Held by Hope

Gwen Smith Blog, Christmas, Devotions, Encouragement, Faith, Grace, Love 8 Comments

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to witness the celestial celebration that took place in Bethlehem the night that Jesus was born? Now, I’m a bit fussy about fashion, but I’d even consider donning a shepherd’s garb and hanging out with a few sheep for that opportunity! 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.

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

I’m struck by this thought: As she held the Hope of the world, the Hope of the world was also holding her. {Mind. Blown.}

The baby born in a stable that holy night long ago is the Hope of the world – the Grace that saves us – the Love that heals us. Jesus is the Hope that changes our worthless into precious, our guilty to forgiven, our hungry into satisfied, and our empty into full. His presence is inescapable.

Many dismiss Him, but the Bible assures us that we can’t get away from Him. The psalmist, David said: “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).

The Bible also tells us in the New Testament that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, and that He “holds us fast.” Relish that thought. The Hope that holds us is Jesus Christ.

You and I are held by Hope.

In the Old Testament, God told Joshua that He would “never leave or forsake” him (Joshua 1:5). God says the same to us. He 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). We can breathe deep knowing that in everything we are held by Hope. {TWEET this!}

held by hope

After His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). My girlfriend Mary Southerland often reminds people that the word “always” actually means … drum roll please … “ALWAYS!” {You’re welcome.}

He is always with us.

Always loving us.

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


Holy Father,
Thank You for sending Jesus, my Hope, to forgive me, to love me, and to restore me to Your heart. 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 hug today.
In Jesus’ name, amen.


Are you allowing Hope to hold you? He’s waiting with His arms open wide.

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. My blog and Facebook page will be pages of prayer today. Join me there. We’d love to PRAY with you.


Many of you know that my dad has struggled with complicated health challenges over the years.  Last Friday afternoon he took his last breath here on earth and his first in heaven. My family and I were with him to the end. Our time was precious. The funeral and memorial service were yesterday (December 22nd). We laughed, cried, hugged everyone in the tri-state area, ate and shared story after story in celebration of his life. He lived life to the full and I am grateful to have had Jerry Eisaman as my daddy. My life will never be the same with him not here, but I rejoice in the peace I have because he knew and loved Jesus Christ… he is finally fully well and I look forward to the day I see him again. Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I cherish the honor of doing life with you.

Merry Christmas, friend.

In HIS Hope,


Comments 8

  1. Gwen I pray for you and your family, I lost my husband of 24 years marriage and 4 beautiful girls l, we lost him January 27th 2015, the last couple months I have been in deep with emotions I miss him so much today I read my email and felt the need to reply only because I know and believe in pray and I’m asking for prayer to depend on Christ through these days and next month and future, I love our Father Gid and I believe it’s just so hard to accept my husband is gone, I miss him so and yes I know I’ll see him again but right now in this moment I’m having a hard time and it’s so hard to keep my strength up for my girls. I feel selfish when others are in more need than I but I am in need right now. Thank you for listening, your Sister-n-Christ, RobinS

  2. Oh, honey, I’m sorry. The loss of a Dad leaves a devastating hole.

    This line really spoke to me: “As she held the Hope of the world, the Hope of the world was also holding her.”

    May you find comfort and peace as the Hope of the World holds you too.

  3. I’m sorry for your loss, Gwen. You have a wonderful perspective on loss. My life has changed since both parents died unexpectedly six months apart and I handled the estate and negotiated between my two older siblings. My husband is the very quiet sort and we have no children, but two rescue dogs, a rabbit and some hens. I go to visit the latter when I need to hear conversation! I’m praying about changing Bible study groups as the one I’ve been in is dysfunctional and drug addicted. I know our time is short and we should be about our Father’s business and I’m wondering what that will be in 2016. Thank you for the reminder that God is our hope, holding onto us.

  4. I am sorry for your loss. I lost my dad when I was 11 years old but he was such an incredible father (as yours was) that even that short time taught me much about men, relationships, commitment, and love. I would ask for prayer for my family, please. My older son is currently in a detox program and we will not see him for the holidays. His addiction is something we never thought we would love through. My husband is struggling greatly with the circumstances surrounding our son and has made decisions to deflect his pain that may destroy our marriage. Please pray for us. I know that our God is a merciful, loving, and generous God for whom nothing is impossible. Thank you for your prayers as I know they are heard. Please pray for restoration for all of us. In Jesus’ sweet name I make my requests. Thank you.

  5. I, too, was blessed to be with my dad when he took his last breath almost two years ago. I understand the depth of your loss and also the joy of knowing our loved ones are with Jesus. Joy and hope to you and your family this holiday season!

  6. Thank you Gwen for your beautiful words of encouragement, to remember what that night must have been like.I pray for you right now, in the midst of your sadness and grief, why does that so often have to happen at Christmas time. Father thank you for holding Gwen and her family in the hope they have of her dad knowing you and the comfort and peace that brings. Be with them this season full of comfort and love. Thank you Lord for sending Your Son to this earth to die for us, to forgive us and give us the salvation that we have only in You. Thank you for your grace to help in time of need. You alone are Immanuel, God with us. Praise You Lord. Help us all to be restored in our faith and love for you this Christmas season.

  7. Please pray for me – the trial I am walking through right now threatens to break me – the grief, despair and betrayal cut like a knife. I choose to believe God is bigger than all I see and feel. Thank you for your prayers! May God bless and keep you!

    1. Dear Lord, I pray for my sister, Michelle. You know the details of her trial and the weight of her burdens and disappointments. Jesus, You said that we should come to You for the rest we need when we are overwhelmed – so I bring her to You. Please lift the weight of her burden with Your strength, hope and healing. Please give her clarity of thought, wisdom and joy. And please remind her today that Your plans for her are good – to give her a hope and a future… and those plans are realized as we walk closely with You. Thank You for being a God of compassion with never-ending love. Hold Michelle with Your love today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

      Christmas blessings,

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