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Christmas in July

by davesandel on July 16th, 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Christmas in July

In July we finally reached vacation time. We had a new (to us) VW Jetta with a sunroof and three kids that fit in the back seat. It was hot.

Somewhere in northern Indiana the air conditioner in our car stopped working. We drove up into Canada, where the air is clear and not so hot, and continued east. At Niagara Falls we were awestruck by the sound and fury of the falls and then looked for side trips. We drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a small town north of the falls. It turned out to be the “Christmas-in-July” center of the universe. I took a picture of our kids through the glass door of an ornament shop, and later the photograph won a local award.

Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight. I shall place my Spirit upon him.

This week temps will rise into the 90s again in Illinois, up over 100 in Austin. We could use some thoughts about Christmas. So here are a few words from O.P. Kretzmann, president of Valparaiso University, which he shared in the new Valpo chapel during the 1959 Christmas Vesper service.

Point and counterpoint has a musical derivation, two or more melodies running side by side. Taken alone any one of them is incomplete, may even be poor and thin, but taken together there is meaning and beauty in their rise and fall, in their momentary dissonance which is resolved into final harmony.

Christmas has done that for life, introduced another melody great and eternal, without which the discord of history and the broken music of our own lives cannot be understood or easily endured. You cannot hear all of life unless and until you hear beyond the roar and confusion, the little clatter of our hurrying lives. And at Christmas the Almighty Word leaps down from heaven with the new song, the eternal counterpoint to the crying of men: the cry of a Child, the whimper of a Baby, the voice of a Mother. Now the music of life is really complete.

The Church wisely makes Advent a penitential season. For if there is to be no discord and no disharmony in our Christmas we must come to the manger very light and very clean, past our sins and our hates, our sentimentality and sophistication. That is my Christmas wish for you: to be still and quiet, so that you can hear what only faith can hear, God and man now singing together, and their song the ultimate eternal melody of life.

                         – from Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning by Richard Baepler, pp. 253-255

Our family headed back to Illinois, and as we drove south it get hot again. The air conditioner repair had to wait till we were home. Margaret read some of the Cooper family adventures by Frank Peretti to the kids in the back seat. We stopped often for water and soda and ice cream. All the way home we thought about Christmas, about baby Jesus born and singing his life into our lives, singing for all he was worth, and teaching us to sing that way too.

(Micah 2, Psalm 10, 2 Corinthians 5, Matthew 12)

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