“I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” John 17:13 (NIV)

He didn’t ask for random happiness or sweet sensation for us but for His joy to be to the fullest in us. That leads me to this question …

What is Jesus connection with joy? Several portraits and passages come to mind. The first one is a lively and energetic scene with Jesus barely visible for the throng of children flocking around him. The disciples start to scold to children and brush them away but Jesus’ response is quite different: Allow the little children to come to me! In a culture and time in history where children were seen and not heard, Jesus again broke with tradition and welcomed those society brushed aside. Jesus’ joy must have been magnetic for the children to be so drawn to Him.

The author of Hebrews paints a different facet of joy. Jesus, our example and great high priest, endured the horrors of the cross despising the shame of it yet endured for the JOY set before Him. What was that joy? Our salvation! Our reconciliation to the Father was the focus of Jesus’ mind and heart while suffering the inconceivable torment we deserved. At any moment He could have called legions of angels to rescue Him but He didn’t because He knew the joy was worth it. My mind cannot wrap around that kind of joy but Jesus prayed that we would have it.

Regardless of the suffering you may be experiencing this Christmas, draw close to the One who prayed that His joy would be completed in you.

Living It Out – Embracing joy is a choice. We ask God for so many things and have no clue whether it’s His will for us or not. We can pray with confidence that His will is for us to have joy, to delight in Him. Make it a priority to include that as you pray today.

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