The Watchman

The Watchman

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


“Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Yesterday I wrote about the #SharetheGift campaign being promoted via social media by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As the holiday season has progressed, the power of this simple idea has taken hold of my heart.

Recently I was asked to serve as the president of our ward's Young Women Auxiliary.  It is a truly humbling experience as I get to spend time with an amazing group of Heavenly Father's daughters.  Their love for their Savior and for each other has already taught me so much.

Last night was no different.  One of the girls in our group will be moving soon as her family is relocated to fulfill a new assignment for her father's employer.  Although we had not planned to meet together, we decided to put together a last minute farewell party.  The men in my household chose to take this time to hide in the basement with the door shut.  Not sure why a houseful of women and teenage girls is so terrifying, but they did not re-emerge till the last guest had departed.

After decorating sugar cookies and playing Apples to Apples, I felt I should do something to tie the activity into the Christmas season.  We talked about Christmas and the #SharetheGift campaign.  I had each girl write on piece of paper something that they could do to share the gift.  The papers were then placed in a gift box and the box was passed around the group a second time and each girl drew a piece of paper and read what was written on it.

I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... I will do something good.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... I will be nice.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... Saying something nice to all I meet.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... I will be kind.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... Showing my love.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... Doing a service each day.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... Reading the Book of Mormon again.
I WILL #SHAREtheGIFT BY... Being loyal.

No one suggested any great feat, but that just reminded me that if we each do a little; each do our part; great things will come to pass.  At the end, one of the young women explained that to her Christmas is not about the presents, lights, trees or any of the other trappings.  Christmas is about being able to be with her family.

This is the first Christmas my family will be without my mother.  It is hard to imagine her not right now putting together gift bags of oranges, apples, bananas, Watkins Soup Mix and Watkins Vanilla for her children.  She would spend all year looking for and purchasing gifts for her grandchildren.  Many hours would be spent sewing dollclothes, dresses, nightgowns, scripture totes, dishtowels, etc. to be opened Christmas Day, often with her staying up late into the early hours of the morning to finish a project not just for her family but for many of her neighbors.  She was one who knew to #SharetheGift, not just with items wrapped under the tree, but in gifts of service.

Today I am especially grateful for the First Gift, the Greatest Gift, the Gift of the Son of God to be the Savior of the world.  These words from a familiar hymn ring especially loud this year:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

You can download your own sign at
and commit how you will #SharetheGift this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's Christmas Adam!

Happy Christmas Adam! 

Christmas Adam is what my children call December 23rd, as in Adam came before Eve.  I don't know about your home, but in the Wixom household today is not going to be filled with the normal hustle and bustle of years past.  In fact we are surprisingly "ready for Christmas" if there is really such a thing.  This is a good thing as I awoke this morning to windows shaking and trees bowing from the gusts of wind.  Yesterday's sunny blue sky-ed t-shirt weather has turned to jacket-required blue sky.

Christmas Adam (aka the name for the mad dash to finish those holiday preparations) is just one of the quirky traditions in our family.  It seems that this time of year they are also more abundant.  In addition to the annual advent calendar and Christmas book I previously wrote about HERE, we have the annual solve the code of the Christmas presents (I started leaving names off gifts when I realized there was peaking happening.  Now there is still peaking, but it is after they solve the code I have designed to remember which present is whose.), the Christmas musical recitals, pajamas on Christmas Eve, drawing names for sibling gifts, orange rolls for Christmas breakfast, and lasagna on Christmas Eve.

Sunday in our Young Women's class, the lesson was entitled "How can I prepare to establish a Christ-centered home?"  Thinking about our family, I was especially touched by this quote from Elder L. Tom Perry that was part of the lesson:

...we can organize our families based on clear, simple family rules and expectations, wholesome family traditions and rituals, and “family economics,” ... (You can read all of Elder Perry's talk, Becoming Goodly Parents, by clicking HERE)

It is our traditions that bind us together.  Rick and I both were raised in families that had traditions.  When we married, we spent the first few years sorting through those traditions, deciding what we wanted to incorporate into our own family in addition to new ones that we developed.  Where possible we have joined in with those traditions our parents have continued with our extended family.

A favorite Christmas memory for me was all of my siblings having a "sleepover" together in one bedroom.  We would stay up whispering and giggling until one by one we would all drop off to sleep.  Then on Christmas morning we would awaken and sneak into the living room to see what Santa had left.  As the years went by, I think Santa realized that we older siblings could help with the toy assembly, so many mornings were spent with us putting things together for the younger ones.  My children don't have "sleepovers", but they do wake each other early on Christmas morning and head for the tree.  There they will spend time together playing and eating candy until breakfast.

But our most important Christmas tradition is the acknowledgement of the greatest gift of all - the first gift - the gift of a Savior.  This year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, started a social media campaign to remind us that He Is the Gift.  We have been encouraged to Discover the Gift, Embrace the Gift and then #SharetheGift.  The campaign kicked off with this moving video:

A few weeks later, another video was released that was part of a world record setting live Nativity.  Many of my friends were involved in the production of this video and have shared many experiences where they were filled with the love of God for each of His children.  When I watch the video, my heart is filled to overflowing.  The three minute mark does it to me every time.  As I view the representation of the heavenly choir that announced the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds that long ago night, I feel that I was there and you were there that first Christmas Day.

Luke 2:
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

If you aren't one of the almost 5 million people who have already seen this video, take a moment to watch it now and if you have already seen it, I assure you it is worth a second, third, fourth, fifth.... look.

One last Christmas tradition I want to share - Christmas music.  I love Christmas music.  When I was a little girl, my dad would put the speaker of our old record player outside my bedroom window on Christmas morning so that everyone coming to our house would be welcomed by these beautiful songs.  My Grandma Cook always had Christmas music playing at her house.  In fact, she gave me the first record album I ever owned and it was an album of Christmas songs.  While I have been writing today, I have been listening to this album by one of my favorites, Alex Boye.

You can find it HERE. I can't say enough about how much I enjoy this CD.