Simeon was a very old man, but he had been promised that he would see Jesus Christ before he died. Anna was a prophetess who was also very old. One day Anna and Simeon saw the Baby Jesus in the temple. They knew that the baby they saw was Christ, the promised Messiah foretold by all the prophets. He had come to live on earth and save the people from their sins. (See Luke 2:21–38.)
The Baby Jesus surely grew just like you are growing. The scriptures say that He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Our bodies increase in stature when we eat good food and get plenty of exercise. That is surely what Jesus did. He might have played outside, and He must have worked hard when He lived in Nazareth. Children in those days usually walked everywhere they went. That helped them grow physically strong. Think about Jesus playing with friends or learning to work in Joseph’s carpenter shop. Can you imagine Jesus growing from a boy to a man?
As Jesus grew taller and wiser, He also grew strong in spirit, and the things He did were pleasing to His Heavenly Father (see Luke 2:40). When He was twelve years old, He went with His family to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He had an amazing experience there. His parents thought that He was with their group when they left to travel home, but Jesus had stayed in Jerusalem. When they finally found Him, three days later, He was talking with the learned men in the temple. He was asking them questions and answering theirs. “And all that heard Him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (see Luke 2:41–47).
How did Jesus grow in spirit and in wisdom? He must have studied the scriptures in order to be able to talk with the learned men in the temple. We know that Jesus was obedient to His parents (see Luke 2:51). We know that His family kept the commandments and obeyed the law of the Lord. That is why they were in the temple that day they met Anna and Simeon. And that is why they went to Jerusalem for the Passover. If Jesus found favor with God and man as the scripture says, then we know that He chose the right and was honest and kind to others (see Luke 2:52).
Even as a child, Jesus set an example for us to follow. We can study the gospel, obey our parents, and learn to choose the right. As we do these things, we, too, can grow strong in spirit and in wisdom and in favor with God and man. Jesus lived on earth to show us the way.
Carefully remove page 15 from the magazine and glue it to heavy paper. Cut out Panel A and Panel B along the broken lines. On Panel A, cut out three sides of each window flap, as marked. To make Panel A into a pocket, cut a piece of heavy paper the same size as Panel A. Place Panel A (printed side up) on top of the cut paper, then glue the bottom and the side edges of Panel A to the paper. To answer the question “How Can I Grow?” insert Panel B into the pocket, read each window flap on Panel A, then open it and read the information inside. Pull up Panel B for pictures to appear in the windows.
Jesus Christ Shows Us the Way
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).
How Can I Grow?
Try to be like Him.
Keep the commandments.
Ponder the scriptures.
Eat right. (See D&C 89.)
(Note: CS=Children’s Songbook)
1. Use pictures from the meetinghouse library to tell the stories of Anna and Simeon (see Luke 2:21–40) and the visit of Jesus to Jerusalem at age twelve (see Luke 2:41–52). Invite the children to imagine what is meant by Luke 2:40, 52. Explain that there are many ways in which we grow. Make a wordstrip for each category, post it, and teach the children an appropriate action for each (see examples below). Have them practice the actions. Toss a beanbag to a child, give him/her one clue (see below), and then have the child guess the category the clue fits in by doing the appropriate action before you count to ten. Occasionally ask, “Can you tell me how that helps us grow?” Examples: Stature / flex arm muscle (clues: eat your vegetables, drink pure water, get daily exercise, ride your bike, avoid drugs; Spirit / fold arms and bow head (clues: read the scriptures, say your prayers, keep the commandments, obey your parents); Wisdom / touch forehead (clues: read good books, watch good movies and television programs, learn a different language, be understanding, work hard in school); Favor with God / put hand over heart (clues: choose the right, be kind to others, speak reverently, respect your parents, serve others, help at home). Because the clues can apply to more than one category, there will be many right answers. Discuss this with the children. Sing “Jesus Once Was a Little Child” or “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, pp. 55, 78–79). Remind the children that Jesus is the perfect example and that we should try to be like Him.
