When my children were growing up, we had had for several years something we called “Christmas in July.” It came about because three of our four kids had their birthdays within five weeks of Christmas. This meant there was long time between opportunities to hope for a significant present for those three. Even if they got something really cool for their Christmas/ birthday run, they would have to wait eleven months (an eternity when you are a kid) for their next significant gift. So, we instituted Christmas in July, in which each of our four children got one special gift, not quite as special as a the ones they get at Christmas, but something they would really enjoy.
The theory we used for “justifying” Christmas in July was Jesus is just as present then, and His presence is just as worth celebrating in July as it is in December. The hymn says, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” His coming and presence by His Spirit is an ever-present reality and always worth celebrating. So, we had Christmas in July. It gave my wife and I a good excuse to bless our kids with a gift (they were great kids after all), make a mid-year re-focus on Jesus, and reinforce the children’s understanding of grace.
TOTAL SURPRISE – JUST LIKE GRACE
There was not a set date for Christmas in July, nor did we make the promise there would be one every year. They did not ask for a certain present or have any idea what, when, or if something might come. The idea was to communicate in some way that the coming of Jesus (remember, all this is about Christ-mas in July) was a sovereign act of love and grace. The action was to illustrate God exploding into our world with surprising blessings, which we could receive with joy, but had no influence or control. Christmas in July reminded us of the blessed entry into our world of Immanuel, our Savior, Redeemer, and King.
SO THIS IS JULY
It is July again, and it seems to me like a good time for Christmas. Wouldn’t this week be a good week to remember how God came to our world and dwelt among us? Maybe it is a good time to remember what the angel said to the shepherds,
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord.
So, this is July. Maybe this is the perfect time to thank God for being Immanuel “God with us” and for being called Jesus, “for He shall save the people from their sins.” What a great day to say,
Let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.
When could there be a better time to come and bow before Him, acknowledge Him as King, and lay our gifts before Him? What a perfect day to remember Jesus came, full of grace and truth.
Stop and think for a moment, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. Glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Consider how “He came to His own but His own did not receive Him, but as many as received Him, to these He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
The salvation of God has come; God has pitched His tent with us. It is July, and everything about Jesus is absolutely altogether true, this day and every day. He is with us, and He invites us to walk with Him in an intimate friendship. What a day to celebrate! What a day to rejoice in the Gift, and to re-connect and re-commit to the Giver!
MERRY CHRISTMAS ( IN JULY )
By Jimmy Aycock