Christmas in July.
July 25 came on Saturday, and a party sounded like fun. Not just any party, but a holiday atmosphere that would remind us all that we have much to be grateful for.
Christmas was the unanimous decision for a celebration. Not a time of presents, trees, and decorations, but a chance to give to one another the true gift of the blessing of being with one another.
Rather than listening to Christmas carols, we had 90’s music playing in the backyard. Instead of decorating a tree, we prepared the back yard with a huge piece of plastic, anchored it, threw baby shampoo all over it, and as the hose was running, we created our own slip and slide.
Bigs and littles alike threw themselves down the makeshift game space, sliding uncontrollably, covered with bubbles and overwhelmed with laughter.
It was delightful to watch.
There were some downsides. The plastic ripped rather quickly, and scrapes and bruises happened from skimming over patches of grass. The sun was blazing, so redness and some burning resulted. And our grass–St. Augustine–isn’t soft and pleasant. It causes rashes like no other grass I’ve seen.
The fun outweighed the inconvenience.
We completed the Christmas theme by watching, “Elf”, followed by “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Kindness, Christmas spirit, graciousness on the small screen.
We feasted on turkey, our typical Christmas meal. With as many of the sides as we could tolerate on a hot summer day. A family potluck where the sharing of food and preparation was exactly what the holidays reflect.
A little over the top? Maybe. It was definitely a lot of work. Too much?
At a time when everything on the news is negative, choosing to celebrate small things that bring joy is counterintuitive. It didn’t cost us to focus on fun for a day. Well, that’s not totally true. We had to buy the plastic and a bottle of baby shampoo to slick the slide. But the results of an afternoon together in the sun were loads of laughter, a lot of skimming like seals, and the memory of time together.
It’s easy to fall into the bleakness of our circumstances. Many are hurting with the loss of health, death of a loved one, or a lost job. Many are alone, having to make do with filling hours of time with their own company. Still, others are despairing of life as they know it ever returning to what was.
Choosing to find hope at the moment is hard.
What can God possibly do to make this better?
He provides a way beyond what we see. We are mired in the moment. He sees the whole picture of all of life, and He knows what we need better than we ever will. And cares more about the whole person that we are, not just our temporary contentment.
And He’s provided a way for eternity through Jesus.
Nobody will merely slip and slide through life, coasting without problems. When we hit those rough patches, where we get bruised and beaten up, He’s there to pick us up and provide the strength to go on.
That’s worthy of celebration.