Held by Hope

Gwen Smith Blog, Christmas, Devotions, Hope 43 Comments

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to witness the celestial celebration that took place in Bethlehem the night Jesus was born?

To see angels fill the sky, to hear the voice of God through the cries of a baby.

To catch a glimpse of the brilliant Star of David, and to satisfy my curiosity as to what exactly a host of heavenly angels sounds like.

To soak in the amazingness of it all.

Oh, and to talk to Mary!

Wouldn’t that be incredible to hear what she was thinking as she witnessed, and took part in, the greatest miracle ever known to man? This baby she gave birth to was God-in-the-flesh… a true bundle of perfect love. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

What do you think she treasured in her heart as she took it all in?

I’m struck by this thought: As Mary held the Hope of the world, the Hope of the world held her.

The baby born in a stable that holy night long ago is the Hope of the world, the Grace that saves us and the Love that heals us.

Jesus is the Hope that changes our worthless into precious, our guilty to forgiven, our hungry into satisfied, our empty into full and our broken into beautiful.

Jesus is Emmanuel, our Lord of inescapable presence who is with us and for us.

The psalmist David was amazed by this when he wrote to the Lord, “If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:8-10).

Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, and it’s Him who “holds us fast.”

After His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said to His followers, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Emmanuel, always with us.

Always loving us.

Always inviting us to find comfort, refuge, joy and hope in Him.

Ponder that! Just as it was with Mary two thousand years ago, Every believer is held by Hope today because we are held fast by Jesus, our Savior who will never leave us or forsake us. No matter the circumstances, not matter the diagnoses, no matter the financial struggle. Our faithful LORD is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and our souls can find peace knowing that in everything we’re held by Hope.

Dear Lord,
You are my Hope! I join the psalmist today in praying, “Sustain me according to Your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered” (Psalm 119:116-117a). I’m leaning into Your heavenly grip today.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

What would it look like for you to allow Hope to hold you today?

NEED PRAYER? Friend, I know that as sweet as Christmas is, it will be hard for many of you this year. Pain is no respecter of persons, and loneliness can find us in a crowded room. I pray that you will find comfort in knowing that God loves and sees you. The comments section of my blog will be a wall of prayer today. Join me there. We’d love to PRAY with you.

Love you guys,
GWEN

PS. I’m so excited for you to listen to the newest Graceologie Podcast episodes with Wendy Speake (The 40 Day Social Media Fast), Shaunti Feldhahn (Find Joy), Lara Casey (Growing an Intentional Life) and Jamie Grace (Finding Quiet)! Soooooo much depth – and fun – and wisdom – and practical help! Seriously. You should listen.

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Comments 43

  1. Thank you. Hope is something we always need. My hope now is to pray for those who are hard to embrace in my family.
    That all the past hurts can be resolved and healed with God to guide them. I’m a foster great grandma to a 3 yr. old. I need God so very much to persevere in this path with great wisdom, patience and discernment. Amen

  2. Aloha Gwen& team
    My name is Arleene I am from Kapolei Hawaii We have had 3 angels that God has called home this year* In April mom Paulita 96 years passed she had a full life she was a devoted Catholic who was kind and loving I am the oldest of 7 children. * A single parent raised 4 children a military ex-wife. I was Blessed to have 15 grandchildren. My oldest grandchild Micah became an angel 20 years ago at 18 months he passed in my arms. 3 weeks ago, I lost my job due to cut backs from Covid-19* On Nov 29 my nephew said goodbye to his daughter who lived for 4 days they donated Hannah’s heart to save another. I was on the airplane on Dec 4th for WA to visit my youngest daughter and family, I received news when I landed that my younger brother passed away suddenly of cancer that was undetected. He left behind 2 young children Bronson & Bella & a loving wife Vangie . Please pray for our families my brother Raymund 59 years old *Hannah’s parents Jeremy & Morgan Batalon & our Batalon family to have peace during these times. Mom & dad raised us to be resilient & strong Christian family. Jesus has kept our hearts in his hands & sends angels. I love listening to your Graceoligie podcast & reading your words of Love Hope & wisdom which have held me up during these times. Be well, Be safe and God Bless you all with sunshine & laughter * We will get through this *God is Faithful & his promises are abundant Shalom *Ar of Kapolei Hawaii

  3. My dear friend and sister in christ, Carolyn, had a stroke and appears to be paralyzed on her left side. Recovery will be long and hard. She is also handicapped. She is a long time follower of this bible study and I know she’d welcome prayers. We are located in southwest texas. He husband isnt real healthy and she is their family matriarch the glue. She is 2 1/2 hours away in hospital too right now.

