It’s a phrase many of us associate with summer sales on all kinds of items from mattresses to clothing to cars. But what does this phrase really mean?
Did you know that in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas looks a bit different than it does for us in the United States. While it is still celebrated on December 25, it is summertime in December in the Southern Hemisphere, so instead of gathering with family and friends on a cold night by the fire with hot chocolate, they may have cookouts on the beach and play Frisbee.
Australians thought something was needed to brighten up the winter months and “Christmas in July” was born. It is usually celebrated on July 25th and is a popular celebration in some areas there.
Australians celebrate this Yulefest with a traditional Christmas dinner, log fire, and gathering of family and friends to mark the occasion. Houses and gardens are adorned with traditional and festive Christmas decorations to enjoy.
Perhaps, then, we all can think of “Christmas in July” as a time to prepare to share the love and joy of Christ with neighbors now and during our traditional Christmas celebrations in December.
How can we celebrate Christmas
in the best way possible in December?
At Open Door, we are preparing to celebrate in the best way possible by creating a Christmas Store in which neighbors can shop for new toys and other items between garage sale and wholesale prices and enjoy a warm, inviting Christmas atmosphere in which to do it. What better way to share the love and joy of Christ than by creating an atmosphere of love and joy for Christ’s birthday celebration!
Since 1992, Open Door has been giving away free toys to hundreds of families across the Chattahoochee Valley. For the past eight years, we have been working to put into practice a model of ministry that creates deeper relationships with families to create real and vital community instead of a “handout,” or giver-receiver only relationship.
Each person, whether it be a parent, grandparent, or sibling, may purchase an item in the Christmas Store knowing that their contribution goes directly back into the Mathews Promise Academy ministry, providing even more opportunities like S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) projects and the music instruction program for their children in our afterschool care.
The families that we serve are excited about the change. One parent stated she was excited to be able to share in her child’s joy knowing that she helped make it happen, and that it also contributes to the same afterschool program her child attends.
Imagine–going to shop for your child and you smell warm cookies baking, hear joyous Christmas music playing, meet warm smiles and welcoming hands, see a free gift-wrapping station…a real place of respite for parents stressed by life’s pressures.
This is the Christmas Store at Open Door.
It will be a place where parents can shop for children, grandparents for grandchildren, and children for other members in their family. Neighbors can shop once, twice, or twenty times. It is a place where peace and joy is found and the love of Christ is shared.
And as always, free age-appropriate Bibles are available for all children.
So what can you do right now? How can you celebrate “Christmas in July”?
We are seeking volunteers to help in December with toy inventory, pricing, and keeping the store stocked. We are preparing an AmazonSmile Wish List that Sunday School Classes and families can access and purchase items for the Christmas Store and have them sent directly to Open Door. For all the families who will be coming to the Christmas Store, you can pray that Christ’s love will be made known.