Recently I found myself making a list and writing down Christmas Joy reflections! I thought I would share a few with you.
This is my list:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Many a day this last year I have found myself feeling discouraged, in despair, feeling all alone and wondering where my joy had gone! Time and time again, however, I knew in my heart that only the Holy Spirit could fix this problem in my life. Happiness is temporal, but joy is eternal. I wanted that eternal joy so much, but it seemed to be evading me!
One morning God’s Word took me right to the answer I so desired. Imagine eternal joy being found in two short verses in Hebrews 12:1-2.
If you will give me the liberty to take apart Hebrews 12:1-2, I think you, too, will find the key which opens the very joys of heaven!
It says, “Therefore, we also (or since) we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” A witness is someone who sees or has knowledge of an event through observation and experience.
Let’s take a moment to think about who those witnesses are: Moses, Abraham, David, Joshua, Job, Esther, Rahab, Isaiah, Ruth, Ezekiel, Daniel, Samuel, Peter, John, Paul, Mary, D.L. Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Graham, and all the family and friends who have gone to heaven before us! WOW!
Because of their witness, can we lay aside only a portion of weight the world and sin lays on us? NO. It says we are to lay aside every weight. But why? Because the world, sin, and Satan can so easily ensnare, trap and weight us down. When I picture this process, I see Satan pushing us into corners, waving his arms distracting and blocking our view of Jesus. His goal is to stop us, weigh us down, trap and ensnare us. He doesn’t want us running the race of life with endurance to the end.
What then should we do? The verse says we are ‘to look to Jesus.’ One translation says, “fix your eyes on Jesus!” That means to direct your attention or mind steadily and unwaveringly toward Jesus. Why? Because He is the Author of our life story. He knows the beginning and the end.
The next part of these verses is the hardest part. It says that “Jesus found joy in enduring the cross and the shame.” Joy in dying on a cross, joy in suffering and humiliation? Joy in taking our sin, and every human being who has ever lived, upon himself? Joy in leaving His Father, his perfect home (heaven), and to be born as a baby in a stable, knowing full well He would be dying on a cross? What kind of joy is that?
It is joy that came in the surrender, the obedience, endurance and knowledge that eternity weighed in the balance. Jesus knew the suffering would produce the endurance. The cost would far outweigh what awaited Him eternally. The suffering and pain were but a moment in time. Eternity is infinite, unending, and timeless.
At that very moment of Jesus’ death, God gave us an amazing gift. That gift is eternity with God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit! It is a HOME that encompasses JOY unspeakable! Filled with a cloud of witnesses proclaiming and praising God! Amazing! Absolutely amazing! It is a HOME that encompasses joy unspeakable! Filled with a cloud of witnesses proclaiming and praising God! Amazing! Absolutely amazing!