Celebrating Christmas in July
While many are headed to the beach or a pool party and trying to not melt from the hot sun, others are celebrating Christmas in July. It may seem like a fictitious holiday or marketing ploy, but Christmas in July, is rumored to have started at a summer camp. The idea became popularized in 1940 with the movie Christmas in July. Then in 1942, a pastor shared a message and encouraged attendees to leave a donation on the Christmas tree. It would become an annual event at their church. In 1950, the popularity spread and television stations and advertising agencies began having Christmas in July sales to make way for next year’s inventory. Whether you live in a warm climate or cold climate, Christmas in July can be a fun excuse to celebrate the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
Here are some fun ways to Celebrate Christmas in July.
Make a Christmas dinner. While it can be great to make a meal and enjoy it with just your family, use this opportunity to bless a family in need. The summer months are usually the ones where families in need struggle the most. Children are out of school so they do not receive the breakfast and lunch as provided through food welfare programs. Food banks have historically seen a decrease in giving too during summer months as people usually associate giving during Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. As a result, their resources get stretched too. Pray and ask God to show you if there is a family that you can bless. It might be making a meal for them or inviting them to join you for a meal at a restaurant. It could be buying them some groceries or giving them a gift card to a grocery store so that they can get items that they need.
Be an angel. The Angel Tree Ministry ministers to children whose family is in jail. At Christmas time, Angel Tree ministries gives gifts to children whose parents are imprisoned. There are 2.7 million children in the United States who have at least one parent in prison. Reach out to Angel Tree or if your church has a prison ministry and see if there is a way that you can support their ministry. While many are familiar with their Christmas giving program, Angel Tree helps throughout the year with mentoring programs and even summer camps. Prayerfully consider how you help.
“and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” Luke 2:7-9
Give a gift of meaning. Giving gifts doesn’t have to be exclusive to Christmas time. Everyone loves receiving a gift. Don’t feel like you have to buy anything expensive. Sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones that are made or crafted. You might want to take a special picture and decorate a frame and give it to a friend with a note about what their friendship means to you or get a coffee mug and put a certificate for a coffee date to catch up with someone in your small group. It can be fun to surprise others with gifts as well. From the doctor to your hair stylist, consider giving a subscription to Risen Magazine to someone in your life. You will not only bless them, but all of the people who pass through their waiting room.
Reflect on the meaning of Christmas. Just because the calendar says July, doesn’t mean you have to shy away from the Christmas story in the Bible. Take time this week to read through the different passages about Jesus’ arrival. Ask God to reveal to you a fresh take on the story. Think about what went through Mary’s head as she was told she would be carrying the Savior of the world or what Joseph felt being turned away as he sought shelter for his family. Put yourself in the wise men’s shoes and their quest to bring gifts to the next King. Pray and ask God to show you someone in your life that He wants you to share with about a relationship with Jesus.
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