Our friends Jenny and Peter recently posted a collection of the sweetest photos announcing their pregnancy. Baby onesies and ultrasound pictures were pinned to a clothesline they held between them. What joy to see their smiling faces and to wish them congratulations on this good news!
We make a big deal about baby announcements in our culture. It seems like every week I see some adorable photo on Facebook or Instagram announcing a “bun in the oven” or revealing a baby’s gender in a unique way.
I also had the amazing experience of being with close friends when they received the good news their baby was born in a hospital nearby and adoption papers were being finalized. After a long journey with infertility, this news was full of rejoicing. This good news proclaimed a message that beauty does come from ashes.
Friends, are you longing to behold some good news?
Maybe it’s been a hard year for you. Maybe you’re stuck with a diagnosis. Maybe you’re grieving the death of your husband. Maybe your arms feel empty as you are still longing for a baby. Maybe you are spending the holidays in the hospital with a loved one. Maybe you are feeling bone-weary from all the news of shootings, destructive fires and floods, and war in our world.
Are you wondering if there really is any good news anymore?
In Luke 2:10, the shepherds receive the ultimate good news. They were watching over their sheep one night when an angel appeared to them. Naturally, they were frightened by the glory of God shining all around them. They weren’t expecting this news.
The angel said:
“Fear not, for 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 2:10-11 (ESV)
The word ‘behold’ precedes the most important announcement ever made: the good news that a Savior has been born. The shepherds behold the good news by going to Bethlehem to see for themselves that this announcement is true. Then they spread the news about Jesus.
In John 1:14, it says the “Word became flesh,” reminding us the good news wasn’t just about a baby coming. The good news is that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament. God sent His Son born of a virgin to sacrifice His life and redeem all the bad news on earth.
‘Behold’ is one of those words splattered across many pages of the Bible, but we often skip over it. The original word ‘behold’ in Aramaic is a verb that means “to see or witness.” It’s a reminder to pause, to look, and to listen. ‘Behold’ urges us to stop striving and just be held by our Heavenly Father so we can begin to see things from His bigger-picture perspective.
That’s exactly what Joseph was urged to do. He was engaged to Mary when he learned of her pregnancy. He planned to divorce her quietly as an act of compassion in what could be a disgraceful situation. Matthew describes the scene:
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20 (ESV)
Talk about big news. I’m sure Joseph wasn’t expecting that whopper. The word ‘behold’ in these verses is a signal to stop and shift perspective. Things were not as they first appeared to Joseph. Mary was not being promiscuous; God was the Author of this unexpected story.
I am awed by Joseph’s humble obedience. The Bible simply says when he woke from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded (Matthew 1:24). He trusted and stepped forward with a new sense of calling. His bad news was turned to good news by a God who saw him and cared deeply for him.
Let us lean in together and remember that Christmas is a time to behold the good news, the greatest news, the best news in all eternity. Behold, Jesus is our Savior. He came to reveal God and all His glory to us. He came to rescue the exploited, to revive the weary, to restore the brokenhearted, to reclaim the marginalized and redeem all who believe. He will take us to Heaven one day for the grandest Christmas celebration.
In the meantime, we are called to be messengers, reporters, ambassadors of the good news like the shepherds were. God has been teaching me I need to tell my story and bear witness to His work in my life every day. I can do that in a conversation with my children in the car, a meaningful interaction with someone on social media, a quick story I share in line at the grocery store, a talk I give to a women’s group at a church, or a kind word shared with a neighbor. Let’s consider how we can behold the good news in our circles and live it out for people to see.
How can you behold the good news this Christmas?