. Then discuss: What happens if we forget about Jesus?
2. we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life
Song: Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
Topic Introduction: discuss what a testimony is, define matchless
Flannel Board Story: Jesus heals the blind (point out that this was the sign of the Messiah; in the OT, prophets raise from the dead, but no one gives sight to the blind)
Activity: write the following on small cards: was kind, took care of his mother, taught people the gospel, healed the blind, healed the sick, taught by example, was without sin, was baptized, raised people from the dead, performed miracles, prophesied the future, performed the atonement, was killed, was the first to be resurrected, etc. Spread out the cards. Ask: If you can think of someone besides Jesus who did what is on the card, tell us who did it and take the card off the table. At the end, use the remaining cards to discuss ways in which Jesus’ life was ‘matchless.’
3. and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice
Song: Help Us, O God, to Understand
Topic Introduction: define ‘infinite,’ ‘virtue,’ atoning,’ and ‘sacrifice’
Flannel Board Story: Gethsemane
Activity: Give each child an olive and let him press it until the oil comes out. Then show a vial of consecrated oil. Explain that the Hebrew words underlying “Gethsemane” mean “oil press.” Ask why this might be an appropriate name for the place where the atonement was performed. (See Russell M. Nelson, “Why This Holy Land?”, Ensign, Dec. 1989, 13.)
4. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.
Song: Beautiful Savior
Topic Introduction: define ‘profound’ and ‘influence’
Flannel Board Story: Raising of Jairus’ daughter (point: just as Jairus’ daughter’s physical death was ended by Jesus, our spiritual death–and that of everyone who ever lived–is ended by Jesus)
Activity: Read 2 Nephi 26:22. Explain that our sins are like cords that bind us. Tie the children to chairs (try not to enjoy this too much). Explain that the only way to become free of our sins is through the atonement. Explain that the only one who can cut the cords of our sins is Jesus Christ. Cut the cords.
5. He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New
Song: I Feel My Savior’s Love
Topic Introduction: Explain origin of Jehovah (=YHWH) and Messiah (=Christ, Anointed)
Flannel Board Story: Anointing at Bethany (point out that this anointing shows an understanding of what ‘messiah’ means: priest, king, burial)
Activity: You need a decent-sized picture of Jesus for this; you can usually find one from a recent Church magazine. Glue it to a piece of white paper. Cut it into ten or so jigsaw-style pieces. On the back of five pieces, write something done by the Jehovah of the OT (such as: spoke to Moses, appeared to Moses, etc.) and on the other five, things done by the Messiah of the NT (healed lepers, was baptized in the Jordan River, was born in a stable, etc.) Have handy another piece of paper covered with a thin layer of glue (glue stick works best for this). As you assemble the puzzle, say whether each event was performed by the Jehovah of the OT or the Messiah of the NT. After the puzzle is assembled, press the glued paper onto it. You should then be able to turn it over and see the image of Jesus. Explain that all of these things were really done by the same person.