I know it’s Christmas, but there’s a chorus from a song sung at Easter that’s been ringing in my ears for weeks,

“Behold, the Lamb! Behold the Lamb!

Slain from the foundation of the world; for sinners crucified

Oh, holy sacrifice!

Behold, the Lamb of God! Behold the Lamb!” (David Phelps, Behold The Lamb)

Behold. Stop what you’re doing and pay attention. I’ve got something important to tell you.

I love the word behold. It actually has a very simple definition, to see, lo, but because it’s an imperative it has a very definitive meaning, “when a thing specified seems to be impossible and yet it occurs.” 

Wow. I think I like this word A. Lot. Why don’t we use it more often?

Just askin’…

Behold is an imperative used many times in Scripture, but I love that Dr. Luke uses it in his biblical account of the birth of Christ. Of the four Gospel accounts, Luke gives us the most beautiful details of Jesus’ birth, including an amazing birth announcement to humble shepherds by heavenly angels,

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10, 11 

I could go into a dozen different directions here, but I won’t. This is blog. Not a dissertation so let me just say how much I love that the angel appeared to lowly shepherds. Don’t miss the fact the message was for all people, but a Savior is a very personal thing. That’s why the angel said, there has been born a Savior for you


I don’t know about you, but this is a behold-moment.

Who doesn’t need some tidings of great joy these days?!?

Me!! I do! I do!

I think the shepherds needed it more than just about anybody. They were considered the lowest class of society, living virtually all alone out in the open fields. They used rocks as pillows. They had the b-a-a-h’s of sheep to keep them company by day and the twinkle of stars at night. They had no money. No home. No hope.

And then came, Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…

I’m seriously having a stop-and-pay-attention-moment right now. Because the news that a Savior was born in the town of David is bigger than just about any news I’ve ever heard. EVER.

Except for maybe one. And the apostle John records it as a behold-moment in his Gospel (and, by the way, you do know that gospel means good news? right?),

“The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” John 1:29

I think John the Baptist needed this moment more than just about anybody. He lived out in the desert wearing camel’s hair. He ate locusts. He had no money. No home. BUT…he had something the shepherds didn’t…John had hope. His whole purpose in life was to prepare the way for Jesus. His whole message was one of calling the people to Behold.

John and Jesus were cousins so he knew Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. He believed it so much that he preached like a hell-fire-and-brimstone-preacher-with-no-time-to-waste and people flocked to hear him proclaim this good news. Because, you know? People need hope. People will always need hope.

Like the angels who brought good news to the shepherds out in the fields, John’s message was one of good tidings. A message for all people. For the shepherds of this world. For the John’s. For me.

And you.

Behold! Christ is born!

Behold! The Lamb of God!

You can’t have one without the other. They are the same. Savior. Lamb.

And I am just so full of GREAT JOY that I can hardly stand it. I’m having a behold-moment right here at my computer.

I need to hear the good tidings of God made into flesh.

I need to hear that the Son of God was born to a humble girl of meager means.

I need to know that Joseph loved Mary and the baby within her conceived of the Spirit enough to risk his own reputation and good name for the sake of God’s good name.

I need to know that Jesus wasn’t born in a palace but a stable and laid in a feeding trough for a bed.

I need to know the angels announced Jesus’ birth not to the rich, the powerful, and the elite but to the poor, the weak, the common.

I need to know that Jesus grew “in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God and man.”

I need to know that Jesus was baptized, not because He ever sinned, but because He wanted to be obedient to His Father.

I need to know that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin.” 

I need to know that Jesus gave His life for me, the spotless Lamb of God. He died a cruel death at the hands of heartless men, was buried in a tomb made out of rock, and BEHOLD! He was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of the Father and for those who call upon His name He gives eternal life.

BEHOLD! I bring you good tidings of great joy.

For all people.

A baby born. A Lamb slain.

A Savior lives. And because He does, so does hope.

There are no better tidings than this in all the world.

Please…stop what you’re doing and pay attention! The shepherds did.

And so do I.

To Hear The Angels Sing




There are sounds and voices here on this earth that are pleasant and beautiful to the ears. I wish I could hear them all.

