Friday, July 16, 2010

merry, merry

christmas in july. it’s a phrase usually reserved for advertisements for cars or mattresses, i know. consider this my pitch to make it a reality for all of us.

six-and-a-half-year-old luke has mastered the art of whistling. and for what reason i’ll never understand, he has taken to whistling christmas songs. sometimes hymns, sometimes “jingle bells,” always repetitive. it’s july, mind you, and no one has heard a christmas song in months—-except on those “christmas in july” advertisements, of course. how luke—-who watches no commercial television, for the record—-got christmas songs in his head i have no idea. but they’re in there, which means they’re out here, too, of course, and in my head right along with his.

i’ve been thinking about those “christmas in july” advertisements as i’ve hummed along with luke’s renditions of “hark the herald angels sing” and “deck the halls” this summer. why is it that car salesmen want you to think about christmas as you consider buying a car, even as the thermometer pushes one hundred degrees? because christmas, of course, is the time when we anticipate the best and most extravagant gifts. if you can consider your mattress purchase as exciting as presents stacked under the lighted tree, you just might take the leap and go for the deluxe model. it’s christmas, after all.

and, of course, we know that christmas is in fact the time we set aside to remember our best and most extravagant gift: Jesus. john 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” don’t get me wrong: i’m all for setting aside a day to celebrate what an amazing statement that is. but what if we didn’t wait until christmas eve to anticipate that very best gift? what if we woke up every morning—-in december and july and every other month, too-—thrilling at the prospect of the most exciting gift of all, just as we did when we were children anticipating the shiny wrappings and the twinkling lights on that one particular morning? what if the summer sunlight streaming through the blinds in the early morning hours reminded us just as readily of God’s great gift to us as the hanging of wreaths and the singing of carols? what if a crackling thunderstorm was christmas to us just as much as a gentle snowstorm? i think that would be Good.

the fact is that Jesus is no better gift to us on december 25 than on july 25 or any other day. i would, however, like to reserve luke’s untuned-guitar version of “jingle bells” that is my soundtrack right now for just one day a year…