Yes, there is a Christmas tree in my living room today.
Yes, I know it is June.
Need an explanation?
We had a photo shoot at my house for a story that will be published around Christmastime. Publishers work months ahead, in order to have the material ready by December. So we set up Christmas a bit early, and took the pictures. This is the first time that I have ever decorated for Christmas when it is NOT December. And you know what? It has been a fantastic experience!
The kids are beside themselves with Joy. Not kidding. I never realized how magical this could be.
I mean, it’s not like June is a dark and sad month or anything. We don’t NEED Christmas tree lights in June like we need a sparkly tree up north in December. By the third week of December, we Minnesotans are desperate for anything that twinkles like the sun. The world is such a dark and cold place that even tiny Christmas lights and Advent candles make us happy. Christmas gives us HOPE!
But in June, we have sunshine and sparkling water and boats and loons crying. And mosquitoes. Those too. And kids out of school, and broken arms, and trips to the orthodontist and dentist and doctor and gophers digging up the yard that I just mowed in 80% humidity with a herd of mosquitoes trailing me like flying piranhas through the woods…I don’t worry about wolves in the woods, because the mosquitoes leave so little flesh that no wolf would be interested. Wolf spiders are more scary, anyway. June in Minnesota is special that way.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that even though it is summer, and the kites are flying, the sparrows are hatching, and the roses are blooming, I still need Hope. I still need a little help finding Love, Joy, and Peace. And you know what? It is really easy to find those things with a Christmas tree in the living room and a creche on the mantel.
The kids’ excitement and anticipation of great Joy were contagious. So I rummaged around the nooks and crannies of my house, and found many odds and ends for presents. Mostly books. And silly things like a Bonne Belle lipgloss giftpack (90% off in January!) and some Jolly Rancher shower gel. How is that even a thing? Who wants tasty shower gel? These things are in my house because I can’t pass up a 90% off sale, no matter how ridiculous the items. I also grabbed all of the individual-sized snacks out of the cupboards, like Cheetos and Sour Cream and Onion Chips. I wrapped everything up in Christmas paper, and tucked it all under the sparkling tree.
Then we invited friends over.
I think they were surprised!
And you know what? We had a lovely, unexpected, and Joyous afternoon. We ate popcorn, we talked, we laughed. We played a White Elephant gift game with all the wrapped presents, and the mystery gift that everyone wanted the most turned out to be the Jolly Rancher Shower Gel. Imagine that. It was wrapped in the shiniest paper.
If you are looking for Hope or Joy, I highly recommend celebrating Christmas in June! The sparkly Christmas tree brought us excitement and Joy. But there was more to it than that.
Amid the decorations and presents and laughter, something else was there.
The most amazing part of this week has been the quiet parade of plastic animals and shepherds, making their way across my mantel, looking for the small Christ Child in the manger. Despite the rickety barn, despite the darkness of the night and the chaos in the world, the baby sleeps peacefully in the manger. Silent night, holy night. That is what gives us Hope. That’s the source of our Joy. And that is worth celebrating, any time of the year.