It’s the most wonderful time of the year. OK, maybe that song refers to Christmas, which is of course amazing. However, this time of year is quite wonderful, too.
In Juneau, because we generally have plenty of rainy and overcast days, we have a special appreciation for the sun. Like bears at the end of hibernation, it has been fun to see my neighbors coming out of their houses to work on their yards, bask in the warmth of the sun and say hello.
Spring is a time of renewal, of life, of newborns and fresh starts. One inspiring event we celebrate which is emblematic of all things spring is Easter. On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of the savior, Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than a noteworthy historical event, like a great victory in battle or the crowning of an earthly king. Christ’s triumph over death is central to God’s plan, to our purpose on earth and to the existence of every one of God’s children. Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, all of us — you, your loved ones and all who have ever lived — will someday be resurrected and live again.
The apostle Paul taught, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The savior also taught us to love and care for our neighbors. The first step in doing this is to actually know our neighbors. It sounds simplistic, but how can we serve and love people we do not know?
Spring is a wonderful time to get to know our neighbors better. You can easily plan a backyard barbecue and invite some neighbors to join you and enjoy the warmth that spring and friendship bring. There are also numerous community events this time of year, including many celebrations of Easter.
One such opportunity is the upcoming third annual community Easter concert on April 13 at 6 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across from Swampy Acres. This is a family-friendly event and is free to the public. Our friends from Congregation Sukkat Shalom will be presenting a musical tour of the Passover meal. A Tongan choir will be singing — if you have never heard a Tongan choir, I must tell you, it will stir your soul. There is an Easter art exhibit featuring the work of children from various local churches and an amazing Samoan soloist will inspire us. There will be other local performers as well as refreshments.
Let us all take advantage of this season of renewal to reset the priorities in our lives. Let us spring clean our homes, and more importantly, our souls. Let us embrace the savior’s two greatest commandments: love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
It is the perfect time of year to go for a walk with a loved one, friend or neighbor to strengthen a relationship or lend a listening ear. Or go for a walk by yourself to observe nature and contemplate the beauty all around us in this amazing place we live.
Take this chance to think kindly of others; almost everyone is doing the best they can. Let’s extend to them grace and not judgment. It is the perfect time to prayerfully ponder who could use a helping hand or a dinner or treat.
Take the time to read a good book that will enlarge your mind and increase your capacity for empathy. Go to the park and strike up a conversation and make a new friend. Visit a church and join a community.
In Juneau, there are services at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. If you go to the church located across from Western Auto at 5100 Glacier Highway at 10 a.m., you will find Sunday School classes in English, Spanish, Tongan and Samoan — the perfect opportunity to use your linguistic skills.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and renewal. Let us all take this opportunity to become a better version of ourselves.
• Jacqueline Tupou is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.