Have you ever picked a word for the new year?
A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to this concept. I tried it last year, and I decided to try it again this year too. I wanted the word to act as a base for my activities for the year.
So, this is the word I chose: Behold.
I’d love to share why I chose this word with you. I don’t know how it will play out through the year, but this concept is what I want to be the foundation for my school, my relationships, and my walk with God.
Noah Webster defines “behold” in this way: “To fix the attention upon an object; to attend; to direct or fix the mind.” 
Behold simply means to fix our gaze on God with a worshipful attitude.
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
I love how David’s greatest desire was to gaze upon (or behold) the Lord. He wanted to enjoy God’s presence for all eternity.
So, what does beholding encompass?
Beholding implies beauty.
This year, I want to slow down and behold the beauty of the Lord. Two main ways I plan to focus on His beauty are through His creation and through His Word. He is a masterful Creator, and I want to praise Him for the beauty that I see.
Usually, I consider a day to be productive when I’ve accomplished a lot of work. But this year, I want to value the busyness less. I want to stop and enjoy God simply for who He is, to behold the beauty and glory of the Lord.
Beholding includes rest.
To behold, we must rest from work. Beholding includes loosening our grip on the to-do list. This is a hard aspect for me, because I’m task-oriented. But in looking at the example of Jesus, I see how He took time away to commune with His Father and His disciples. Throughout His ministry, Jesus withdrew to desolate places even when the crowds expected to see miracles. Spiritual rest and physical rest are both important in beholding the Lord.
Beholding indicates delight.
Noah Webster defines delight as “A high degree of pleasure, or satisfaction of mind; joy. That which gives great pleasure, that which affords delight.” 
We can’t behold properly if we don’t take delight in God. This year I want to focus on delighting in God through His Word. I love to study the nitty gritty details of Scripture, but I also don’t want to miss the big picture of what Scripture is really for—a chance to fellowship with God.
Beholding God stimulates us to reflect His glory. Here are a few ways I want my life to reflect Him this year:
Meditation means “to think over,” and this year I want to think over Scripture verses and what they mean in my life. I desire to reflect God with my thoughts.
I want my art to be an expression of the Lord’s grace. I want to respond through art and creativity to the beauty I see in the Gospel.
When I see the Lord’s beautiful work in my life, I want to respond with gratitude. He has given me a rich life, and I desire to cultivate a heart of thankfulness for His blessings.
When we behold God, we realize what is truly important—His people. One of the ways we fellowship with God is by caring for His people. This year I want to intentionally cultivate my relationships with others.
The act of beholding, on the surface, seems like a waste of time. But, in reality, it is a beautiful way to reflect the Gospel. Beholding focuses on the extravagant grace of God poured out on us. He didn’t have to love us or save us, but He did. And we in turn worship and adore Him for that gift. Beholding is taking time to worship.
This year I want to behold.
Have you picked a word for the year? In what ways do you want to reflect the Lord this year? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!