My brothers and our families are getting together for a couple of days later this month. We typically gather the first week in January, but were unable to do so this year because of Covid restrictions. Warm rather than cold temperatures, swimming rather than playing in the snow, but still, we will be together. What we call “dirty Santa” seems to be a favorite tradition of our gathering, so apparently, we will indeed have Christmas in July, at least for 30 minutes or so.
According to legend, Christmas in July was first celebrated at a summer camp in 1933, when Keystone Camp in Brevard, N.C. decided to dedicate two days (July 24 and 25) to the holiday—complete with cotton fake snow, a decked-out tree, a gift exchange, and, of course, Santa. And according to Wikipedia, Christmas in July is centered around Christmas-themed activities and entertainment, including small gatherings, seasonal music and specials, and shopping, with the goal of getting the public in the “Christmas spirit” during the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere.
I like the basic idea of a July reminder that the spirit of Christmas should be a daily presence, and not merely a short season once each year. It is a spirit of generosity, kindness, and love — a lifestyle, not simply a brief show of goodness.
At the heart of Christmas, of course, is the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior to the world. He coming to us was not only for a season. Jesus still comes into our crowded, busy world, into our often-struggling lives — every day — even in July!
He still is the Source of joy, peace, love, and hope. He still desires to be at the very center of your life. So, take a moment today to reflect on the fact that God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that whoever chooses to believe has everlasting life.
Let’s celebrate Christmas! The gifts we give to others need not impact our bank account; we spend ourselves on others through acts of goodness and mercy. The real joy of gifting is in the giving. Seeing our kindnesses bring joy to others carries pleasure to us and enlarges our hearts to give again. Let’s make it Christmas every day.
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.