I grew up with Summer Christmases. Mangoes for breakfast. Roast Turkey for lunch (never mind that it's 40 degrees/100F outside). Backyard cricket. Swims and BBQs. And I loved them. But I've been thinking recently. Theologically, a summer Christmas is a contradiction in terms.
People walking in darkness have seen a great Light. On those living in the shadow of death a Light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)
The rising Sun will come to us from heaven, to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death. (Luke 1:78-79)
The Light shines in the darkness. (John 1:5)
Christmas begins in the dark. The context for Christmas is ignorance, rebellion, captivity and death. Christmas is a celebration that finds no justification in earthly circumstances. All around is darkness and death. The only possibility for joy lies outside. Christmas celebrates an other-worldly Light dawning from on High.
Christmas is not the celebration of our sunny circumstances. Nothing in our grasp is true justification for Christmas joy. Not family, not friends, not gifts, not health, wealth, success or acclaim. Only Christ coming from beyond our circumstances - like light into darkness - only He makes a Christmas.
Yet in the Southern Hemisphere we celebrate Christmas as though we were celebrating our happy environs - and ignore the darkness. In the Northern Hemisphere we turn to family, friends and fesitivities to try to generate our own light - and ignore the darkness. But darkness is the very atmosphere of Christmas.
If you're having a tough one, know that Christmas is meant for dark places. And let's all seek our Light and joy only in the Son given to us. Apart from Him, it's only winter - no matter what side of the equator you're on.
To hear a Christmas sermon of mine on this theme go here.