  4. Every year at Christmas time, it’s painful and lonely for me. I lost my dear Dad 4 years ago and it still feels like yesterday. He’s not with me at the dinner table giving advice on my cooking or telling us stories of his youth. I miss that but most of all I miss him and his voice. God took him home as his health was failing him, he died from colon cancer. Worse part was no one was with him in his bedroom when he died but I am sure the angels were there to guide him home to his heavenly Father, yes my Dad was a believer, so thankful for that. But it’s left such a whole in my heart that it hurts at every holiday – Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I would love prayer that God would comfort me and sustain me through these days. I love your articles and look forward to reading them. Thank you so much and may the Lord continue to bless and keep you!!

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  5. My heart is heavy., I’m hurting,, scared.. My 38 yr old daughter just found out she has an aggressive form of breast cancer. It doesn’t look good. My older sister died from the same kind of breast cancer. And my younger sister was diagnosed 2 years ago with breast cancer. Please if anyone would like to pray for her, her name is Sara. She has a 6 yr old and an 8 yr old. A single mom. Thank you.

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  6. Facing the 2yr anniversary of my husband’s ‘Home-going’ in a couple weeks. Asking God to supply an extra measure of comfort during this time. Knowing where he is and that he is more alive than he’s ever been makes our separation much easier. God has been, and continues being, so very good.

  7. Thanks so much Gwen for your continuous encouragement to me especially in this season. Please pray with me for is to get finances to help us back to business. We lost our family business and it’s hard for us with children and have to feed. We trusting God to provide even in this Christmas season. God bless you.

  8. Thank you for your everlasting love God! Thank you for this opportunity to pray with my fellow man through Gwen. I am blessed. We are blessed. I am humbled as I come here. Bless each and every person reading or writing here to know you intimately. You know the innermost desire of each person. Touch them Lord. Release them and make them whole. Make them fervent for you, living surrendered to you, trusting you in everything they do and say. May their everyday life reflect you in speech and deed. Help us to relinquish all control to you. Grant us wisdom through your Holy Word. Give us courage to carry out your love in every situation we face. And please teach us gratitude despite our situations. We hold tight to the hope you gave us …your beloved son Jesus. Amen.

  9. Your words uploft me every time I read them. Its like you know just what I needed to hear today. I’m so thankful for this devotion. Please pray for me. I’m dealing with some health issues and feeling very afraid and anxious. Prayers for good results. Thank you so much!

  10. Good morning

    I have been gripped by thoughts of suicide for a very long time now. On 17 July I overdosed on sleeping pills and antidepressants. My husband found me just in time. I went to a psychiatrist hospital for a month but it didn’t help at all. I pray on a daily basis for healing from my depression, anxiety and panic attacks without any joy. I feel hopeless and as if nobody hears my screams for help. I’m lost, jobless, don’t have any money and am afraid that the calling for suicide is closing in fast. Please help me!!!!!!

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    2. Maryke,

      You are in my prayers. I know how it feels to feel hopeless. Just know that you are dearly loved and take one day at a time. Try to find joy in today. Don’t think about the future or the past. Look for the little blessings in each day. Even just seeing a pretty flower or a butterfly. Watch the sunset and remember God loves you enough to create something so beautiful for you!

  11. Please pray for my husband, he is bound by the snare of pornography and is trying to overcome it, please ask The Lord to open his eyes to see how disgusting this habit is and that it is an abomination to Our Lord Jesus!

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  12. Healing for my marriage with a husbands open and willing heart.
    May our familys hearts be softened and hungry to grow in our relationship with God.

    1. May God bless and keep you Faye! I understand this. What’s been helping me lately is understanding me more. Desiring to love and serve my hubby as opposed to having any expectations of him. Then I got to understand who my hubby is. I realize that I can’t change him. I focus instead on the things I love and enjoy about him. I’ve given the whole matter to God. And try each day to operate from God’s perspective: how he loves and forgives ME daily. Like who am I??Then I try with my hubby. Trust me, as mere man, this is not easy (I’d have to show you my diary for you to understand lol). But I live surrendered, so every little and big thing, including (not limited to) wanting a prayerful life with my hubby is brought to God. Then I leave it there! And I’m grateful every step of the way. He loves God but he never grew up openly initiating and worshipping with his family, so it will not suddenly come cause I want it. I knew that going in, I just always thought I could change him and that’s where I was wrong. I can only change me. So as much as I want it from him, I initiate worship and he is willing. I don’t know your hubby so I can’t say if everything will apply….. but God be with you love! I pray for you wisdom and clarity and a continued desire to serve God.

  13. Pray for my 38 yo son with mental health issues and lots of anger, that he will get the help he needs. Also that he will reconcile with his brother after a huge shouting argument today.

