Sunday, November 15, 2020

Primary Program

The kids had their primary program this morning—on Zoom, of course (and thank goodness)! They were each assigned a topic and then got to write their own part. All the singing was done just in our own home while everyone was on mute (it would have been too chaotic to try to have everyone's video/sound synch), except for the last song, which Miriam's class pre-recorded. They just played that song at the end for everyone.

Here are the kids waiting for the program to begin:

Their parts came at the very end of the program. Benjamin, who felt like he had waited a long time to say his line, said, "After I was baptized and got the Gift of the Holy Ghost I felt a stronger connection to the spirit."

Zoë said, "My favourite story about Jesus is the Christmas story." She is very excited for Christmas and was very excited to speak in front of the camera in her pretty Christmas dress.

While Miriam was giving her talk I realized that she was giving her very last talk in primary, ever! It's kind of surreal that she'll be out of primary next year, but what's perhaps more alarming is that Alexander will be in primary next year! It hardly seems possible that that can be a thing. He's completely missed out on his nursery experience!

Miriam did a wonderful job reading (and writing!) her talk. We talked about her topic (which was "anything to do with the song The Miracle) and then she went off to write a draft. When she was finished we went through and reworked things together. She originally had a story about how Alexander broke his arm when he was little but learned to function with his broken arm, which is like us in life, but through the atonement we are healed. It was an okay analogy but also a little murky. We couldn't quite get that part ironed out so we cut it and settled on talking about music, something close to Miriam's heart. Here's her talk:

Hello everybody! My name is Miriam Heiss and the topic that I am going to discuss is why the atonement is important in our lives. Alma 12:24 teaches us that our life is meant to be a time for us to prepare to meet God. In order for us to return to God’s presence we need to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. However, God knew we would make mistakes, and that’s why he sent a Savior, Redeemer, and Peacemaker—Jesus Christ.

The second verse of the song The Miracle explain what the atonement is:
“Jesus bled and died to save me, a price that I could never pay alone
When he rose again he gave me, the greatest gift the world has ever known
Yes I can be forgiven every time I repent and someday he will lift me up,
To live with him again…”
Jesus came to earth to be a perfect example for us. Heavenly Father sent Him so that we can try and shape our lives like His, and so that when we do mess up, we have someone to help mend the mistake. With the atonement, we can repent, be forgiven, have our slate wiped clean, and be able to live with God again.

1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 50 and 53 say: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption…. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

This means that to return to God’s presence we have to be perfect and immortal, but this is something that is impossible for us to do alone. In the chorus of The Miracle it says that nothing is impossible with Jesus. Being perfect in this earthly state is impossible, but when we have Heavenly Father and Jesus supporting us, it becomes easier to be better than we were before.

My younger sister is learning how to play the piano. Like me, she really enjoys music and eagerly practices her assigned songs every week. One of her favourite lesson books is full of duets for a beginner pianist to play with a more advanced pianist. Sometimes I will play these duets with her, which is challenging for me because even though her part is simple she often makes little mistakes when she plays. She will hesitate between measures or will hit a wrong note and decide to start over. My job is to follow her lead—by matching her tempo and volume—as I play my part. I take her simple melody, embellish it, help her play through her mistakes. Together we make beautiful music.

I think this is similar to how the atonement works. Just as my sister depends on me to balance out the mistakes she makes on the piano, I depend on the Saviour and His atonement to tweak the tempo, adjust the volume, and make up for mistakes in my life. The Saviour takes the simple, mistake-filled melody of my life and turns it into a beautiful symphony, something I would never be able to accomplish on my own, no matter how hard I practice or try.

I believe that through the atonement of Christ we can all be saved and live again someday. Jesus atoned for our sins so that we can become like God. I know that we all play our messy part of the duet, and whether our tempo is off, or we hit a wrong key, Jesus is always ready to help transform our best but imperfect offerings into a beautiful melody. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Speaking of piano music, I've been giving Benjamin and Zoë piano lessons on Sunday afternoons (that's why I missed the family group call, Mom—my phone was upstairs all alone and we were all downstairs in the music room). Some weeks go better than others. This week was one of the better weeks. Zoë and Benjamin both were very dedicated about practicing this week and made wonderful progress with their songs. (Miriam has been giving Rachel lessons). We're planning on doing a Christmas The Christmas book that Zoë and Benjamin are working in is the favourite lesson book spoken of in Miriam's talk.


Now that Miriam is very nearly a primary graduate, I think I can share the story of the time she bore her testimony soon after her baptism. She was wearing a white flouncy dress and I had curled her hair and she waltzed up to the podium and shared a lovely little message with the congregation, just beaming the whole time. 

On the way home from church she was skipping along, enjoying the bounce of her curls, and sang out about her baser motivation for taking the stand, "I bore my testimony today so that everyone could see my beautiful hair!" 

It was rather funny.

She's grown a lot in the three years since that day—if not in size (sorry, Short Stuff), in maturity.


  1. Her talk was so profound, as was Ben's a few weeks ago. Here I am, learning from them. This old dog is learning some new tricks, still. Thank you.

  2. WOW! Miriam's talk is amazing! A complimentary talk to Brad Wilcox's "His Grace Is Sufficient" devotional, where he says "all He requires is that we practice" (the piano).

    1. Thank you for reminding me of that! I had forgotten about that devotional! I'll put the link here so that my kids can listen to or read it if they want.