Until I met Dan, I had only flown in cabin of a plane, never in the cockpit. We started dating a short time before and dating a pilot came with a whole lot of crazy! For one of our first dates, Dan needed to deliver a plane to Memphis. The plane he was flying had no passengers so he invited me to sit in the co-pilot’s seat.
Being seated in the cabin, a distance from the captain, gives us a small, limited view, a partial perspective of where we are and what is going on around us, but on this trip, I had been repositioned. As I sat next to the captain, my eyes were opened to a new, larger perspective. I was amazed at the view from the cockpit It was wide and expansive. The captain had invited me closer, and my perspective changed because all of a sudden, I was closer to the captain.
As we approached the airport, the sky became dark. We hit turbulence, the rain began and we were close to landing. I looked at Dan, watching for his response to this storm. What I saw was a calm, collected captain, fully in command of the plane, fully confident in his ability to get us safely on the ground, even in the storm. While all I saw was darkness, Dan saw beyond. I was closer to the captain. It gave me a new perspective on the journey, but even with the new perspective, I realized quickly, I still could not see it all.
The captain could see much more than I could, even in the dark. Where my eyes failed, his did not. At just 200 feet from the ground, we broke through the clouds and we were right on course, lined up with the runway. Just a few seconds later, the plane was safely on the ground.
I remember being amazed, not by the storm, but by the captain. Regardless of where I was positioned, even as my perspective was broadened, there were still things that he could see that I could not, especially in a storm. It made me want to know the captain more.
There comes a time in life when we are no longer content to sit at a distance from the Captain, a time when we realize that our limited view is not all there is to see. Coming closer to the Captain gives us new perspective, His perspective. He invites us to come close, to see a new perspective, He invites us to behold.
Beholding is different than seeing. Seeing uses our eyes in the physical sense but behold, it takes seeing further. Behold is a command. It means to gaze upon intently, to witness or contemplate a thing or a person, especially a remarkable one. Beholding causes us to take our gaze off what we can see and fix our gaze on what we cannot.
As I read through the Christmas story this year, I was amazed that each one at the manger the night that Christ was born, had been told, commanded to behold. Each one had been repositioned from a ‘far off place’ to a new, closer position, to a place where they were face to face. They were beholding Jesus. Beholding changed their perspective. It took their eyes off of their natural circumstances and put their eyes on the One they were beholding. The story at the manger was greater than what they saw with their eyes.
Mary… Mary was engaged and planning a wedding. One visit from an angel changed it all. She found herself pregnant and unmarried. What she could see in her circumstances would cause chaos, but Mary was told to behold. Don’t fix your eyes on what you see, Mary. Trust Me in the unseen. There was a greater story behind what looked like chaos. God had heard the cry of His people, the Messiah was on His way. Mary, behold what I am doing in the unseen. Gaze intently on it, because what is ahead is remarkable.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
Joseph… Mary’s news to Joseph shook his world. His eyes were fixed on what he could see, but God sent an angel in a dream with a behold moment for Joseph. He could not understand what he saw but God was repositioning Joseph, bringing him closer. While his circumstances caused chaos, God said come closer, see what I see. Behold, Joseph, don’t miss what I am doing in the unseen places, just because you don’t understand what is happening in the seen. Behold. See beyond. Trust Me. What I am doing is remarkable.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit…. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:20, 23
The shepherds… They were in their fields doing what they always did. What they could see was life as it had always been, doing what they always did. God was leading them to a place with a new perspective. He had a behold moment waiting for them. He was bringing them closer. They were beholding Jesus.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. Luke 2:10
Each one was repositioned closer, each had a new perspective. They were all beholding Jesus. Beholding led to a holding. They were holding Jesus. That holding changes each of us today.
God is calling us to behold Him this Christmas, to leave the far off place and move closer. He wants to expand our vision past the seen into the unseen, even when it is dark, even in the storms of life. We are called to take our eyes off what we see with our eyes and we are to behold Jesus.
Do you feel shaken by the stuff of life? Have you fixed your eyes on your circumstances, on what you can see? Fix your eyes on what unseen. Trust Him in the unseen places. If you feel shaken this season, come. Come and BEHOLD Him. Beholding Jesus changes everything.
About Laura Piraino :
Laura Piraino is a wife, mother, teacher, conference speaker and pastor. She is currently on staff at Trinity Community Church in Hockessin, Delaware. Her greatest passion is teaching God’s Word to women with the purpose of empowering them to stand on the Word regardless of the challenges that come their way. Visit Laura’s website at overwhelmedbyGod.net.