Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Garden Tomb

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?

12 comments:

Steve and Kelli Fam said...

Tirsa, I really love the idea of doing the Easter Bunny on Sat instead of Sunday. Growing up, we actually didn't even do the whole easter bunny thing. My mom would sew us all dresses and buy the boys a shirt or soemthing and we would have an egg hunt, but I never had one basketfull of goodies from the easter bunny and I never missed it. I never cared but I loved doing the egg hunt. That was always fun. Those pictures of you are great. You look so young! I barely recognize you. I think you look so different. I don't know why. Anyway, I think it would be so awesome to go to some of those places. Maybe some day. Enjoyed your thoughts!

Alison said...

We've been doing E.B on the Saturday before Easter. Now, we're just ditching E.B altogether. We've decided to make some special easter cookies, and the kids can help decorate those, but otherwise we're reading about Jesus and having FHE about it all month.

tamiz said...

I like the Sat. Easter bunny idea too. On a side note, I believe that your hair looks fairly brown in those 12 yr. old photos. lol I'm sure it's just the lighting!

Wade & Kati Allen said...

There is a recipe you can get for easter cookies. It has biblical references for all of the ingredients to read while you make it. And then you put them in the oven turn the oven off and in the morning the cookies are done. They are hollow inside. It is kind of a cool thing to do on Saturday that carries over to Sunday. Just an idea!!!

AshbyFamily said...

That must have been an awesome experience!! I'm not a fan of the easter bunny...but we do give the kids little treats on Easter. We have a lesson together talking about Jesus too.

Elaine said...

Tirsa, this is such a neat post. I am not a travelor, would rather be home, but this is one place I would want to go...I loved the photos and your words, I almost feel as though I don't need to go now. :)

Heather said...

Oh the memories! I gave a talk a couple of weeks ago and pulled out my journal it brought back some good times. Let's just say Pita/Pretzels and Nutella! Have a wonderful Easter!!!

estanworth said...

You are so adventerous- I wish I had that. I loved hearing about your experience, and it is a memory you will cherish forever. I really like the Easter Bunny on Saturday thing, and I think that we are going to do that this year!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the reminder of the true meaning of Easter. It is so overly commercialized (just like Christmas) that I think way too often we forget to focus on the fact that we have Easter because our Savior was resurrected. I like your idea of the Saturday thing.

Tiffany said...

I loved your post. Thanks for the reminder of what this season is all about. Since my kids are young, I don't want to take away the fun of the egg hunt just yet. One tradition we always have is an empty plastic egg that is hidden with the others. When someone finds it, and sees that it is empty, we have a big talk about how the egg represents the tomb, and it's empty because Jesus is no longer there, he has risen. Then we place that egg in a prominent place for Easter weekend (on the piano next to a statue of Christ). Just a little idea. Thanks again for your post.

Jolayne said...

I suggested to the girls that we decorate Easter cookies this year instead of the eggs. They never eat them anyway. I thought it would be fun to share our creations with neighbors. We are also starting a tradition of having Easter separate from "Spring Day" where the girls will get to hunt for eggs.

Jen said...

I loved this post. . it was a good reminder about the true meaning of Easter. I also loved seeing the pictures of you at the Garden Tomb. Those memories seem a lifetime ago, but I will always cherish them! If you don't mind, I might try to dig up my pictures and do a blog similar to yours. I like your idea about the Easter Bunny coming early, because of our move we had Christmas early. It really allowed us to focus on more important things on Christmas - like family and Christ.