Twelve years ago I was so blessed to attend the Jerusalem Center as a study abroad student. I don't think I appreciated the experience as much then as I do now. I think back at all of the biblical sites that I visited such as the Sea of Galilea, Bethlehem, the river Jordan, and the Mount of Beatitudes to name some of my favorite places. But, by far my favorite place to visit was the Garden Tomb. This is one of two traditional sites claiming to be the place of Jesus Christ's burial and resurrection. Upon entering the garden, there is a feeling of consuming peace and love and beauty that you can not deny. President Harold B. Lee said about his visit to the site, "There was something that seemed to impress us as we stood there that this was the holiest place of all." During my five months in Jerusalem, I went to the garden almost weekly on the Sabbath. It was a place to read my scriptures, write in my journal, and feel close to my Savior. But, although my testimony of my Savior was strengthened there, it was not gained there because HE IS NOT THERE. That is the whole message of the gospel...that Jesus Christ lived, atoned for our sins, was crucified, and was resurrected. HE LIVES. I am so grateful for His life, His death, and for His gift of the atonement and the resurrection. I know that my finite mind can hardly comprehend all that He has given me, but I know that my spirit feels it and knows that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Although I was lucky enough for a time to physically walk where He walked, I hope that I can try harder each day to spiritually follow in His footsteps and look to Him as my greatest guide and example of how to live my life.
Outside of the tomb.
Inside the tomb.
The truth of the gospel handcrafted on this modern wooden door.
Look to the right, above the buses. This is the traditional site of Calvary or Golgotha. Can you see the skull in the mountain?
I've been thinking about how we can make Easter more about Jesus Christ and not so much about the Easter Bunny. I've been thinking that the Easter Bunny might start coming on Saturday morning instead of Sunday morning so that we can focus on Jesus and His Resurrection on the Sabbath. I do love how symbolic Easter is with all of the new life in the form of spring, butterflies, eggs...all pointing towards the meaning of Easter, the new life that Jesus Christ received upon resurrecting on the third day and this free gift that He extends to all of us. Is there anything that you do to retain the true meaning of Easter in your home?