Christmas in July

wise men

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”
Micah 5:2 (NIV)

Back in the day when I led youth, I always enjoyed celebrating Christmas in July. It was just the sort of silliness that kids loved. I would gather the young people for caroling and other traditional Christmas festivities in the sweltering Iowa summer.

This came to mind this July morning as I read Micah’s prophetic word concerning God’s Messiah coming from Bethlehem. While we celebrate God’s gift each December and give nods to the idea of celebrating the reason for the season all year long, I wonder how often we really stop to celebrate God’s gift once the New Year arrives, the tree is down and the decorations are put away.

“Wise men still seek Him” is a popular phrase around December. Today, I’m thinking of those astronomers, the Magi, who took a good long while to travel to Bethlehem chasing that star. We don’t know for sure when they saw the star and how long it took them to get to Bethlehem from their home. Perhaps they stood in sweltering summer heat contemplating the prophesied King who was born. I am more wise guy than wise man, but on this hot July morning I find myself thinking of the prophet Micah’s words and singing a Christmas carol:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

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