I’m about to open a can of worms in many households! When is it appropriate to decorate your home for Christmas? I know this is often a source of tension and debate. If you ask Hobby Lobby we should begin August 1. If you ask some of my friends, the Christmas tree should stay up all year. My personal preference is that we put decorations up after Thanksgiving. The last Thursday in November deserves its full attention. That being said, I don’t always win that debate in my own home.
Regardless, most of us will display an ornament or decorative item that highlights the word “JOY” over the next few weeks. What does that even mean? We associate the word with Christmas because of the celebrations, cheer, and gifts. But it really started with the angels singing to the shepherds. They sang of “good tiding of great joy.” A King was born. Not any king, but the Messiah had come!
This moment in history was revealed during centuries of silence and darkness. Religion has overruled relationships. Government corruption had led to oppression. People were desperate, yet in that, they were to take hold of joy? Yes!
Today’s thought is not really one of Christmas. It is a matter of joy and perspective. We are challenged in Hebrews 11 to run with endurance and a second wind. We are given ample examples to follow of men and women who now cheer us on. This life can be run with joy because the mission and promise that awaits are real. They now stand in Heaven, cheering us on.
Hebrews 12:1-2 urges us to ultimately consider the example of Jesus. He was able to demonstrate faith with joy even in the most extreme circumstances. He was mocked, ridiculed, flogged, despised, rejected, and killed. He did all of this with eyes on the mission and a willing submission to God’s plan.
There is so much we can learn as we strive to look to Jesus and live like Jesus. We have to look away from distraction and sin and fixate on Him. This is a daily discipline and pursuit that positions us to take joy in all things!