Why behold?

“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…(Colossians 1:10-13)

What a terrific way to greet the darkest day of the year – being reminded of having been delivered from the domain of darkness! Paul’s statements are outrageously expansive, powerful, and otherworldly – in the very best of ways!

Each year I heartily look forward to the time between All Saints and Epiphany. Yet as it winds to its close, some of the glimmer seems to disappear. I cannot say it’s an entirely personal phenomenon, or if there’s a collective melancholia that sets in, or a case of seasonal affective disorder due to living in a not too sunny part of the planet. But does that really matter? How it’s addressed does matter.

Some even now celebrate the hegemony of darkness in its cosmic and symbolic form, as the Winter Solstice marks the time of greatest darkness. I choose to see it somewhat differently, focusing on what happens about three days after the Solstice. We commonly refer to it as Christmas.

Christmas has its correspondences with the Easter story, if we can scrutinize that idea just a bit. Here’s how I see it. After three days of what appears to be the victory of darkness, the Son rises up out of it, triumphing over it, to begin His reign in earnest upon the Earth – ever increasing in His strength and glory. Here He comes, piercing the darkness with the brightness of His arising! Somehow this thought makes the “SAD” disappear. It’s a view that absolutely catalyzes the “manufacture” of “spiritual Vitamin D”! Deliverance from darkness!

If we look around us, it appears that darkness struggles to maintain its vicious hold on the minds and lives of people and the world itself. But the “Word” (made flesh Who dwelt among us) went forth, piercing that darkness two-thousand years ago. Could it be that it is only a sort of”blindness” to it that keeps us from seeing how near and present His work of spiritual liberation from darkness really is? Or is the blindness due to turning away from the Light, refusing it?

The more we focus on the darkness which is passing away, and not the Light Who has come into the world, the less we perceive His truth, His reality, and all that He offers us – from the unlimited and eternal resources of His Reality of infinite and unconditional Love. So, dare we to conclude that where we choose to put our focus may determine our experience?

There is a choice to “behold”: either we choose to behold the Light and Fire of His all consuming Grace, or we choose to behold the freak show circus of a construct which is passing away. It’s said that where the focus goes the energy flows. So I must ask myself, where is my focus? What am I beholding?

Oh, that phenomenal, outrageously powerful word – almost a command – “Behold!” “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” cries out John the Baptizer. The angels greet the shepherds with it as the Christ’s birth lights up the world, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people…” Even Pontius Pilate on that darkest morning calls out, “Behold the man!”

The invitation comes from everywhere at all times, sometimes even the strangest of mouthpieces: “Behold Him!” Look more deeply! See what’s really right here right now. “Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:1-4)

For to behold is to draw nigh unto God, and it is promised that as we do so, He will draw nigh unto us. Behold Him then, in Whom redemption and restoration are sourced!

Today – the day when it is the darkest day of the year – I’m moved to spend as much time as possible in a scripture search for wherever the directive “Behold!” is used. This is an exercise and a study for turning away my focus from the darkness of circumstances and limitation, to the Truth and Light of the Son wherein is found the radiance of every blessing and more, addressed in our initial opening Scripture focus for this contemplation. I invite you to go back and read it.

Dear reader, you are invited to join in the beholding. Could it be that the Holy Spirit wishes to draw our beholding, our focus, away from the darkness of circumstances which are passing away, so as to “re-turn” us toward the glorious brightness of the Son, the Daystar Who arises in our hearts, and all the beauty and goodness that are to be found in Him? Could it be that He would like to give us a glimpse at what “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”(1 Corinthians 2:9)?

Perhaps we might then realize, as we behold by faith (far more powerful than natural sight, or the focus on the finite self!), that the greatest gifts are already on the scene, yet unseen, and waiting to be opened?

All glory to Emmanuel, God with us! Now and forever. Amen.


(Originally published here:


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