Despite the Christmas lights coming down, I’m determined to cling to “The Light of the World.”
I’ve always been mesmerized by Christmas lights. I delight how their Christmas cheer mirrors the angel’s glad tidings of Christmas joy: The Lord Himself bringing Light into the darkness.
Frankly, our living room is a lot less cheerless without these festive lights. Now, I don’t mean for this to sound overly melodramatic, but isn’t it at least a complementary picture of trying to live life without Christ in view? Rather cheerless. Perhaps hopeless. If I’m not careful, how easy would it be to skip right along in life in this same way, without Him in view? So I’m still pondering Christmas.
And I’m fixated on this theme of “behold.” More than just a topic, “behold” is a way of life. Behold equates to action.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:8-10)
“Fear not.” “Behold.” These verbs are calling my name. These are imperative verbs. This is a call to action.
First, “fear not.” Meaning? Do not be afraid. Do not be anxious.
Honestly, is this even possible? Did telling the shepherds, “fear not” really help them to “fear not?”
The daily news, the doctor’s report, a financial statement, a rocky relationship, wayward children, wayward spouses, job woes, an unknown future that seems dark and murky? The unsettling list of “BIG” scares is endless.
Furthermore, if I’m perfectly honest, it’s not just the big scares that scare me. I sometimes find myself ridiculously anxious over little things.
Jeepers! I can even become anxious over imaginary things! Does that ever happen to you?
I remember discussing this idea with a group of village women in Mozambique, “If your teenager is late coming home, what thoughts go through your mind?” We made heart connections that day because their thoughts matched my own imaginary thoughts. Imaginary thoughts feel super scary.
Hence, Paul first exhorts us to think on those things that are true:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
For Job (last week’s blog), his worst fears came true. That was real suffering. Not just imaginary.
Whether real or imaginary, life can be scary. Downright frightening.
Accordingly, the command: “Fear not” is followed by: “behold.” The shepherds are given something other than the darkness to consider. Look! See! View The Good News. Of great joy.
The shepherds weren’t taken out of the darkness. Rather, they were given Light. Light illuminates the way. Light provides cheer and joy.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Rather than focus on the darkness in and around us, we’re called to behold the Light. “Fear not, for behold…”
A call to action. A call to joy.
Lord God Almighty, I praise You for Good News of Great Joy!
I praise You for revealing Yourself through Your Son, Jesus Christ, to simple people like shepherds. To simple people like me.
I praise You that in the midst of the shepherd’s daily cares and in the midst of darkness You made Yourself known.
I praise You that Your glory still shines through the dark, the mundane, the daily, the dirt, the odor, the noise and messiness of life.
I praise You for being the Light in the darkness.
I praise You for being God, but I also praise You for becoming man and personally knowing our fleshly poverty. You understand the hurt, cold, dirt, odor, noise and physical need. You arrived in a stable.
I praise You that Your Good News is for all the people… for poor, broken and needy people like me.
I praise You for hope.
Lord, I confess my fears to You. I need You. I declare that You, Jesus, are Lord.
Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Good News. Thank You for being my Light in the darkness.
As the holidays have passed and the Christmas lights come down, may I yet behold You. May I yet seek You with a grateful heart.
Lord, You amaze me. You exchange my darkness, for Your Light; poverty for Abundant Life; fears for Your Peace; and sin for Holiness. I cannot fully comprehend You and Your ways, but what reason for joy!
Lord, may I live to know You. And then, like the shepherds, may I live to praise You and glorify Your Name.
Prayer for others:
Lord God, shine Your Light into the darkness so that ______ may behold You and live to praise and glorify Your Name.
Please join me as I seek to know, behold and authentically relate to God through His Word. Praying through Scripture, I’ll offer simple prayers that praise and glorify His Name.
Together we’ll learn to fear not, to behold Him and to live with abiding joy.