A Christmas Message
I remember growing up and being our church’s annual Christmas play. Most years I got stuck playing the part of one of the shepherds. Probably because that was one of the easier parts, but that was probably a good idea on my teachers part. Back then I use to never think that the shepherds were an important character in the story. But this year, the shepherds are actually my favorite part in the story. So I’m going to start out by reading the passage where the angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Fear not, Behold I bring you good news of 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 2:8-11
Fixing Your Attention
As I was reading this passage this Christmas the word “Behold” seemed to jump out at me. I’m a word girl because I love looking up the original meaning for words in the Bible. So I got out the Greek lexicon and found the original translation used in this passage and it’s the word “idou” which means to fix your attention to.
This word particularly has really stuck out to me this season because Christmas is a time where we can so easily get distracted in the busyness, the traditions or even the mundane during this time of year. That’s why I love seeing the shepherds in this moment because they seemed to be on both sides of that spectrum. It started out that this was a normal and boring day for them. They were doing their nightly traditions of being out in the fields to watch their sheep, probably finding ways to pass time. And it turned from a boring night to the craziest night where an angel came up out of nowhere and appeared to them!
That’s why I love this angle’s response to them when He says “Fear not, Behold…” It’s almost as if he was saying to them “Look, I know this was just a normal day to you and I also know right now this is very overwhelming. But behold, fix your attention on the good news of great joy that will be for all people! For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”
Just like a lot of us, the shepherds had a lot to be distracted by during this encounter. However in that, they had to intentionally fix their eyes on what was really important for this season. I think that’s why the shepherds have been the character that has stuck out to me most this season. All of us a kind identify with the shepherds during this time. Either Christmas is crazy and overwhelming or it’s just like other normal day. But wherever we are on this scale we have to be intentional to behold and fix our attention on the greatest joy.
Beholding Through the Craziness
If you’re more the type of person that thinks Christmas is crazy and overwhelming, I get you. Maybe you’re running around still getting presents at the last minute, or maybe you’re trying to speed clean your house before people come over. Maybe for you this is the time of year you are moving 77mph and you don’t feel like you have time to breathe. If this is you I want to encourage you that maybe beholding this Christmas can be a time of slowing down where you fix your attention on what’s important. Beholding for you can look like intentionally separating yourself from the craziness and the things that easily distract so that you can fix your attention and affections on the good news.
Beholding Through the Mundane
Perhaps you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum. For some people, Christmas can feel like just a normal day. Sometimes this time of the year for families can be very difficult. Christmas can be a time that reminds us of loss, division in family or other struggles that we have gone through. Those feelings can make Christmas feel like another mundane and normal day. If this is you, I want to encourage you that maybe beholding this christmas can be the one thing you can get excited about this year. Maybe beholding this Christmas means fixing your attention not on the things you don’t have, but on the greatest thing you do have. The joy of Jesus coming to us and staying with us.
Whichever side you find yourself on this season, I encourage you to stop and behold. Fix your attention and affections on the greatest joy that has come and is available for every single person. Emmanuel, God is with us, was born. The Savior of the world came, defeated death, saved the lost, tore the veil and no longer were we under separation from God. Behold, God with us forever!
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