The surprise of Christ’s joy
Not even the worst evils in this world has the power to quench the surge of hope and possibility that rises in us when confronted with raw beauty, like a breathtaking landscape. Or when we are privy to an under deserved act of kindness. The sheer scale of someone’s generosity can weigh on our soul for days, like a holy moment. Evil doesn’t quench such things. Even though our world is flawed on so many levels, it can still be spectacularly beautiful, and our souls bears witness to this amidst terrible suffering, rising up to meet us in these moments of awe.
Joy can do that to a person. In moments of deep sadness, the light of joy can piece a weary soul, lifting it to a place of refreshment. It’s pleasure and happiness, a healing broth.
Joy to the world
Joy is something many people would naturally associate with the Christmas season: a time to spend with family and friends, enjoy good food and drink, and maybe take some time off work. But there is another type of joy at play within the Christmas story, one that upon discovery can bring great delight to your heart.
Have a look at this ancient writing by Paul of Tarsus:
“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:2
Keeping an eye on the prize
Jesus Christ is said to have endured the cross because of a certain ‘joy’ He set His eyes on. Now doing this is no different (in principle at least) from you and I who endure, for example, daily exercise because we have set the ‘joy of weight loss’ before us! But what kind of joy could Paul be referring to, that would make a man like Jesus endure the torture of crucifixion? It’s not about time off work or seeing the family. Surely it must be of much greater significance if it could carry him through such agony.
The answer may be surprising, but that joy is….you.
You are a source of joy
While Christmas is wrapped up in a lot of stuff that is really not about the original story you can, if you apply some discernment, uncover the original message which continues to echo across the ages for those who have ears to hear: Jesus Christ came into the world to willingly give Himself up as a sacrifice for your sin. And the thought that you would accept this sacrifice was the reason – the joy – that helped Him endure the agony.
It’s a curious thing that Christ would look to us as His joy, to endure such great pain. But a show of our value, and a deeply humbling thought as we contemplate our approach in prayer.
It is our desire to see you think of yourself as Christ’s joy during this Christmas season. That you can bring a smile to the face of the Almighty, not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are. Join us then, to:
- invite Christ into your life through prayer, as the source of newfound joy, that rises in your heart like a surge of new hope and optimism about the future;
- invite His healing presence to bring peace where darkness has been reigning;
- admit to your sinful nature, and ask Him to guide you in His salvation; and
- believe that His Spirit is working to help you.
Let us together this Christmas season, draw strength from His favourable gaze towards us.
Joy to the world!