Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 the throne of God.
The actual recorded witnesses of the birth of Jesus are very few. Clearly Mary and Joseph and possibly some women from the town of Bethlehem, who having have heard of the heavily pregnant young woman come for the census, came alongside to help, but this is conjecture. The shepherds (very special as Jesus later described himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’ and was described by John as the Lamb of God, and later Simeon and Anna but no others are recorded.
But writer to the Hebrews albeit in a different context speaks of a great cloud of witnesses to the work of God in his world. They looked ‘through a glass darkly’ to the one who was to come.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
We are inheritors of the ‘something better’ and living 2000+ years later, have an even greater number from whom to learn how to live, and as we learn and put it into practice, we ourselves become part of that crowd bearing witness to Jesus in our generation.
So we must:-
Lay aside every weight (which would slow us down)
Lay aside sin (which clings as we know to our own cost and shame)
Endure, for the race of life is hard
Look to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith
He endured the cross for the joy that was set before him (the joy of redeeming, for himself, a great crowd which no man can number).
The only way we can lay aside baggage, lay aside sin and endure, is by looking constantly to Jesus with our eyes on the glorious future promised in him.
This is how we should live.