Country singer Alan Jackson starts one of his Christmas albums with the song, “Let it be Christmas everywhere.” Good idea– but not yet a reality!
Jesus came to earth about 2000 years ago, but it was not until about 950 years ago that His followers decided it would be a good idea to celebrate it with a mass (sacrament of the eucharist), hence our English word, ‘Christmas’.
However, today when I drive around my city or shop in its stores, I see few symbols which remind me of the birth of Christ; the season has become dominated by fictional Disney characters, snowmen, Christmas trees and lights, reindeer, gift giving, and the movie scene. I can think of many countries I have visited with little or no understanding of the Christ of Christmas.
IBEC and other Business As Mission operations exist because many of the peoples on earth do not celebrate Christmas. In fact, IBEC serves businesses which work in more than twenty languages, many of which have a rough equivalent of “Happy Holidays,” because the Christ of Christmas is not in their tradition or current understanding. In short – they do not know Jesus.
Our faith can seem complicated sometimes, but let’s stop a minute and think about it in its simplest construct. James, who was likely the brother of Jesus and therefore spent much family time with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus growing up, later wrote, “faith without deeds is useless” (James 2:20) I think he observed his brother Jesus living out the faith in everyday deeds. Think about three things the Christ of Christmas told his followers, often thought about as Jesus’ commands:
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart …” (Luke 10:27). Does every person know how to do that “everywhere”?
- “Love your neighbor …” (MT 22:38). Considering all the wars, unemployment, poverty and injustice in the world, how are we doing with this one, “everywhere”?
- “Make disciples of all nations …” (MT 28:19). Certainly, there are not Jesus followers “everywhere”.
And that is why we exist! Businesspeople who are blessed by God to “create wealth” (Deut 8:18) and jobs can bring “Christmas everywhere.”
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures