18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[i] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;[j] and he named him Jesus.
I have to confess…..I may have watched a few of the “Christmas in July” movies on television over the last week. I may even have watched an episode or two of a baking show featuring Christmas cakes and cookies. I may have even contemplated what it would feel like to get some carols out to listen to.
I know “Christmas in July” is all an attempt to get people to watch specific channels and hook them with “feel good Christmas sentiment” (Can there be ANY more movies about small towns where couples fall in love as they prepare for Christmas?). Kevin and I had a conversation about how he felt it seemed that the television people were co-opting Christmas without focusing on the real reason its importance. I would suggest that ANY time is a good time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and hope that if even ONE person thought of Christ’s birth during a movie, that would be a good thing!
I wish we did celebrate Christmas more often and more intentionally. Not the Santa and cookies part, but the birth of Emmanuel – “God with us.” Or the hope, peace, joy and love that we focus on during Advent. Or the importance of family and giving and seeking God out in strange places.
Christmas is not just a season – it can be a way of life. A way of living in response to God who came to live among us in Jesus. Celebrating Christmas in July and throughout the year can remind us that God comes to us in dark times and brings light, and that God comes for ALL of us.
Christmas blessings to you all.
God, help us to remember that Emmanuel means “God is with us” and that you ARE with us. Help us to see the light of Christ that shines in this time of darkness, and inspire us to reflect that light in all that we do. Amen.
To Listen and Sing