It is very popular at seaside or other resort vacation areas to find shops that sell only Christmas items. While we’re used to such stores, it’s still strange to see customers clad in shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops shopping for Christmas ornaments, small Santa Claus statues, and Nativity scenes. These stores are always filled with Christmas music and it seems that the air conditioning is just a tad cooler than most stores – in the hopes of giving us that Christmas feeling on a 105 degree day? Christmas shopping in July should be out of place, but we’ve come to expect it in many places.
On one level, shops that herald Christmas all year long are strangely comforting. While most are strictly commercial ventures, those with Christmas hearts welcome the opportunity to be reminded of the most wonderful time of the year. For just a few moments Christmas enthusiasts can join their coreligionists in dreaming of a white Christmas, picture Mommy kissing Santa Claus, and simulate mouth-watering at the thought of sugar cookies and eggnog! No freaks to be found among this lot! In solidarity, the Christmas lovers hail their season!
Others will pass by the Christmas stores, deliberately averting their eyes. The stores remind them of responsibilities they’d rather not remember: cards and shopping, faulty lights and dry fruitcake, office parties, Santa hats, charities, and wrapping paper – mountains of wrapping paper! Christmas stores are a thorn in the flesh to those who would rather put Christmas off until late December – like the 28th or 29th! (Being a Christmas person myself, I feel terribly sorry for this group of people and pray daily for their conversion.)
Catholics must be Christmas in July people. We are always celebrating Jesus – in every season we are decorated with Christ, have His Gospel on display in our lives, have our shelves filled with Him just waiting for others to come into our presence and partake of Him. In the midst of a very secular world, we stand out like a Christmas store on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. We always proclaim what is best about the world: the saving Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Sure, sometimes we feel out of place, like we just don’t fit in. But the world needs us. Jesus needs to be present in the midst of
the world. We have to always be open for business and ready to receive the people He sends into our lives.
But there are those who don’t want to look at Jesus. They avert their eyes and don’t want to be reminded of the Gospel, the Commandments, the Mass, the sacraments, the Church, the Pope – all the decorations on the Catholic tree. They want to put the Gospel off until another season or perhaps just hope He won’t come around this year. But He will.
Christmas comes each year no matter what. What we do with Christmas is entirely up to
Enjoy being Christmas in July! Keep Christ in every month – not just in Christmas!