I have an Eastertime birthday and my firstborn child was due on Easter (and born two days later) so he and I will likely both experience the celebration of years of birthdays surrounded by egg hunts, chocolate rabbits, honey baked hams, and baskets full of fake grass. These things are nostalgic for me, but have never made much sense when I really sit and think about it. The imagery of Christmas—even the secular things—still points towards hope and warmth and softened hearts and lightened spirits. Even in Whoville, the hardest hearted citizen recognized that “Christmas perhaps means a little bit more”.
But the world doesn’t always seem to know that Easter means a little bit more. In fact, the hope of Christmas only means something because it promised everyone who had ever lived and grieved on this earth that there would be an Easter. The chains would be broken and their tears could be dried and traded for joy.
So how can we turn our Easter around and not forget between handfuls of Cadbury mini eggs and pulling that batch of au gratin potatoes out of the oven, that glorious and eternity-making reason that we celebrate in the first place?
By now, many of you have purchased and enjoyed the Treasures of the Restoration jigsaw puzzle—our 1000-piece treasure hunt into the days of the early restoration to complement both the bicentennial year last year, and this year’s study of the Doctrine and Covenants. I am so grateful to hear from readers who have relished the challenge of the puzzle, learned something from the accompanying articles, and even mounted it on their walls.
I learned so much from the process of designing and manufacturing that puzzle that I was anxious to do it again and realized that 1000-pieces to build a map of the life, ministry, teachings, and resurrection of Jesus Christ might be my answer to how to keep my Easter season focused on Him.
And so, I am proud to introduce our Treasures from the Life of Jesus jigsaw puzzle. It is a 1000-piece map of the Holy Land with 10 significant sites from the life of Christ marked and illustrated and 11 hidden things from his ministry and teachings to find.
The Holy Land is dear and familiar to me. My parents brought me along on my first trip to Jerusalem when I was just two years old. 17 years later, I arrived as a student at the BYU Jerusalem Center. I spent my first few minutes there in the office of the director because somewhere in transit, I’d lost my camera and I was distraught. I was welling up with tears made worse by jetlag and exhaustion and the director asked if I would like to step out onto the balcony to catch my breath for a moment.
And so it was through the blur of receding tears and through the last of heaving sobs that I looked out on the city for the first time as an adult (at the view from Mount Scopus that is truly unparalleled). So many golden roofs shining, so much ancient, stunning Jerusalem limestone all punctuated by the points of minarets reaching heavenward.
I fell in love and from that moment, and no matter how long I am away from it, it will always be my soul’s city.
So it was with great joy that I stared at a map of the land the Lord called his earthly home and combed through hundreds of stunning photographs by Scot Facer Proctor trying to create an experience for others that would communicate a piece of my thrill and a portion of my testimony.
And I’m excited to share the result.
Step through this puzzle into the Holy Land and get a sense of what a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem would’ve been like for a very expectant young Mary. See the waters of the galilee that the Lord’s disciples depended on for everything, and get a better sense of what it meant for John the Baptist to be performing that immersive ordinance in what was truly wilderness. Geography isn’t just an insignificant detail, it affected everything about the daily reality of the people in the New Testament and what better way to mentally immortalize the proximity of things than to literally puzzle over them.
This spring, perhaps you cannot personally walk the slick and narrow stone streets of Jerusalem or run a hand across the gnarled trunks of the olive trees in Gethsemane, but you can rub shoulders with your children as you look together for a hidden oil lamp and talk about what it means that Christ was (and is) the “light of the world”.
Perhaps you crave the opportunity to swim where Jesus walked or personally step inside that empty garden tomb, but if this year can’t bring that opportunity, at least it can bring you the chance to search for the hidden rooster with your spouse and talk about the redemption of an apostle that would deny Christ three times then go on to give his life to proclaim of His divinity.
Let this activity be an invitation to a 1000-piece conversation about the Savior and what He’s done for us. We even went out of our way to only take the information and doctrine directly from the New Testament so it would make a great gift for friends and family of all different Christian denominations. Let us remember all that we have in common with our neighbors this Easter.
My dearest hope is that this puzzle gives you a chance to explore and discuss Jesus Christ and his life and teachings for a little longer than you usually would. Some people found the previous puzzle fairly difficult, if this one has its difficulties, let that mean that you sit and talk a little longer or go through the insert and actually read from the scripture references while you take a break from hunting down that one specific (elusive) piece you need.
What a perfect opportunity to bear testimony to your grandchildren as they hunt for a treasure that’s better than eggs. And discuss deep doctrine rather than getting into a discussion about what exactly the Easter bunny is supposed to do on this holiday. Go to your living room and find yourself in the Holy Land this Easter with our Treasures from the Life of Jesus jigsaw puzzle.