‘Frazzled and burned out by holiday business’ busyness? Perhaps the long string of tasks on ye ‘ole yuletide list has you feeling less than merry and bright. Consider these concepts to brighten your season!
“A steal of a deal—just five bucks!” Dad heralded his find with great triumph. “But Ken, it looks like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.” Mom voiced honest disappointment. Christmas 1978—money was tight, so even the five dollar tree was a splurge. Mom did her best to brighten the dismal tannenbaum, banishing its sparse side to stand in the corner. For filler, she crammed our entire ornament collection onto the branches. Along with stapled construction paper chains, we wrapped the sad stick with every last string of lights we owned. It was brilliant—vintage, old school, multi-colored, glass bulbs—fat, bright, and most certainly a fire hazard. Mom was apprehensive so I was tasked with fastidiously checking each bulb. Some light strings shot sparks, so they got pitched. Strands that merely flickered were retrofitted. Looking back, it is nothing short of a Christmas miracle that our house did not go up in flames.
Amid Yuletide’s stress of extra deadlines, the rush and push to deliver products, and the craziness of added customer expectations, we can all feel frazzled. Perhaps you sense your personal “light strings” are flickering, sparking, or even going dark. Consider these brighter bulbs for the busyness of your Christmas business.
In whatever field you work this season, consider anew the heart of Christmas. The heavenly messenger’s declaration to Bethlehem shepherds at work that eve included “good news of great joy, for all people.” God was thinking of us, you and me in the “all people” to experience this business of joy. On any given day, we cannot control our circumstances, but we can choose our attitudes. We can slow down enough to pray prayers of peace, both for ourselves and for others. Take a deep breath. You can plug into Christ’s deep and jubilant joy.
Under pressure, up against deadlines, it seems easier to settle for second best. What if instead, you determine this will be the season you and your coworkers serve up the greatest care and most stellar products for your customers, to the glory of God? Wayne Grudem uses shoe production as one example: “When we produce pairs of shoes to be used by others, we demonstrate love. . . If we do this, as Paul says, working heartily, ‘as for the Lord and not for men’ (Col. 3:23), and if our hearts have joy and thanksgiving to God . . . then God delights to see his excellent character reflected in our lives, and others will see something of God’s character in us as well. Our light will ‘shine before others, that that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven’ (Matt. 5:16).”
Brighter, Difference-making Bulbs
Attitudes, speech, and ethics can run amok in busy seasons. Writing to the first-century Philippians, the Apostle Paul urges: “Do everything without complaining or arguing . . . as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Phil. 2:14-15). Michael Baer explains: “Christians live in a dark world that is filled with corruption, sin, and unethical behavior. Their presence is to be in bold contrast to their surroundings. In place of darkness, they are light; in place of corruption, they are purity; in place of immorality, they are brilliant reflections of the moral character of God.”
The season’s rush, fatigue, pressure, and over-the-top expectations have a way of evoking our most critical outlooks and caustic spirits. Instead, Christ’s workers aim to be extraordinary for Christ’s glory. We resist the tantalizing temptation to cheat, slouch, slime, or cut corners of any kind. As difference-makers, we trade grumbles and gripes for the radiance of grace.
Our family still chuckles over Dad’s tree of ‘78. Despite its misshapen branches, gaping holes, and flickering lights, it now magnificently glows in our fond memories. No matter how frayed, pushed, fearful, or stressed your Christmas seems this year, you can choose joy, plug in excellence, and make a brilliant difference for Christ!
Wayne Grudem, “How Business in Itself Can Glorify God,” On Kingdom Business: Transforming Missions through Entrepreneurial Strategies. (Crossway Books: Wheaton), 133.
Michael R. Baer, Business As Mission: The Power of Business in the Kingdom of God. (YWAM Publishing: Seattle), 133.