I walked into the store on a mission to pick out frames for photos I had taken on our family’s vacation at the beach. That’s when I saw the sign:

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My eyes surveyed the displays of beautiful wrapping paper, boxes and bows and everything else ‘Christmas’. I began to imagine what might be helpful to buy in order to get a head start on the holidays. Meandering through the isle, I allowed myself the extravagance of desire, remembering Christmases past and dreaming about Christmas to come. I picked up a small music box and opened the lid to the tune of “Joy to the World.” Really. Christmas in July? Yes. Really. The Spirit of Christmas met me in the aisle.

I would have stayed, but reality of time took over and I moved on to the frame section of the store, achieving what I had come for.

Returning home, I sorted through pictures full of people and things that captured my heart with their significance:

Family; friends; waves; washer games; guitars; pelicans flying in straight lines; laughter; tears; sunrises; sunsets…I could list many more but I would run over the word limit!

Gifts of Love. Every one of them.

My first thought when I saw that sign that heralded Christmas in July was about doing. But as I sat at my table looking at my pictures, just being, the phrase came more alive than ever before.

Yes. I experience Christmas in July. Not only July, but every day I choose to embrace the spirit of Love inside and out.

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I was reminded of a quote I had read this past Christmas…

“Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you keep it for a day, why not always?”  From The Spirit of Christmas by Henry Van Dyke


Ellen #1 (1)Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 24 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.
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