2. When Jesus was on the earth, one of the important things He did was to organize His Church. He called twelve Apostles to be His special witnesses and messengers (see Matt. 4:18–23; Mark 3:14–19). Write the names of the early Apostles on signs and invite the children to hold them in front of the Primary while you tell something about the Apostles. For example: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all fishermen; Matthew was a tax collector; Thaddaeus may have been called Judas, and Bartholomew was probably also called Nathanael; Judas (Thaddeus) and Judas Iscariot, and Simon Peter and Simon the Canaanite had similar names; and there were James and James—the son of Alphaeus and the son of Zebedee. Also Peter and Andrew were brothers, and so were James (the son of Zebedee) and John. To help the children remember the Apostles’ names, teach them this poem (author unknown): “Peter and Andrew, James and John, / Two pairs of brothers who lived by the sea / When Jesus said to them, “Follow me.” / Then another James and Judas were called, too, / Philip and also Bartholomew, / Simon, Thomas, who doubted His word, / Matthew, Judas, who sold his Lord.” Help them understand that the true Church of Jesus Christ will have Apostles just like the Church Jesus organized when He lived on the earth. Show a picture of our modern Twelve Apostles. You could play a matching game with a double set of their pictures. Or share a story about one of the Apostles (see the Friend, Friend to Friend, pp. 6–7: Apr. 1995, Aug. 1996, Mar. 1997, Apr. 1997, June 1997, or Nov. 1997; also Feb. 1998, IFC. See also Primary 7 manual, Lesson 9). We sustain these men as prophets, seers, and revelators. Sing “Follow the Prophet” (CS, pp. 110–111).
3. Jesus taught the gospel to the people around Him during His life on earth, and to the Nephites after His resurrection. Have someone repeat the third article of faith. Ask, “What are the first principles and ordinances of the gospel?” Have a class repeat the fourth article of faith. Tell everyone to turn to 3 Ne. 27:20–22, then read it together. Ask, “Can you see the first principles there? Where is ‘Faith in the Lord’ in this scripture?” (When we “come unto him” we believe Him, trust Him, have faith in Him.) “What will we do if we have faith in Jesus Christ?” (We will do the works which we have seen Him do.) Divide the children into small groups. Pass out a picture from the life of the Savior to each group (see examples below). Have each group decide how they will tell the story of their picture and also explain how we can follow the Savior’s example today in a way that is related to the picture. Examples: Jesus in the temple (study the scriptures and learn the doctrine); Jesus’ baptism (can be baptized by immersion by the proper authority); Sermon on the Mount (share the gospel, repent, try to be better); Jesus healing the blind (we can pray, seek blessings from the priesthood, and be concerned for the welfare of others); Good Shepherd (reach out to others, especially those who have lost their way); Prodigal Son (forgive those who wrong us); Good Samaritan (help others, treat each person as our neighbor); the Savior in prayer (pray for ourselves, our families, and others). Sing “I Want to Live the Gospel” (CS, p. 148).
4. The miracles of Jesus blessed the lives of the people. In advance, invite four adults in your ward/branch to each present one of the following stories as if they had been an observer of the event, using simple props or costumes: feeding the five thousand (Matt. 14:15–21); raising the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:21–24, 35–43); the woman who touched His robe (Mark 5:25–34); raising Lazarus (John 11:1–45). Also have the adults share their witness that these stories are true and that their own testimony is strengthened by these accounts from the scriptures. Conclude with your testimony that miracles also happen today and can bring healing or peace or comfort to the troubled. The greatest miracle is the one expressed in John 3:16. Have the children repeat this scripture with you, then sing “He Sent His Son” (CS, pp. 34–35).
5. Select several pictures of the life of Christ. On the back of each picture post a list of three songs about that event from the CS (see examples below). Pass out a picture to each class, have the class choose a song from the list and practice singing that song. In chronological order of the pictured events, have each class stand, display their picture, and sing the song. After each class sings, ask everyone if they know another song about that event that they could sing together. If they don’t have a suggestion, let the class with the picture recommend one. Examples: Birth (“Once within a Lowly Stable,” p. 41; “Away in a Manger,” pp. 42–43; “Mary’s Lullaby,” pp. 44–45); Baptism (“This Is My Beloved Son,” p. 76; “Baptism,” pp. 100–101; “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized,” p. 102); Christ Blessing the Children (“Jesus Is Our Loving Friend,” p. 58; “Jesus Loved the Little Children,” p. 59; “Book of Mormon Stories,” v. 8, pp. 118–19); Jesus Teaching the People (“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” p. 57; “I’ll Walk with You,” pp. 140–141; “Kindness Begins with Me,” p. 145); The Last Supper (“The Sacrament,” p. 72; “I Feel My Savior’s Love,” pp. 74–75; “Love One Another,” p. 136); Crucifixion (“He Died That We Might Live Again,” p. 65; “To Think about Jesus,” p. 71; “Help Us, O God, to Understand,” p. 73); Resurrection/Second Coming (“Easter Hosanna,” pp. 68–69; “When He Comes Again,” pp. 82–83; “On a Golden Springtime,” v. 2, p. 88).
6. For additional resources on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, see the following from the Friend: “Good Neighbors,” Mar. 1997, pp. 40–41; “What Does Jesus Christ Want Me to Do?” Sept. 1997, pp. 36–37; “Good Tidings of Great Joy,” Dec. 1997, pp. 2–3; “What Do I Know About Jesus Christ?” Mar. 1998, pp. 44–45. See also Primary 4 manual, Lesson 34 for teaching the Sermon on the Mount.