Behold is one of those words; it flips everything on its head. Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son... He (Joseph) decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
Behold. All you thought was not possible is- what you perceived as the only way was not... and so God enters our lives.
I found myself shopping at a local market the other night. After a long day of work, I wandered the aisles take in the scene as I picked up the necessary goods on my list. Walking along, I passed a gentleman giving out free samples. "It's a spreadable goat cheese" he said as he handed me a tiny cracker to taste. I gladly accepted his offer and then he looked at me an inquired, "What is your necklace?"
I looked down at the silver cross and globe around my neck. For a moment I thought of the length of the day so far and the mixed reaction my response could provoke. I pushed that all aside and responded. "Oh this? It's an insignia. I'm a Sister of St. Joseph, we all wear one."
The man paused, taking in what I had just said. "Oh. I had the Mercy nuns growing up in school" he said "but it was the Saint Joe nuns who I really loved."
He went on to tell me about how as a young cheese monger just getting his start he found himself connected with our Sisters and the joy it had been to grow in relationship with them as they valued his trade and came to know him over time. Our conversation continued, as they often do, with discussion of faith and life and the intertwining nature of them both. Then just as I was about to leave his table to continue my shopping, John asked me if I was going to be in the store much longer. I hadn't planned on it, but seeing the urgency in his eyes I said I thought I'd be perusing a little while longer. "Good" he replied "I'll be right back."
And with that he disappeared into the back and I continued through the aisles of the little store. A few minutes later he came to get me and led me back to his station. And there, next to the spreadable goat cheese, he began to reading a poem to me. Behold. A cheese monger reciting poetry, a gentle presence within such a big man seeping out like the mystery-soaked words of John of the Cross he spoke. His powerful hands gripped the paper, a poem meant to connect us on that dark night in December. Expectant waiting personified; Emmanuel between us. Behold he seemed to say.
Behold and be held. God seemed to say, this is the time to be turned on your head...to see everything turned right side up.