  14. Please pray for my family especially my oldest grandson that he will be honest and keep in contact with family. He accepted Jesus as a young child . He has been out on his own and we don’t know really what he has been up to. Pray he will meet someone who will direct him to the Lord. Thank you so much for your prayers and I will trust God.
    God Bless

  15. I have asked for prayers before but I would like prayers for my husband who was
    diagnosed with “neurologic dementia”. Yes it is driving me nuts and crazy and I am trying so hard to bring Jesus into it even more but he seems to totally forget all that. He has been a Catholic for 50 years and I struggle how you can lose that. I try to just read the bible to him and point some things out but he does get upset and nasty some times. So yes I need to be selective and careful. Thank you lots

  16. I volunteer with an organization that works with the homeless. We just had a pregnant mom loose her twin babies over the past 2 days. Her name is Monique. Keep her in your prayers.

  17. Please pray for my family during this time of cover. Please pray for strength and wisdom each day, and especially for my son.

  18. Please pray for a miracle in my family two grandsons who are out of control with ADHD an aethiest son in law and daughter going thru menopause soo stressed
    Some so far away from our Lord
    Please also pray for my grandchildren in America who are not learning anything about our Lord in the schools as they have been allowed to
    Take Christianity out of their schools heartbroken about that
    Thankyou soo much God Bless🙏

  19. Praying for a friend , Stephanie, her husband of 5 years died from ALS . His funeral is today. Praying for comfort and peace.

  20. This Christmas, my birthday, New Years will be very difficult. My Mom is near the end of her journey here on earth. She loves the Lord, her Savior and is ready for eternity with Him. God closed the door on jobs for me starting in 2003. My Mom and I felt God showing me my job was to help my parents which I did. So this is even more painful. My Mom bought me a condo so I would not be homeless as she went into assisted living. My siblings are 1 and 2 hours away. I do not want to be in town alone. I need a job but also need to work out what is best (staying in town alone with the security of the condo or trying to find work/a place to live near my sister in a small country town). Please pray as the family tries to decide the best way to honor my Mom’s life in this new world of covid. She talked about a service but as most of her friends are elderly and she has not been able to be in contact for awhile, we are not sure if we should just have a graveside service with 25 people. Thank you for caring about those who are lonely and hurting this year.

  21. Prayer for peace and rest.my Adult single mother needs boundaries but is so angry and feels ok with lashing ou t with me . It’s to a point I want to just walk away from the relationship but I know it’s not what Jesus would do and I would lose my grandsons.

  22. Prayers needed for my niece who wondered off left the Lord, that she will come back to her senses back to a strong relationship with God!

  23. Thanks always for your lesson and personal sharing! Thanks for bringing us back to Mary that she had hope in Jesus.? This is one of my anchor scripture during these challenging times

    Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV
    You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock …

  24. Prayer needed for’
    Friend whose husband is having triple by pass heart surgery hopefully today
    My sister who lost her husband on Christmas Day last year. Our Dad went to heaven in July of this year so it is double loss for her
    Another friend whose husband died this past week of cancer
    Thank you for your prayers.

  25. Asking prayer for Faith. Hurting from a divorce from extremely violent and sexually active father of 2 beautiful girls. ( now ages 8 and 10). Now he has gained 50/50custody. Faith knows the Lord. But has been shaken.

  26. My name is Amy. I am a 30 yr old single mother to a 1 yr old and 2 yr old. I left a very abusive, toxic relationship in February. I have found so much encouragement from your blogs as well as girlfriends in God. I would ask that you please lift myself and my 2 children to the throne as we are fighting a custody case this Christmas. I covet your prayers. God bless!

  27. Amen🙏 Praise God!✝️🙌 love how our Lord talks to us. In this blog, it said” Jesus is the Hope that changes … our broken into beautiful. And I not long ago saw an image that said: “From broken to beautiful God does that”. Hallelujah 🙏✝️❤️😇🙌

  28. Needed this, thank you. Need prayer for healing manifestation..my body is going off and I keep praying I will live & not die. I covet anyone’s prayers. May God be glorified 8n my body

  29. My prayer request is that my 39 and 38 year old daughters would call me this year on Christmas. Heather and Tiffany have not spoken to me for many years. They want nothing to do with me. I have not seen my 12 year old granddaughter since she was seven years old. [My twin grandchildren’s daddy received custody so we will spend Christmas with 12 year old Emily and Julian for the first time in 5 years- an answer to prayer!]. We saw out 11 month old granddaughter Auzriana for a weekend for Thanksgiving. Another huge blessing and we are thankful for her. Her daddy, my son Andrew needs a good job. My son Bill and my son Andrew have absolutely no interest in Jesus or in the church or His Word. So there are my deepest longings of my heart- my prayer requests. I also am nearing the febd of treatment for my breast cancer, I have kidney disease and struggle with bipolar depression. ❤️Terri

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