It was a long drive. I had been sitting in an SUV for 9 hours to get to Samburu, Kenya. Currently, Samburu is home to one of the biggest famines in the world. I was there to dedicate a well we had drilled. When I arrived, it was very dark. We shined a spotlight on the water well. Then, it was my turn to say something. As I looked down, I saw that the spotlight was highlighting a plaque. It said: 

 This well was drilled in memory of Pamela L. Strawn (1953-2020), whose thirst for life was quenched by Jesus Christ. May this gift of water lead you to believe in Jesus, who offers to quench the thirst in your soul & give you eternal life. (John 4:14) 

 Pam and Greg Strawn were campus ministers at Oregon State. Barbie and I were campus ministers at the University of Washington. Pam had given her life to leading college students to Christ and helping the marginalized. No one did it better. But I didn’t know this well was dedicated to her—until I looked down and read the plaque. 

Barbie was recently reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. She told me that there was a passage in it that I should know. Some of you who know me know that I have an obsession with watching Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. But the quote wasn’t in Mr. Magoo’s rendition. It only has the song about “razzleberry dressing” which says, “May your Christmas be more glorious than grand.” The Cratchett family was not seeking a big Christmas but a glorious one. 

One of the eerie scenes in A Christmas Carol is when Jacob Marley’s ghost grieves to Scrooge about the opportunities that he didn’t use well in his life. Scrooge replied with fear and guilt, “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.” 

Then the ghost screamed out, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” 

Barbie was right. Jacob Marley nailed our business. Jacob Marley was telling Scrooge that he had missed Christmas. He had not only missed it as a holiday but also as a spiritual event. He had also neglected Christmas in the spirit of a business to help the helpless and to show the glory of the One who came to all mankind. We can miss Christmas by simply neglecting the event. But we can also miss Christmas by overlooking a person because you are overwhelmed with the “grand”.

As I looked at Pam’s well, she was in–life and death–about her business. She was what Jacob Marley was talking about. No one needed to come to Pam after she died and tell her she missed her business. No, Pamela Strawn wasn’t finished with her business.

Don’t miss your business this year. Don’t miss the glorious. Don’t miss Mr. Magoo either.