Can you hear the tune with this line from the famous, “Silver Bells” by Bing Crosby? Yes, it is Christmas time again – in the city – and in the country – and in most places in the Western world.
But most of the world’s population does not live in the Western world – they live in the Global South and Global East; they live in the Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu world. I was reminded of this by my daughter who works as an HR Director in Cambodia where there is no celebration of Christmas. Jesus is a little or unknown historical character; not the incarnation of God, born of a virgin in Bethlehem.
But as I look around my own country, I wonder if most North Americans really know the meaning of Christmas. In my lifetime, Christmas decorations, cards and lightings have changed from nativity scenes and wise men to snowmen, Santas, jingle bells, reindeer and high-end electronic gifts.
Christmas is an established day to commemorate the birth of Jesus. The person of Jesus is the important one. This is the divine Jesus – made incarnate in the everyday world – not in the synagogue or church or in some private event. He was born into the marketplace of sheep herders and grew up as a carpenter’s son and learned the trade himself. The marketplace was his world.
As a twenty-something adult I can imagine him creating furniture for families in need; I can imagine him hanging doors and windows in new adobe homes; I see him fulfilling a contract to make new wooden benches for the synagogue. He negotiated prices and kept records for the Roman tax collectors. This “creator God” was then on earth, a creator in the market place – of wood products, of jobs, of tax revenue.
Later on when he entered the teaching world, he kept connected to the world of fishermen, tax collectors, farmers and ranchers, military officers. He was in touch with people and their needs and helped meet those needs.
One of the amazing stories of Jesus was the story of how he provided bread to meet the hunger needs of thousands of people1. He was good at meeting the needs of the sick, hungry, hurting, fearful and destitute. He knew how to meet people in the moment of need.
But he did not stop there. He offered inner satisfaction; inner bread; eternal life!
That is why IBEC celebrates multiple bottom lines in our business coaching. We start with a basic need – the need for satisfying work just like Jesus who excelled as the creator carpenter. Our business people strive to be excellent creator business and job creators. But we do not stop there; we offer transformation through an understanding of who Jesus is the God who gives life NOW and for all ETERNITY.
We will not give up in our task of bringing such LIFE to the rest of the world – the world which does not know the basic truths of God and his Son, Jesus that we celebrate this month. We do that in Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, South Asia, and Latin America. We do it for the glory of God!
1 Read John 6 to understand the real Jesus of Christmas birth.
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures