Christmas in July?

As I was sitting in front of my heater this chilly December 15th morning looking at my Christmas tree, I had the strangest idea. What if we celebrated Christmas in July? I know, I know; we have all heard of department stores which have “Christmas in July” sales. That’s not what I have in mind.
Several things have been on my mind lately. Christmas has been under attack. There seems to be a pronounced movement to remove Christmas from our vocabulary and replace it with Happy Holidays (or as Glenn Beck says, RamaHanuKwanzmas). More and more, Christmas takes a back seat to a burgeoning holiday season that starts before Halloween and continues after the New Year.
My concern is that the Christmas message gets, well, a little lost in the shuffle or at least diluted.
Then there is the fact we don’t KNOW when Christ was born, and to tie it solely to December 25 is a bit arbitrary.
We talk about keeping Christmas in our hearts all year long. Why not act on that in a tangible way?
Here is my idea. This year when you take down your decorations, why not keep one creche, one small tree and a string of lights where you can get to them, say, the last weekend of July? Then when that weekend rolls around, put up your small decorations (and decorate at least one shrub or window outside), gather the kids around, and tell the Christmas story again. Explain to the kids that it really IS important to celebrate the season all year long. Make a special donation to your church or favorite ministry, and make your kids a part of that experience of giving. Explain WHY we give all year long.
When your neighbors come over to find out if you have flipped your lid with the decorated bushes, it will be a good opportunity to tell them the Christmas story and how we as Christians keep the holiday in our hearts all year long.
If you think your church would be up for something different this summer, consider “Christmas in July.” Church members could wear red and green, a Christmas t-shirt, a favorite Christmas tie, and the entire congregation could sing Christmas carols while the pastor reminds us that God came to earth as a baby. We don’t know when. But we do know it happened.
Make a day of it! This could be a whole new twist on the church picnic with novel games, gift swaps, trees decorated with sea shells, flowers and other gifts of summer, and whatever other touches of summer holiday cheer you come up with!
If an entire congregation participated in your city, imagine the stir it would cause as people saw the lights around town and wondered what was going on. How wonderful to be able to TELL them! It would certainly garner some media attention as well and perhaps be a way to tell an entire city about the reason for the season.
Be assured I am not talking about replacing our December celebration with one in July. I am only suggesting adding to it.
As the world strives to diminish Christmas, let’s ensure it increases. There are many ways to to this besides my humble idea. But I truly believe that celebrating Christmas in July, even for just a day in a small way, would be a wonderful way to remind ourselves, our children and our neighbors that Jesus IS the reason for the season — no matter when we celebrate it. Then when you see a store advertise their “Christmas in July” sale, you can smile and tell the children you know what “Christmas in July” is REALLY all about.
May you and your family have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year… and remember the reason for the season is JESUS, no matter when you celebrate it!
Kathryn E. Darden
December 15, 2004
Related Story:
Christmas Is Under Attack


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