The legend is that a freak summer blizzard stranded a group of visitors and their stagecoach at Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone Park one August in the early part of the last century. Making the most of their unexpected but extended stay, the tourists elected to celebrate “Christmas in August,” a tradition that continues to this day. Taking its cue from the December 25th holiday, August 25th is also the anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service and an annual opportunity to mark the closing of another summer tourist season in America’s first national park.
As Christians we celebrate Easter every Sunday and say regularly that we’re an “Easter People,” a hopeful reminder that no matter the circumstance, even in death, God’s love and promise of life is unstoppable. Perhaps we should also consider being “Christmas People” too? By celebrating that God’s very self has broken into this world we might also be reminded that this isn’t a one-time only occurrence.
As we return this Sunday to the story of the nativity, we’ll hear once again how God’s promises became an incarnate reality. Absent having fun in a freak blizzard, what ways would you imagine celebrating Christmas in August? Are there songs you would sing? What foods would you make sure to have on hand? What other traditions could you honor in your remembering? Who would you invite to join in the fun?
There are no rules to say you can’t do any of these things, even if it’s still in the heat of summer here in Minnesota. Perhaps remembering that we’re “Christmas People” too might be exactly what we need in the face of the challenges of these days. Trusting that God loves us too much to leave things the way they are. And that peace, hope, joy and love remain.
Thanks be to God! -Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
Almighty God, all thoughts of truth and peace come from you. Kindle in the hearts of all your children the love of peace, and guide with your wisdom the leaders of the nations, so that your kingdom will go forth in peace and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of your love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
(Prayer for Peace, ELW)