“ And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
This advent, we have been exploring the deep longings of our hearts. Through this sermon series, the Lord has beautifully reminded me of the many ways in which my desires point to my ultimate desire for Jesus. Along with this realization, reinforced each day in my study, my longings have brought me to another word. That word is BEHOLD.
“Behold” is a word we come across in Scripture, yet brush past quickly, without contemplating its meaning. “To behold” could be paraphrased as an encouragement (or an imperative command) to stop and focus. Using the word "behold," Scripture is telling us to stop and redirect our gaze so that we don’t miss the beautiful weightiness of…something. This advent season, the Lord God, through his indwelling Spirit and His timeless Word, has been calling me to slow down so that I don’t miss the beautiful weightiness of Jesus.
Our family has tried to do just that. We’ve tried to adjust our schedule this Christmas. It has been a blessing, though there continue to be reminders of the many distractions which keep us from beholding.
Last Saturday brought about one such reminder. Ironically enough, Anna was trying to tell me about the concert she and our daughter had just attended, aptly titled “Behold the Lamb.” As she described the glorious birth narrative put to music, I found myself struggling to focus. You see, one of our sons was watching something on ESPN. Whatever it was…and the fact that I can’t remember is telling…I was interested in it almost as much as I was interested in what my wife was telling me.
I found myself straining to focus on the words Anna was speaking. In that moment, I was wrestling through this strange experience of knowing I was distracted, knowing the shallowness of my distraction, straining to stay focused, and then being even more distracted by the reality that I was straining. Phew! It exhausts me even to write about it.
Can you relate? This advent, our family has tried to consciously limit our distractions, yet they still come in the smallest of moments. We struggle to behold, even when the Object of our beholding is Jesus. But, when we can’t seem to fight the distractions, our God is gracious enough for us to confess our struggle to him, that he might be the one to empower our beholding.
On that first Christmas night, the shepherds had no idea what the angel of the Lord was saying when he told them to stop, and turn their gaze upon the beautiful weightiness of the Savior. This Christmas, I can’t comprehend the magnitude of this miracle either. But I do know that Jesus is far too glorious to settle for a quick passing glance. So I pray there is not just room in my schedule, but also room in my heart, that I might BEHOLD him. I pray the same for you.