How do you write a post about “the true meaning of Christmas” without sounding preachy? I don’t have a problem with Santa Claus, gift giving, the throwing out a “What I Want for Christmas” wish list. That’s all good fun. But I want to write something about the actual meaning of Christmas, without coming across like a televangelist barking at you from the TV screen looking for more money to pay for his hair transplant.
I want to write a post that you’ll want to read. This is the dilemma our team ran into when we brought up the idea to write a Christmas post. And it all started when we were trying to figure out how we can demonstrate our company ethos to those ouside our walls.
The thing is, PPM is different than most companies. The problem, however, is the thing that makes us different isn’t the type of thing most businesses talk about. Occasionally you’ll see a company that displays a fish on their website or in an ad, but that’s about as far as it goes. For us, it’s more than that. Which is why you won’t see a fish on our website.
Like many companies, we consider ourselves to be fun and full of personality. I think anyone who has spent any time with us or on our site can see that. Also, like many companies, we like to give back to the community. (You can check out our outreach page if you want to know more.) And, like many companies, we have people here with deeply held religious beliefs. Someone once complained we talk too much about our faith on our individual About Us pages. That’s a badge of honor around these parts.
And that’s the thing that sets us apart from many places of employment. Every person working here is a committed, dedicated Christian. Honestly, I never set out for that. I’ve had dozens of people work for me—some religious, some anti-religion, some indifferent—but that never mattered. We always got along and had a great work environment. But this Pit Crew is different.
Every time we’ve hired, we set out to hire the best person for the job. I never asked, nor cared about their religious affiliation. I just wanted someone that has a good work ethic, knows their stuff and can get results. Each time we were amazed, after hiring, to find out someone was a believer. What the heck!!? How does that happen?
But I don’t believe in coincidences. God has a plan and a design. Do I know what that is? Not always. I just know he brought each of these people here for a time such as this.
So let’s get back to Christmas…
One of our missions is for PPM to be a light to the business community. So one thought was to write a “Merry Christmas” post, but one slightly more meaningful than just spouting out trite, meaningless (and sometimes fun) Christmas jargon.
I asked everyone to write a quick paragraph about what Christmas means to them. Meh. What can each of us say that’s different from the other? I learned in Sunday School years ago that the “correct” answer is always Jesus. Once someone plays the Jesus card then everyone has to! (Question: “Who has most influenced you in your life?” You’re thinking mom, dad, maybe a teacher. Then someone says, “Jesus.” Crap! Answer: “Jesus.”)
We didn’t want to do that. So instead, you get this post that will—I promise—get back to Christmas.
While we are all Christians, we are not at all perfect. We get mad. We swear sometimes. We say offensive things. But aside from that “sinner” stuff, we also do other things. We pray for each other each week. We pray for the company. We pray for our clients and their financial success. We pray for the community. We fast together each year as a team. And we appreciate being in an office where “religion” isn’t one of those things you’re not allowed to talk about without offending someone. (Politics, however, is still taboo.)
We all go to different churches, and I’m sure that if we tried we could find reasons to divide us on theological issues. But we don’t focus on our differences. Instead, we focus on what unites us. There are plenty of reasons for people to not get along, but our core values, beliefs, (and the fact we only work in the office together two days a week!), allow us to have an office that is almost entirely drama-free.
And that’s what Christ taught us: To love. The world likes to focus on the politics of the “Christian right” as a representation of Christ. It’s not. Christ wasn’t about politics, He was about love. He wants us to love people for who they are. To love people through their faults, through their sins, and through their stupidity. I need that kind of love. Jesus gave us the ability to give that kind of love.
Christmas (See? Told you I’d bring this around) isn’t about the baby Jesus, and three wise men bringing him gifts. It’s about the beginning of God showing me and you how much he loves each and every one of us, and giving us the greatest gift of all: Salvation.
I John 4:16 tells us that God is love. Think about that for a minute. If God is love, then without God there would be no love. None, whatsoever. Believe or don’t believe in God, it doesn’t matter, but love only exists in this world because God is. (Side note: When Christians get upset anytime God is forcibly removed from public life, you can understand why. We don’t want love removed from public life!)
Our job, as Christians, is to love others because God loves us. That’s the second greatest commandment: Love others as ourselves. Let’s forget about what that means politically (you can love people and still disagree on whether universal healthcare is good for the country), but just imagine if we loved everyone else as much as we love our own selves and our own families? We are living in a very dark world. It could use more love. Real love. God’s love.
As a company we hope that others see God’s love in us. That’s not an easy thing to do in business, but we hope that our company can have an effect on the community at large and the people we interact with. That somehow others see the light of God’s love within us.
This Christmas, we’ll be opening presents with our families, just like everybody else. But we’ll also be doing it recognizing the greatest gift God gave us. The gift of love and of salvation. It is that gift that I, and our entire Pit Crew, wants to share with you this Christmas. Just remember the love Christ showed for you on the cross. There is a purpose for that love. It’s so that you can have a personal relationship with the Creator, and live the life you, personally, were created for.