“Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9)
“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth…” — God, Isaiah 42:1
“Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” — Angel, Matthew 1:23
“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” — Angels, Luke 2:9–11
“Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” — Simeon, Luke 2:34–35
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” — John the Baptist, John 1:29
“Behold My hands…” — Jesus, John 20:27
“But we all, with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord…” — Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:18
“Behold, I make all things new.” — Jesus, Revelation 21:5
Behold is an old-fashioned word, isn’t it? I like it, though, because it seems like a word fashioned for our new-fangled hearts.
We are to behold…to stop, notice, watch, pay attention, savor, ponder, wonder, inhale, slow into, be stilled.
Behold is God’s imperative shout to us.
He shouts to us to stay lively in the places within that are asleep, lulled by comforts, agreements, mottoes, and addictions that we don’t even notice anymore, which, in turn, keep us from noticing God’s presence in every moment of life.
I don’t know about you, but I’m good at forgetting, at not paying attention. Subtly or blatantly, I ignore Jesus, the Life of God, and His invitations to heart-life with the Almighty Three-in-One.
I wake up a bit at the start of something new, don’t you?
That’s what I like about the start of a new day, a new week, a new month, a new year, especially the Church year.
Let’s trace the track of the Church year.
Advent, the Church’s New Year, arrives with invitations to behold: wait and watch the One who came and comes and will come again.
Christmas celebrates Christ’s birth.
Epiphany focuses on the Magi’s gifts to Christ.
Ash Wednesday begins Lent, the solemn penitential time of remembering the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert and seeing how we too wander off from God, and beholding how God keeps on coming for His beloveds.
Holy Week presents Jesus’ sacrifice so we could have forever-real-heart life, and Resurrection glistens on Easter.
Pentecost offers ongoing life with God in the Spirit’s Presence.
Thus, through the Church year, we are called to behold.
Behold Jesus in all the seasons of His life, as we behold the manger’s Baby, Boy, Teenager, Young Man. Behold: birth, life, death, and life forever!
God tells us throughout the Old Testament to Behold the One who is and is to come.
In the New Testament, angels join the beholding chorus; Simeon and John the Baptist, among others, lift their voice as well.
So as we move through Epiphany, the question I am sitting with, and I invite you to is:
How do we behold Jesus?
Did we just behold Him as a part of that past hoopla of the Christmas holiday season then rush on along, forgetting to keep on beholding Him?
Or do we really stop and behold who He is right now in the middle of Epiphanytide?
I find that when I looked at the Baby in the manger, I could not help but look back to the prophecies about this Messiah-Baby-King-Savior-Lover-Shepherd-Light-Lord-Resurrection One.
Likewise, I cannot but look forward to what is to come as proclaimed in Revelation about a new heaven, a new earth, a new life because of this One who left heaven to come down to earth to invite us to True Life.
However, if I only read about who Jesus is, and quote Scriptures about His life, I would say I have not fully beheld Him, for to fully behold Jesus is to experience over and over, in every moment of my up-and-down life, that Jesus desires me as He desires you.
He wants us actively engaged in heart relationship with Him.
How I behold Him shifts how I do life.
I want to know Jesus, not just in my head, but also in my heart, not just on Sundays, but every day.
Jesus is astounding. He is real. He is alive. He offers life to the full.
Read again the Gospels.
Behold the rich wild heart of Jesus.
My hope for you and yours today in the middle of this ordinary week and in every day to come is this:
Be holding Jesus.
Be held by Jesus. He is Life itself.
Featured photos are courtesy of Brian Yurasits, Amanda Phung, and Zack Minor via Unsplash.