What Happens after Christmas Matters, Sister Wixom Teaches
By Rachel Sterzer, Church News staff writer
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, began her remarks at the Christmas Devotional Sunday evening by noting that children invite the magic of Christmas.
“We miss something if we don’t see Christmas through a child’s eyes, for children see the light, they hear the music, and they smell the fragrance of Christmas trees and candy canes with real anticipation,” she said.
As part of the annual hour-long Christmas Devotional delivered by Church leaders in the Conference Center, Sister Wixom spoke of Amy Johnston, a Cub Scout leader in Gilbert, Arizona. Two weeks before Christmas, Amy taught a group of eight-year-old boys about the birth of Jesus. Gathering her Cub Scouts on her family room floor, Amy read to them from Luke 2 about Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the star, and Jesus’ birth in a stable in Bethlehem.
Amy noticed that one “rambunctious” boy, John, listened intently. John soon asked, “What happened next?” Amy continued to teach of Jesus’s life, telling of His boyhood and eventual ministry, of His teachings and how He performed miracles, of how He healed the blind and the sick and raised people from the dead. John then asked, “So what happened next?” Amy told the Cub Scouts about the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus’s Crucifixion and Resurrection and then called each boy by name, including John, saying, “Jesus Christ died for you.” John replied, “He did that for me?”
Sister Wixom then quoted Amy, who said: “The Spirit was strong in our family room that day as one young boy felt the stirrings of the Holy Ghost for perhaps the first time. I don’t know what the future holds for John, whose family has since moved away. But I pray that the seeds that were planted in a Cub Scout den meeting two weeks before Christmas will grow and bring to him a full measure of the light of the gospel.”
After the Christmas season is over, Sister Wixom said, we may, like John, ask, “What happens next?”
“Christmas reminds us that the babe born in Bethlehem has given us purpose for living, and what happens next to us largely depends on how we embrace our Savior, Jesus Christ, and follow Him. … Through childlike faith we seek Him and we feel His influence.”
Sister Wixom explained that the ultimate answer to the question “What happens next?” is found in Heavenly Father’s plan, whereby individuals, through His Son, Jesus Christ, can return and live with Him. “The Savior said, ‘He that receiveth me receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him’ (Doctrine and Covenants 84:37–38).
“Being ready to receive Him gives all new meaning to being ready for December 25,” Sister Wixom said.