Jesus: Highest Heaven’s Greatest Joy

I remember vividly the Christmas season fifteen years ago. It was not "Christmas as usual" for our little family—this year was different. We had a new little baby, a firstborn son. And what a Christmas it was! Bundling him up in the harsh winter cold, traveling to family gatherings where we would arrive and be greeted by grinning great-aunties and curious cousins, all waiting to get a look at our tiny, dimpled, brown-eyed boy. When finally the onion-like layers of blanket-ry were peeled away, his father would scoop him up out of the shiny new infant carrier and present with pride and delight his son—his firstborn joy.

My husband was pretty protective of our baby—clean, friendly hands of a responsible age were welcome to hold him. But people we didn't know, young kids, the sick, the germy? Well, Daddy handed him over . . . reluctantly . . . and took him back ASAP. After all, he was our firstborn son—our Christmas joy!

Our family Christmases look different now. Gone are the days of presenting bundled babes at various and sundry Christmas events, but in our season we still attempt to kneel in awe, peering over the manger where we meet once again God's son—His firstborn joy.

We Have a Better Baby

Imagine! God could have sent a superhero Savior, a fully grown man who would rectify social, political, and moral evils in one fell swoop. But instead He sent a newborn baby boy, His first and best. Keith and Kristyn Getty have written a lovely song on this theme, "Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven." As we hear in the first verse:

Jesus, joy of the highest heaven,
Born as a little baby
Under a wondrous star.
Like us, crying He takes His first breath
Held by His mother, helpless
Close to her beating heart.
Jesus, laid in a lowly manger,
Facing a world of dangers,
Come to turn me a stranger
Into a child of God.

And, oh what a baby He was! I'm reminded of this as my pastor has been teaching through the book of Hebrews for several months, pointing our flock to every way that Jesus is "better" (than the old "good" ways of Judaism). We've learned that Christ is better than the angels (Heb. 1:4), better than Moses (3:3), that His priesthood is a better priesthood (7:11–28), and His covenant a better covenant ( 8:6). Building on that theme, I'm reminded that in Christ, we have a better baby!

Everyone (well, nearly everyone) loves a newborn baby, but when held in contrast to Christ, the superiority of our Savior becomes clear:

Jesus was helpless, yet needed nothing.
Jesus was hungry, but lived as the bread of life.
Jesus was hurt, yet held all power to heal.

And His Father, while infinitely more loving than any earthly parent, saw fit to send His perfect child into the world, to willingly peel back the layers of His majesty, becoming for a little while, lower than the angels. God unveiled for us His perfect Son, who lived out our frail humanness without spot or blemish. He is the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) and simultaneously the firstborn from the dead (Col 1:18). Oh, what a baby He was!

We Have a Better Brag Book

Not only did God send us His firstborn Son, but He left us with the ultimate companion. Although they're not as common as they once were, back a few years just about every grandma and mom carried one in her purse—a little "brag book" with plastic covered, photo-sprinkled pages.

Upon the first mention of her pride and joy, she would pull it out, and the recipient (willing or unwilling) would be met with endless pictures detailing every jot, tittle, and dimple of baby Johnny's little life. God gave us the ultimate brag book—His very Word—laying out in glorious detail who we are, who He is, His Son's perfect, sinless life, and His plan to bring the former into oneness with the latter. We have a better brag book.

Well, this is it—we've been introduced to the Son of God, heaven's greatest treasure and deepest joy. What will we do with Him now that we've met?

Don't Neglect This Child

Believing sister, don't neglect Him; don't forget Him. Remember that it's not He who needs feeding, but you. Immerse yourself in the truth of His Word this Christmas! Cultivate your relationship with Him through study and prayer, and then tell others all about Him, with the fervor of a mother's firstborn joy.

Remember that it's not He who needs feeding, but you.

And if you've never trusted Him—this better baby about whom we're speaking—know that He came for you, too! Not only was He the firstborn of all creation and firstborn from the dead, but He was also firstborn of the dead (Rev. 1:5). He lived a sinless life and died to pay for the sins of all who would repent and call upon His name . . . He died, but He didn't stay that way. He rose again and sits at the right hand of God Himself.

It's Christmas now, but Resurrection Day is coming. If the Spirit is prompting your heart, won't you embrace the Christ-child today? You may have come with clean hands and a fitting gift to meet my firstborn child, but it is not so with this Jesus. Come, in your sinfulness; come bringing nothing. In Isaiah 55:1–3 the Lord says,

"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
   and he who has no money, come, buy, and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
   hear that your soul may live."

God sent Jesus, heaven's greatest joy, for just that reason. Wherever this Christmas finds you, don't cast Him aside! Remember Him, learn from Him, draw near to Him, embrace Him. Join me in thanking God for His unspeakable Gift, His perfect child, about whom the hymn writers penned their song's second verse:

Jesus, King of the highest heaven
Learning to take His first steps,
That He might bring us life.
Like us, knowing our smiles and sorrows,
He showed the way to follow,
A way that is true and right.
Jesus, take away every darkness,
Steady my simple footsteps
That I might in your goodness
Live as a child of God.

Are you living as His child today? How has the Savior who knows your sorrows steadied your footsteps this season?

About the Author

Laura Elliott

Laura Elliott

Born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Laura Elliott and her husband, Michael, now call Minnesota home. Laura is the mother of five sons and one daughter and serves as the marketing content manager for Revive Our Hearts. In … read more …

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