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Christmas in July

There seems to be a tradition of semi-celebrating Christmas in July. I don't know if it's because we want to think about cooler weather in Dog Days, if we can't last another six months without singing "Jingle Bells," or if we just genuinely believe we need a refresher on the Nativity. Regardless of our reasons, the television networks start showing Christmas movies in July, some radio stations will blast Christmas music, and we're all tempted to put up the tree.

Whether you have Christmas tunes playing in the background or not, it's always a good thing to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. It was something the Early Church didn't do that often; the birth was a distant second to the resurrection, and Easter was celebrated far more than Christmas. Today we've reversed that and then commercialized them both. I distinctly recall seeing Christmas decorations on sale in September last year, as the retail industry prefers to bypass Halloween and Thanksgiving to get a jump-start on Christmas shopping. (I know it's the biggest holiday of the year, but really, all things in the proper order, please.) Anyway, the Early Church didn't emphasize Christmas, and our contemporary society emphasizes it for the wrong reasons.

If we're going to have Christmas in July, then, let's do it for the right reasons. Let's remember there could be no death and resurrection unless there was first a birth. Atonement couldn't happen without Incarnation, no Calvary without a Bethlehem, no cross without a manger. We should rejoice "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14a). Like the heavenly host, we should be singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men" (Luke 2:14).

And we don't have to wait until December to do it. We can do that right now, in the middle of July.

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