One summer while visiting relatives, I was briefly surrounded in a personal matter that didn't involve me, but was hard to ignore. I eventually sought refuge in the back yard, and paced back and forth trying to clear my head. The thought that kept coming to me was, "mind your own business." I was repeating that to myself, over and over, walking back and forth across the yard, when the statement transformed itself. I realized that minding my own business had two parts. First, I had to stop minding others' business, and then I had to start minding my own. But to mind my own business, I had to know what my business was. The question occurred to me, "OK, so what's my business?"
I knew that answer. I wanted to be about my Father's business. But then an unexpected question popped into my mind, "What's my Father's business?" This surprised me. I'd never thought about that before. So I turned to our heavenly Father and prayed, "Father, what is your business?" As clear as a bell, the word spoke itself in my mind - "Christmas."
Christmas! In the middle of July! What a surprise that was. I hardly knew what to make of it. It was so clear and simple, I couldn't think to question it. It was just completely clear that God's business is Christmas. God is in the Christmas business! That is quite a thought. But what does it mean? I have thought about this ever since, and here are a few ideas that have appeared along the way.
Our human realization of a spiritual reality is sometimes only faintly seen or parodied in the world we see around us. It is not surprising to hear someone say, "Christmas has just become too commercial." If God's business is Christmas, then the spiritual ideas of Christmas and business are closely related. It isn't that Christmas is too commercial, but that our sense of commerce should embody more of Christmas. It isn't that there is too much business in Christmas. We need to put the Christmas back in business.
It is interesting that the first recorded words of Jesus in the Bible are about "business." When the twelve year old Jesus stayed long in the temple, talking with the elders, his parents wondered where he was. The Book of Luke records his memorable reply, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business."
You can think about aspects of Christmas that you love and see how they relate to God's business. Even at the first Christmas, everyone came together in families. Each had to return to the land of their birth for a tax census. One can almost imagine the airports and highways of Judea clogged with travelers, even at that first Christmas, as everyone returned to the place of their nativity. The country inns were booked solid. We know that wise men brought gifts, and angels brought messages to shepherds watching in their fields. Of course, the greatest gift of all, that first Christmas, was a little baby, born in a manger. It was a gift of God. It came to bring salvation and healing to mankind. What a gift!
Today, many of us come together in families and exchange gifts on Christmas day. And this is the time of year when so many exchange cards with friends far away. This exchange of greetings and gifts weaves the spiritual family fabric of Christmas, like angels bearing tidings of joy. The spiritual reality of Christmas involves us actively in a boundless network of angels.
If you think about it, it is easy to see all the ways that God is in the Christmas business. It may be more challenging to see that the converse is true. The spiritual idea of "business" is indeed a Christmas activity. That's why the yearly prospects for so many businesses depend on how they do at Christmas. Anyone following business books these days has seen the deluge, an unprecedented series of new ideas and concepts about business, each one following closely on the heels of the last. It seems like we are in an age where business theories are multiplying endlessly. And now we can see where they are going. We can understand business, that is, the reality of successful business, when we understand it as an infinite spiritual activity of Christmas.
All true business is really Christmas business. It is an activity of relationship, of conception and labor, of communication and consideration, of good will, exchanging gifts to meet human needs, bringing joy and gladness, lifting burdens from our fellows, glorifying the source of all gifts, and bringing to the givers deeply rich blessings.
This Christmas season, we each can mind our own business, our Father's business. We can reflect that Mind, we can let that mind be in us, wherein naturally the true activity of Christmas resides. This reflection brings the activity of Christmas to our business every day of the year. Then we are partners in business with the angels, ever exchanging good tidings of great joy. In this restful reflection, and the principled human activities that grow out of it, we can have our part in one true Christmas, weaving the fabric of angels, exchanging gifts of love, of peace on earth and good will to men, women, and children everywhere.
Continue to Our Father's Business - Revisited
Copyright 1994, Jim Chapman. Reprinted by Permission.
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