// Evan Hampton, CK Brand Manager //

No doubt about it, Christmas is my favorite team of year. I’ll annoy my wife with my elf-like glee by playing Christmas music in the middle of summer. Though I’m approaching my 40s, on the inside I’m still 12 so I enjoy making a Christmas list of everything I want or need.

Christmas morning comes, and I tear into my gifts with as much speed as my two young sons. Lego, yes! Video games, excellent! Socks…um yay? I absorb all of the joy on everyone’s faces. We’re all soaring high on a cloud of happiness and blessings.

Then the next day it’s all over. All of the gifts have been opened and each tradition has been enjoyed. My Whoville Christmas loving heart sinks at the realization that I must wait another year to experience it all again. Or do I?

Though the true joy of Christmas can only be experienced once a year, the joy found in the true meaning of Christmas is available to us at any moment. I always remember as a kid in church hearing that Christmas is not about the “Ho, Ho, Ho” but about the “Him, Him, Him.” The birth of Jesus! And most everyone is aware of that, but most people think that once the decorations come down, the story of Christ’s birth is over. The story is simply getting started.

Something I try to challenge our oldest son with, and even challenge myself, is to share the wonderful story of Jesus long after the magic of the season begins to dwindle. This can be done in simple tasks. You might hold the door open for a stranger at the store and tell them “Jesus Loves You!” The joy can be shared at school during recess like playing with another kid and making a new friend. It’s everyday acts of kindness that keep the joy of Christmas going. The magic of giving isn’t just one morning of the year, but mainly about giving to someone in their time of mourning.

So this week as you dread the task of putting the lights back in the box, and the tree breaks apart to stow away, try to challenge yourself to keep the joy of Christmas shining. It should burn in your heart and radiate through your smile. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, yes, but it’s so much more than that. It then becomes how your faith in Jesus was born in your heart and helped to shape the person you are now. That’s the joy we must carry throughout the year, and share with others so they too can believe and remember the joy.

Evan is originally from Lynchburg, VA. He married his wife, Christina, in 2010 in Atlanta where they met. They’ve been residents of Jacksonville, FL since 2010 where they raise their sons, Brantley and Beckett. When not at home, they can be found at Walt Disney World or delighting in the tasty goodness of Chick-fil-A.