The Word: How do you celebrate Easter?

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

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How do you celebrate Easter? 

How do you mark the day when our Savior Jesus Christ broke the bands of death and was resurrected, becoming “the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20)?

Easter egg hunts have already started, with more to come. Many people make a priority of attending services on Easter Sunday. 

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But if this is the extent of our observance of the most significant event in human history, it seems like something is lacking. 

Elder Gary E. Stevenson, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke of being intentional about how we celebrate Easter. 

He pointed out that we have many Christmas traditions, including singing “Jingle Bells,” hanging up stockings, caring for those in need, and reading the account of Christ’s birth in Luke chapter 2 in the New Testament.

Elder Stevenson stated: “The more I thought about our celebrations, the more I found myself wondering if we are inadvertently shortchanging the true meaning of this holiday [Easter], so central to all believers in Jesus Christ.”

He quoted Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Church, about the importance of the resurrection in our faith: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” 

Elder Stevenson made several recommendations for making our Easter observance more Christ-centered. 

First, we can review the scriptures in the New Testament about the Savior’s final days in mortality and the events surrounding His resurrection. For example, Matthew chapter 21 tells of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, chapters 22-25 recount His inspired teachings and parables, and chapters 26-28 chronicle the Last Supper, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His death on the cross, and His glorious resurrection and appearance to the disciples.

Elder Stevenson also recommended reading The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which describes Jesus Christ’s visit to people in the New World following His Ascension. Chapter 11 of the book of 3 Nephi records how Jesus visited the people, healed the sick, and taught His gospel. 

Just as we sing Christmas carols, we can immerse ourselves in the music of the Easter season as well. Whose heart does not swell with faith and testimony when singing: 

“He is risen! He is risen! 

Death is conquered; man is free.

Christ has won the victory.”

However we choose to celebrate Easter, I hope and pray that we will focus on those three special words, “He is risen,” as we thank our Heavenly Father for the matchless gift of His Son Jesus Christ and for the opportunity to be resurrected ourselves. 

Happy Easter! 

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Bishop of the Sandy River Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Assistant Provost for Academic Outreach and Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at