But there are also sounds and voices that aren’t so pleasant and I’m not one bit sorry I can’t hear them. They make me sad. Sometimes they make me angry. Sometimes they make me grieve and sorrow and weep. Who wants to hear sounds like these? I ask you…

One of the things I love about this time of year is the music that rings through the air. The songs of Christmas are some of the pleasant sounds I love.

There’s one Christmas carol we sing in church that, ironically, doesn’t speak of the birth of Christ. It’s speaks of a different kind of sound. It speaks of the song of angels. There’s this crazy part of me that likes to imagine the voices of angels singing. Serenading me. Soothing my soul and spirit.

Maybe because I don’t hear well it’s easier for me to imagine the sound of a heavenly chorus, a host of angels praising God and singing.

It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth, To touch their harps of gold;

‘Peace on the earth, good will to men,’ From heav’n’s all-gracious King.

The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing. (It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, Edmund Sears, 1849)

A midnight clear…

How pleasant is that? One of the best parts of my day is when I take my dogs outside one last time before I go to bed. I look up into the night time sky with a deep longing inside me. A longing for quiet, a longing for peace, a longing for a stillness this world cannot give me.

There’s just something about the moon and the stars all shining brightly against a pitch black sky. I thank God that I live outside city walls where no smoke or smog prohibits the wonder of it all. The wonder of a peace beyond understanding, of quiet beyond comprehension, of rest beyond appreciation. It’s in this moment that my world lies still and I can hear the more pleasant sounds of life.

The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing…

How beautiful is that? There’s just something about a night time sky that can bring a calm to the soul and spirit. A stillness that can’t be taken away. I don’t need perfect hearing to appreciate the sounds that speak to the very corners of my heart, where I long for a word of peace, a world of good will.

Who of us doesn’t need peace in a world that seems to have gone mad? Who of us doesn’t long for good will among men in a world that seems bent on vengeance? Who of us doesn’t crave calm in a world that breeds chaos?

Oh, Sweet Jesus, it’s why You came. To give this peace. To give all that is pleasant and good and right. All that is quiet and rest and calm.

“For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing…” Isaiah 30:15

Maybe that’s why the carol, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, is so different. Sprinkled throughout, like the light of the stars in a pitch black sky, are verses like these,

Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long; Beneath the angel strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong; and man, at war with man, hears not the love song which they bring; oh hush the noise, ye men of strife and hear the angels sing…

All ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, Look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing: O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing…

Hush the noise…O rest beside the weary road…

When the voice within me wants to cry out, Lord, Stop the madness! Put an end to the chaos! Lighten the load! Give this repentance and rest that brings peace in Salvation! Grant this quietness and trust that brings hope in Strength! Lord, I don’t want to be unwilling!!!, I hear Him say to me, Hush. Rest. 

You know that last gaze into the sky at the end of the day I love? That’s the kind of hush this Christmas carol is talking about. It’s the kind of calm that’s possible even in the midst of a mad, mad world. There’s a wonder in this and this wonder has a name.

Jesus. He came into this mad world with a star shining brightly into a calm, clear night. He came into a time on the kingdom calendar when God’s people were oppressed, striving hard for their daily bread, walking down weary roads with great toil; discouraged, distressed, despondent. Into this madness, Jesus came. And when He did, the angels sang.

They sang in spite of strife, of war and rumors of war, of crushing loads and wearisome toil, of painful steps and forms bending low. In the midst of discouragement, distress, despondency.

Because when Jesus came, with Him came this perfect peace for all who believe in the gift of His salvation because Jesus IS peace. This peace is worth singing about. Worth singing for.

I want to sing this song with the angels.

Because this is the peace only Christ can bring. In the stillness of the night, He still speaks to the soul and spirit. In the darkness of the night, His glory still shines brightly to the weary and worn.

Maybe that’s why I can hear the more pleasant sounds of life. Maybe that’s why I can hear the songs of angels singing,

When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.

Sadly, peace will never fully be realized between all mankind on this earth, but the peace of Christ is still very real and one day peace will reign over all the earth. The whole world will sing this song together in perfect harmony, but until then it’s a song that reigns in my heart and I can hear its message loud and clear…

because the angels still sing this message of peace and when I look up into the midnight clear, I can hear them.

And who needs perfect hearing for that?