Hebrews 12:2 (Berean Study Bible): “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Generally, I am a fairly happy guy. I have a beautiful wife that I’ve been married to for over 38 years. I have adult children who love me and communicate with me. I even have grandchildren who think I’m pretty cool, at least sometimes. I guess I should also admit that sometimes I am unhappy. I get frustrated with myself and with others. I sometimes just get tired. I eat too much. These things, as well as other things, can make me unhappy.
My point is that happiness comes and goes, based on circumstances. Joy is different.
When Jesus went through the experience of being crucified, his circumstances were the most challenging that I can imagine: the pain… the shame… being deserted by friends… the weight of the sin of mankind.
How was He able to deal with all of this?
The above verse tells me that “the joy set before Him” gave him the power to get through the cross. Jesus was able to embrace a joy that is not based on circumstance. He saw through to the eternal reality of sitting at the right hand of the throne of God.
When I think about the challenges that I face, they pale in comparison to what Jesus faced. Still, by fixing my eyes on Jesus I have joy. I can get through any difficulty. I can see my way to eternity.
The advent focus of joy allows me to be fully alive. I look forward to what God has for me, even while enduring the temporary.
Prayer: Father God, Jesus endured the cross for me by embracing joy. May I now, especially during this season of celebration, look beyond temporary circumstances and model deep and abiding joy in my life. I commit to Jesus as the author and perfecter of my faith.