In our household, Christmas is on call twelve months a year.
That's not to say that we celebrate it in the summer as well as in winter, but the possibility of its inclusion is always there, even if it is just one small part of our Advent and Christmas traditions.
Yes, there is always a chance that during the spring thaw or an intense July heat wave, one of my daughter's Playmobil Magi or Nativity Angels might find its way out of the back closet and smack dab into the middle of her bustling Lego town. Or, while deep into the throes of February, she'll continue to resist my taking down the Advent calendar from the fridge, even though all the days' doors have been peeled back and their previously hidden pictures are now ignored whenever she goes to get some milk. Often times there's a rogue ornament discovered behind the side table several months into the new year, or a window sticker, peeled off by condensation, which somehow found its way under the couch.
Then there are the Christmas specials: Frosty, Ruldolph, Grinch, Charlie, etc. A few years ago, my daughter asked me to PVR them for her; once Christmas was over, I presumed they could be deleted. But I was wrong. She pleaded with me to keep them. Not only that, she wanted me to turn them on for her to watch again and again. Long after Christmas was over and everyone was back at work and school, and the half-used carton of spoiled egg nog was dumped down the drain, she could still be found enjoying The Little Drummer Boy or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
To be certain, Christmas isn't hanging around our house all the time throughout the year. But every couple of months or so, I'll see a reminder. They kind of pop up. Sometimes it's because of my daughter, and sometimes it's just by circumstance. Either way, when I do see them, it makes me happy. And being joyful is never a bad thing. In this way, I think my daughter is really onto something: everyone could use a spontaneous dose of the joy of the Nativity at any time during the year. Matter of fact, it often seems as though I receive these special injections of Christmas when I need them most.
Advent is about anticipating the arrival of our Saviour. The wonder of it. The awe and the joy. And when Emmanuel comes to the manger, and we give glory, afterwards do we just stop? No, we continue to celebrate since he remains with us in so many ways. But what if we, while rejoicing in Jesus' Incarnation through to His Resurrection, also continue to anticipate his return? For a faith known for its paradoxes, this might be one of its most heartwarming.
In our own peculiar, often accidental way, I feel our family is blessed when we get to observe a tiny bit of Advent here and there, the whole year long.