Are you ready for Christmas? Not the pretend Christmas, the real Christmas. We all need a solid dose of God’s Christmas. Not the gifts piled high Christmas, but rather the Jesus came in flesh dishing out mercy to save the world Christmas. Not the decorate till you drop Christmas, but rather the serve those who have nothing Christmas. Not the take 20 minutes to find a parking spot at the mall Christmas, the hope injecting, peace giving, love awakening, power carrying, rest giving, God magnifying, Savior of humanity Christmas for our needy, weary soul. We need the kind of Christmas that brings God’s eternity into our temporary.
As leaders of companies that God has entrusted to us to steward, we should strive to be the Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of the play, “A Christmas Carol”, not the Ebenezer at the beginning of the play. Why? Well, the end of the play is when the company leader, Ebenezer Scrooge, discovered that his employees and their families should be loved with all the love he had in him. Ebenezer finally realized that he could not only love his employee Mr. Bob Cratchit but also Bob’s whole family, including his very ill son Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim saw the love of God in Ebenezer’s love when he exclaimed, “God bless us every one”. Ebenezer discovered the REAL meaning of Christmas and so did his employees and their families.
Of course, there’s more to the real Christmas than a fictitious character in a play. We know Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Jesus did not come just for us to celebrate his coming, he came for us to celebrate Christmas 365 days a year.
He came for us to be his hands and feet 365 days a year. He came for us to show up as company leaders 365 days a year. He came for us to represent him to the lives of the men and women we call our team members. All the management tips, tricks and tools we can muster, all the customers we can drum up, all the EBITDA we can find, all the taxes we can save, all the top line revenue we can create, all the profit we can make are not in and of themselves, enough.
Doing good work, making things, delivering service with the talent God gave us as leaders, does glorify God in and of itself, period. Make no mistake, your work glorifies God. However, if your team has no idea that you hold in your heart the secrets of life for the things people crave, you’re missing Christmas 365. Christmas year round makes you God’s messenger to share about life with meaning, it makes you God’s messenger for helping life make sense, for giving life purpose, hope and peace.
The baby Jesus brought hope in a savior; yes! The adult Jesus touched people and healed them. Jesus shared radical messages of a new way of living that brought relational peace through forgiveness, cultural change through equality of gender and race and socio-economic class. Finally, Jesus brought the radical promise that life could continue with him after death.
According to Jesus’ public relations agent John the Baptist, in the story told by his follower Mark, Jesus came to change people’s lives from the inside out. Another follower of Jesus, a medical doctor named Luke, said that Jesus would be a “God revealing light to the non-Jewish people”. His follower, John said God had moved into the neighborhood.
Has God moved into your company’s overall mission and daily practices? Could someone checking out your firm for the first time see that your firm is different? Seeing your company as an untargeted people group is like going on a local mission trip except you don’t have to travel too far; just from your desk to the cubicles outside your door or over to the shop floor. Why not reach out and practically serve the unreached people group called your employees?
Pause for a moment and consider these questions:
Is there a Christian “soul” in the policies and practices of your firm?
How are you doing at being the hands and feet of Jesus as you represent him?
Do you see your employees as a group to reach with God’s love?
How do you raise the question of God in your firm?
In another classic play, there is a scene in Les Misérables where the company workers are all lined up sewing for the boss. As they are sewing, they’re singing. Listen in…
At the end of the day you’re another day older
And that’s all you can say for the life of the poor
It’s a struggle, it’s a war
And there’s nothing that anyone’s giving
One more day standing about, what is it for?
One day less to be living
At the end of the day it’s another day over
With enough in your pocket to last for a week
Pay the landlord, pay the shop
Keep on working as long as you’re able
Keep on working till you drop
Clearly, there’s not much hope in the spirits of the sewing workers.
Nor is there much hope in another Les Mis moment; a song sung by the deeply hurt character, Fantine. She’d just been fired from her job at a factory and was facing life on the street. Thinking back to better days, she sings, “I dreamed a dream in time gone by… When hope was high and life worth living… I dreamed that love would never die… I dreamed that God would be forgiving… Now life has killed the dream I dreamed”.
I believe with everything in me that you are obligated to create a work culture that creates a place of meaning, hope, love, dignity and respect for your team members. Why? So they can dream again, hope again, be loved, honored and valued…and maybe they might even find ultimate meaning in a relationship with Jesus.
What if this year, you gave your staff members and friends and family some gifts that reflect the gifts Jesus offered us when he shattered time and space and entered this fast-paced world.
The Roman world was just like our world was it not? Sex crazed, war torn, slave workers, religion on trial, racial tension, pleasure seeking, power grabbing, political in-fighting and more. Into that world, Jesus Christ brought himself and offered solutions for what mankind craves: hope for the weary, peace that cannot be taken away, love in spite of our faults and mistakes and an offer of living forever with him. All of these are antidotes to the worlds pain and problems. All of these things are the gifts your team members need not just this Christmas day but also on the other 364 days a year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Leith is the CEO of Convene. He was born in Canada and lived in all four corners of North America. His career spans over 35 years of senior leadership roles in corporate, non-profit and academic sectors. Recently, he served as Director of Strategic Alliances for 13 years at Biola University in California.