5. BEHOLD: Our Beholder

It’s easy to get too busy during the Christmas season. Many of us have a ton to do, people to see, plans to complete, and the deadline of each celebration to face. In the midst of the busy, it’s just as easy to peel our eyes from Christ to gaze instead at our many lists and calendars.

For many of us, there is no effort involved in removing Jesus from Christmas. We are not consciously trying to discard the reason for the season. Our gaze simply isn’t fixed on Him because we’ve got so much else we’re looking at.

Ironic, right? While celebrating Christ, we struggle to do what would seem most natural at this time:

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”

Hebrews 12:2

Though we decorate to honor His birth and sing carols to remember and praise His arrival, we’re often too busy beholding the wonders of beautiful traditions and earthly joy to gaze in awe at our Lord.

Yet He is never too busy, distracted, or caught up. Our Lord, whether we gaze back or not, has fixed His eyes upon us.

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous”

–Psalm 34:15

“I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8

The pioneer, author, and perfecter of our faith delights in beholding us. Our creator, our heavenly Father, has fixed His eyes on each of us –just as the sparrow.  He can behold us with awe and wonder because His work in us, often in spite of us, is awesome and wonderful.

Imagine –in our carol-singing, house-decorating, card-exchanging, and stressed-preparing moments, He is beholding us in love. From those same places, we can gaze back at Him.

Behold, the one who beholds us.

Behold, the one whose eyes we can meet because Christ has made it so.

Behold, the perspective of the perfect One.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Genesis 1:31

4. BEHOLD: The Victor

A downside of the Christmas season for many of us is the tensions that arise. Wars fought in families surface and emerge during holiday celebrations. Emotions are heightened as a “perfect Christmas” backdrop stands in stark contrast to what many actually face.

Culture wars are waged over the different types of celebrations (and holidays) that people participate in. The lonely and the bitter often enter into battle with those around them who are caught up in what seems unrealistic or unfair joy. A spirit of competition arise in stores buying presents. There are even wars in our hearts over jealousy and greed.

Ironic, almost, that during the season of peace so many of us are so often at war. Even moreso, that we enter into battle while celebrating the birth of the victor. Christ reigns victorious.

When we think of Him coming as a boy, we picture a peaceful baby and a peaceful manger scene. But in fact the war was won through that baby. His arrival was a declaration of war to the enemy. And He came, in His words,

not bringing peace, but a sword

Matthew 10:34

We read that, and then we read:

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace.”

Ephesians 2:13-14

The one who is victorious, even over death, is also peace Himself. The sword and the peace are bound up together. The good news for us is that the sword He brought and the peace He is have won.

Through the battles we fight during Christmas time, we do well to remember that. He came as righteousness, piercing the soul and dividing right from wrong perfectly. He also came as our peace.

He’s won the war that engulfs all others –even our family battles, even our cultural tensions, even the sin in our hearts. That picture of peace reigns victorious.

Behold, peace Himself and the sword He brings.

Behold, our commander in every battle.

Behold, the victor who has won the war and leads into new life forevermore!

3. BEHOLD: The Restorer

“Now may the God of peace,

who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great Shepherd of the sheep,

equip you with everything good for doing his will,

and may he work in us what is pleasing to him,

through Jesus Christ,

to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Hebrews 13:20-21

Of the many things that Christmastime is, one of the least noticed is that it is a time of restoration. It’s during this season that families and friends restore relationships that have fallen apart or been set aside, dormant.

Those who have walked into darkness and despair can more easily find at Christmas the restoration of light –even just a flicker. We call it the season of hope and joy for a reason.

This is also the biggest season of giving to right wrongs in the world. During December, people try to restore a sense of humanity to a culture that thrives on putting self above life itself.

This restoration comes because Christ has come. More than just revived from dormancy or here to right the wrongs, God restored Christ from the grave. The blood of His covenant brought Him back from the dead.

In the cold of the winter and the lonely, sorrowful moments of the season (and reflecting back on the tragedies of the year) we find that in God sending his son, He made a way to bring us back from the dead too. That little baby was more than a new life or a new form of God as man…He was life and He was the newness that we all get to enter into.

