Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3)
Christmas is not just a holiday, like other holidays.
It’s not a spring Sunday set aside to honor one of our parents. It’s not a summer celebration of national pride and patriotism. It’s not even a fall gathering of family and friends with ample servings of thanksgiving on the menu—though I really do love that holiday, and I pray yours was truly special and worshipful this year.
Christmas, though, is different. Christmas is at the core of our faith. Christmas is meant to remind us that Christianity, while technically grouped together as one of the world’s major religions, is not at heart a religion at all. It is a relationship that focuses on a Person. It is not just a means of practicing our faith. It is Christ in me. It is Christ in you. That is Christianity.
And that is Christmas.
It is Jesus—the center, the core, the essence of our lives. And we must not allow the “holiday” to distract us from this great truth or cause us to lose focus of who He is.
I believe that’s why you’re here. Together we’re admitting what the holiday aspect of Christmas is capable of doing to us. We get busy. Our lists overtake us. Our memories, whether good or bad or a casserole mixture of the two, create an undertow that can easily engulf us in Christmas culture rather than considering Jesus.
So hear that word again today.
Interestingly, the “consider him” of Hebrews 12 is a slightly different original word than the “consider Jesus” found in Hebrews 3:1. This earlier mention is an encouragement to stop, as in a moment of temptation, and think of Him. “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). Consider that fact. Consider Him.
But the second is an appeal to think repeatedly of Him—over and over again—in the context of running the “race” of Hebrews 12:1, knowing it requires an “endurance” we cannot maintain if we let our eyes roam elsewhere. Our only hope for making it through Christmas and (more importantly) through life is by “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God” (v. 2). To look, and look, and keep on looking. To never look anywhere else.
Perhaps already, this many weeks out from the culmination of Christmas Day, you can already feel yourself growing a bit “weary or fainthearted” from the demands you’ve come to expect this time of year.
Let me give you something to consider, day one, and all the days in between—again and again, over and over. Consider Jesus.
Lord, fully capture my attention this Christmas. Help me savor You and stay enthralled with You, above every other sound of excitement, inside every activity and list item. Thank You for bringing Your presence so close and making Your truth so compelling that I actually never tire of looking for You and longing for You, repeatedly, unceasingly. Today and forever.
1 Samuel 12:20–24
“Consider what great things he has done for you” (v. 24)
“I meditate on all that you have done” (v. 5)
1 Peter 4:7–11
“. . . that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (v. 11)
What are the things that most consistently draw your focus away from Him each Christmas season? What could you alter in your plans or expectations that would keep Him truly central?
Our society has bought into the philosophy that there is (or ought to be) a remedy (preferably quick and easy) for every unfulfilled longing.
Have you experienced the constant pressure of coming up with the next meal? Can you imagine how hard it would be to feed all the people and all the animals in the world every day? On Revive Our Hearts, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will remind us— that’s something God does all the time...it’s an evidence of His steadfast love.All Sermons by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth