Christmas and business often are in direct conflict with each other.  Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy, peace, hope, and great anticipation as we look forward to celebrating the birth of the Christ child and all the activity that surrounds it.

But in our businesses, the outlook may not seem quite so jolly and bright during the Advent season. It’s often a very busy time with year-end goals to hit; financials to finish and turn in; customer pre-pay or year-end sales to process; inventories to take; and annual evaluations and planning for the new year to complete.  Too often, we live in a world where our busy-ness is often driven by emptiness, or perhaps vice versa.  So what can we do to find that often illusive joy and peace?

I recently saw a story written by a young man who was dying way too early.  One thing he recommended was to spend money on experiences rather than things.  That struck me.  Why do we work hard, make a living, save money, become old (and perhaps grumpy), and forget to enjoy life with our loved ones along the path?

Our businesses can play a big role here.  They can demand our team members to sacrifice all their time, talents, and energy for the “good” of the company, or they can help promote balanced lives that lead to better work and personal life balance…and happier people.  Businesses can offer team members some great gifts that don’t have to cost a lot of dollars. But in the end, such gifts can be more valuable than anything money can buy. Whether it’s extra time off to attend a family event, encouragement during difficult or stressful times, or a thank you and recognition for a job well done, we will all be wise to take steps to learn what the greatest gifts are that the people around you wish to receive.

As you make a purposeful decision to enjoy life…wherever you are, remember that contentment comes when we learn to enjoy what we already have.  And at Christmas time, that rings especially true.  May you find a special contentment and peace as you celebrate Christmas this year and may the poem, “Twas the Night Before Jesus Came” shared elsewhere in this newsletter, be a blessing to you.  Merry Christmas!