December 10 (Hebrews 12:3)
Consider him who endured from sinners such
hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Why does nearly every store and business you enter have decorations at this time of year? It is because the birth of Jesus Christ changed everything. Not one aspect of life remained the same after God took on flesh and walked among us. The stores and businesses may treat this season as a time to make more money or simply to engage in culturally expected celebrations, but Christians know that, with all sentimentality laid aside, this season is about acknowledging the fundamental change in reality that came with the birth of Jesus.
Read this verse from Hebrews. Jesus took incredible abuse from his own people and from foreigners alike. He was mocked and rejected. He was thought to be a liar and a charlatan. He was beaten, subjected to injustice in the name of the law, and was executed. Now, apart from securing eternal life for those who accept Him, He also endured all that to change how we handle adversity.
Everyone has something to complain about. We all have reasons to be angry and upset. Yet the follower of Jesus has an even better reason not to give in. Our brother, our friend, and our Lord suffered even more, and when we do endure hardships for doing what is right, we can take comfort in knowing that we are, if in a very small way, imitating Him.
Lord, may my celebrations this Advent and Christmas be filled with the joy that can only come from realizing all You have done. You have transformed my life and the very nature of what human life can be, both on earth and in the world to come. May every interaction I have with others bear witness to this amazing and wonderful truth. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 by Steven R. Perkins