24964_000_009(Based on a true story)The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).
On the day before Easter, Kurt’s grandparents invited his family to a barbecue. Kurt was especially excited to go because his favorite uncle, Darren, had just come home from his mission. He had missed Uncle Darren a lot.
Kurt bounded into his grandparents’ backyard, ran past Grandpa, who was standing over the sizzling grill, and found Uncle Darren sitting in a patio chair.
“Hey, Kurt,” Uncle Darren greeted him. “Are you excited for Easter, little buddy?”
“Yes!” Kurt scrambled into his uncle’s lap.
“What do you want in your Easter basket * ?” Uncle Darren asked.
“Candy, I guess.” Kurt grinned. He imagined finding chocolate bunnies, marshmallows shaped like baby birds, and jelly beans spilling out of his Easter basket. His heart skipped excitedly just thinking about it.
“What do you want in your Easter basket?” Kurt asked, poking his finger into Uncle Darren’s chest.
“I don’t think I’ll get one this year,” Uncle Darren said. “I guess I’m too old for that. But it’s OK because last year I got the best Easter basket ever.”
“What was in it?” Kurt asked.
“Don’t you remember?” Uncle Darren looked surprised. “You helped send it to me.”
Kurt tried to think about last spring, but it was a long time ago. He remembered the family gathering at Grandma’s house to make a package for Uncle Darren. Plastic colored eggs and stringy Easter grass had been strewn all over the kitchen table. Strips of paper, markers, and pens had been piled on the countertop.
“Why was it your favorite Easter basket?” Kurt asked. He couldn’t remember sending anything special.
Uncle Darren squeezed Kurt tightly. “It was my favorite Easter basket because there was no candy inside.” Kurt giggled, expecting to see a teasing twinkle in Uncle Darren’s eyes, but he looked serious.
“No candy?” Kurt cried. “Why not?”
Uncle Darren laughed. “Come in the house. I want to show you something.”
Kurt watched Uncle Darren rummage through a shoe box full of letters. He reached into the box, pulled out an envelope, and handed a strip of paper to Kurt.
The Church is true, Kurt read. I love Jesus and my family. Last year he had written these words, folded the paper up, and placed it inside a plastic egg. Everyone else—his parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins—had done the same. Now Kurt remembered! Uncle Darren’s missionary Easter basket had been filled with testimonies.
“You liked these papers better than jelly beans?” Kurt asked. He couldn’t imagine why.
Uncle Darren nodded. “Easter is the time to celebrate Jesus Christ’s Resurrection,” he said quietly. “Do you know what that means?”
“Jesus came back to life so that we can all be resurrected someday,” Kurt answered.
“And do you know what that means?” Uncle Darren asked. He rested his hand on Kurt’s shoulder. “It means that I will always be your uncle!”
Kurt was confused. “The Resurrection makes it so that you can be my uncle?”
“We couldn’t be an eternal family without eternal life,” Uncle Darren said. “Jesus Christ died for us so that we could live forever with Him.”
When Kurt and his parents had visited the temple grounds, Mom had pointed to the temple and said that she and Dad had been married there. Because of the sealing ordinances, they could be a family forever. Mom hadn’t said anything about Jesus’ Resurrection.
“What about temples?” Kurt asked. “I thought we could be with our families forever because of temples.”
“The temple is the Lord’s house,” Uncle Darren explained. “Without Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, there wouldn’t be any temples, either. The power that seals us together is His priesthood.”
Kurt hadn’t thought about that before.
Uncle Darren continued. “I taught people on my mission who didn’t believe in eternal families. They believed in Jesus, but they didn’t understand everything He did for us.”
“That’s sad,” Kurt said with a frown.
“Reading everyone’s testimonies reminded me that our family can be eternal,” Uncle Darren said. “It was the best Easter gift I could have received.”
Kurt looked up into his favorite uncle’s beaming face and suddenly felt very grateful. He had missed Uncle Darren terribly during the past two years. He couldn’t imagine being separated from him forever.
Uncle Darren suddenly swooped Kurt up on his shoulders. “I bet the hamburgers are almost done. Should we go find out?” Kurt was giggling too hard to answer. “Then we can be partners for the Easter egg hunt,” Uncle Darren promised.
Kurt was excited, but colored eggs, candy, and Easter baskets didn’t matter so much compared to spending time with Uncle Darren. Kurt smiled, knowing that he could call Darren his uncle forever.
“The divine gifts of the Atonement and the Resurrection and the power of the priesthood will permit us … to be joined into families and … , if we are worthy, to have eternal happiness together.” President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “First Presidency Christmas Devotional,” Ensign, Feb. 2000, 75.
In some countries, the giving of Easter baskets is a tradition that celebrates springtime.