Good morning, Girls!!!!!
This week I had a marvelous time looking at the images online of "laughing Jesus" and "smiling Jesus." Whenever I picture Jesus in my mind, I can't help it...the first image is so ingrained it is immediately right there...it is the somber, handsome, Caucasian Jesus we have all seen over and over throughout our lives. As I looked over all the happy images of Jesus (and some of them were pretty imaginative and different) this was my absolute favorite...Maybe because to me it seems pretty accurate (although not in the ethnic way). Joy is bouncing off them both:) Love that.
Last night I visited my eleven day old granddaughter (and her parents:). Kaley handed Adley to me, and because my thoughts are so focused on recognizing those joy-filled moments God gives, I thought, "This is one!" Oh, yes, indeed. I was holding this sweet miracle and appreciating every little detail about her, when she focused on me; our eyes completely fixed on each other, and I hoped she could feel the love this nana has for her girl. Then she grew tired and nestled down on my chest, falling sound, sound asleep. I could have stayed like that forever. Joy. Sometimes it comes in the quiet.
But sometimes it visits us in jubilant moments much like the picture at the beginning of this blog. Don't you love that image???!!! Jesus must have played with children like this...He was a big brother to quite a brood after all. My husband, Peter, reminded me that Jesus was perfect at all His roles. He was the perfect big brother. I remember my Peter Kye in his role as a big brother, and he was pretty awesome at it. He had many, many gleeful, happy moments with his younger brother and sisters. Jesus had to have been a fun big brother who played exuberantly with his siblings, and it is more than likely Jesus had some pretty fun, crazy times with His disciples as well. Joy. Sometimes it comes with high-energy and laughter.
Kay brought to our attention this week another side of our Savior's joy...one that touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It doesn't matter what we study...it all comes back to this: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..."
"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 set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) Kay Warren has a beautiful paragraph in her book that deserves repeating:
But what was the joy set before Him? What joy was so rich, so satisfying, so deep that He was willing to suffer such terrible abuse? You were the joy set before Him! I was the joy set before HIm! He suffered so He could be reconciled with you. With me. When people spat at him, His disciples left Him, and everyone mocked Him, He was thinking of the joy. When He was flogged, when that cruel crown of thorns was jammed on His head, and when He hung on the cross, He got through it because He was holding onto the joy of presenting us to God. (And here is my favorite part, girls...) Here she is, Father; I brought her back to You. The joy of restoring the broken relationships, of living with me and you forever...that was the joy set before Him, that was the joy that kept Him nailed to the cross.Sometimes joy comes miraculously, inexplicably in the midst of pain and hardship because we know the promise of what lies ahead.
Years ago their was a movie put out by Visual Bible called Matthew. In this unique word for word telling of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was very obviously a man of joy. My kids really enjoyed this movie, even though the only script was the book of Matthew, because Jesus was so happy and filled with delight. When you watch this movie...you really like Jesus! For those of you who have never viewed this movie, I thought you'd like a sample, so this is the "Sermon on the Mount" scene.
Watching a movie like this is fun because it helps us see maybe just a bit of what it might have been like to be around Jesus in the flesh. It helps us see His words differently...not flat on a page, but spoken with emotion, passion, love, and with His mission every moment on His mind. And what is also kind of cool is the actor who played Jesus, Bruce Marchiano, was from Italian and Syrian descent...somewhat closer to reality than our white Jesus pictures.
It is good to think of Jesus as a man of joy and all this means to us: Jesus loves to bring joy into our lives and we can bring joy to Him.
Jesus and Joy.
More of both of them.
Love, Jesus and joy to you, my sisters...