By David Williamson.
Reading “What Does Christmas Have to Do with Work?”, one of Mark Roberts’ devotionals from the De Pree Center, prompted me to think about those who work especially hard at Christmas. When most of the world cuts back and makes room for the celebration of the holiday! Holiday comes from “holy day,” and some are called by their work responsibilities to give extra attention to the day or season.
Think of the work Luke did in writing his gospel, from which we get most of what we know about the original Christmas event. He did the intentional work of research (consider the introduction), researching and then writing the gospel whose words we hear again and again as we repeat the Christmas story. Two thousand years later, we read and benefit from his well-researched first person accounts and his careful writing.
I imagine he had no idea the importance and long-lasting effect of his work in composing the gospel. He just willingly did what he was called to. I am grateful for Luke’s hard and skillful work!
And I am also grateful for the extra work so many are doing this year for the rest of us at Christmas.
Having worked so many years in the church myself, naturally my experience leads me to think first of pastors, preparing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services that are less than 24 hours apart. That’s in addition to all the other tasks of a pastor! And I think of the extra work of church musicians, custodial staff and others. Hard and busy work!
But there are also those who continue to work hard in other modes of service through the holiday. In the original Christmas story, there were shepherds “keeping their flocks by night,” and an innkeeper attending to his business. This presents an interesting intersection of the spiritual with the ordinary tasks of individual well-being. Natural and expected limitations on work are needed to make space for workers themselves to be human, yet this is not always well achieved in practice. I am thinking of a number of people working very hard and skillfully today, so that I and my family can enjoy the holy day.
And of course there are all the people who go on doing work that is necessary to the survival of the community, as they do for us so diligently every day, weekday and weekend, holiday or otherwise: people who work in medicine, public safety, etc. They do their work with excellence, and in many cases without recognition, so the rest of us can enjoy holiday leisure in peace and health.
Luke introduces his gospel with the Christmas story, the story of the incarnation. In time, this gives affirmation of the creation story of Genesis 1, and all the applications or implications for work in Genesis 1 and 2 – and all that follows in scripture affirming a robust understanding of work. God bless us, every one!
Great photo for thee post