Now, like the beautiful decorations and traditions we strip down just to clean up, dress up, and delight in anew, the Lord restores us too.

Behold, the one who came to restore us, bringing us back from the dead.

Behold, the one who restores us to a place of praise.

Behold, the one who was restored by God for our sakes’.

This post is being shared on: #DanceWithJesus and #LifeGivingLinkup.

2. BEHOLD: The Promise Keeper

There’s something about December that draws up the dreams in our hearts. Maybe it’s the sappy music and the happy advertising everywhere. The nostalgia of beloved traditions, fine decorations, and lights glowing everywhere stirs up joy -and hope.

In this season of dreaming, we’re apt to make promises and ask for them. “Promise you’ll come home in time for the party” we say over the phone. “I promise you’ll love the celebration this year,” we say to the loved one who is concerned with the memory of last year’s holiday drama. In the midst of the magic of Christmas, we mean it. But we’re only able to keep so many promises. And others can only keep so many that they make, too.

As it stands, for most of us, Christmas can also be a time of disappointment over the broken promises. The good news is this. During this time, we’re beholding the promise-keeper.

“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” –Acts 2:39

That promise is the promise of salvation, realized in the very one we celebrate at Christmas. When Jesus came as a baby, He kept the promise God made thousands of years earlier. That promise is still being kept today.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9

Through our many dreams, praise God for His patience and faithfulness. If He has begun it in you, He will bring it to completion. He will not leave any promise half-filled, nor make any promise that isn’t perfect.

If the Lord makes a promise, it is good, and He will make good on it!

Behold, the Lord whose promises are kept for eternity.

Behold, the Lord whose promises are kept in unexpected ways.

Behold, the Lord whose promise is the most important for everyone, in every way.

This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday

1. BEHOLD: Our Comforter

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3

As the weather gets colder and the season busier, we tend to seek out creature comforts. Big, soft blankets get piled on couches. Rooms are decorated and dimly lit to provide a warm, inviting glow. The seasonal food we enjoy is comfort-based, most of it served toasty and sweet.

Think of your favorite Christmas-time comfort. God designed it.

In all the little comforts we find, we also find the comfort of God.

Comfort, at its core, isn’t pretty and polished. We don’t find our comfort in glistening, freshly cleaned rooms or at fancy dress-up holiday celebrations. It isn’t in the gift-giving or the busy-busy of preparing for the perfect Christmas.

Instead, comfort is found in messy, flour-dusted kitchens where cookies are still baking. It’s in the tired, wet hugs of loved ones who have traveled to visit.  Our comfort comes from the crooked Christmas trees that took comedies of error to put up but warm us when lit in the evening while watching that worn-out old video that we know every line to.

The comfort the Lord provides is like that. Familiar. Given as a part of the tradition, the promise, that He is here and He cares.

“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.” –Psalm 119:76

Our comfort is found in a straw-stuffed manger, in someone else’s barn, not according to our perfectly-laid plans, but according to that promise: He is here! And He cares!

Behold, the comfort of a newborn baby.

Behold, the comfort of the Lord with us.

Behold, the comfort of the familiar, a promise remembered year after year.

This post is being shared on: #WomenWithIntention and #TellHiStory

25 Days of Beholding the Lord

There’s a lot to be said (and done!) in December.

 

Comfort for the lonely during this time of constant reminders of family and togetherness.

Wise reflections on the arrival of Christ and His impact on our lives.

Advice for traditions, planning, and keeping up with the busy schedule.

Celebrating and preparing for winter as it forces its way in.

What strikes me this Christmas season is that even amongst the busy, the heightened emotions, the anticipation, we have the chance to be stayed. Fixed upon. Frozen still in awe. Because during this celebratory time, we have all the more frequent opportunity to BEHOLD.

behold

Behold –Christ has come. The lamb of God. The light of the world. The hope of nations, king of kings, and prince of peace.

What does that mean?

For the next 25 days, I’ll be writing shorter, daily posts about what we have to behold and what beholding is. Check back, please!

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory