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Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to witness the celestial celebration that took place in Bethlehem the night 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. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, NIV).

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. {Mind. Blown.}

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.

Let’s Pray

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.

Now It’s Your Turn

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. Leave a comment and we would love to pray for you.

More from the Girlfriends

There are so many voices vying for your attention it can be hard to sift through the noise and focus on what really matters during the Christmas season. The Graceologie with Gwen Smith podcast will help you move from distracted to directed.

Directed to hope. Directed to truth. Directed to clarity. Directed to grace. Directed to Jesus. Click here to listen now.

© 2020 by Gwen Smith. All rights reserved.

24 Responses to “Held by Hope”

  1. Esther says:

    Held by hope is what I need praying for. Hope God keeps me strong to seek the answers to my circumstances I’m going through. That my child and granddaughters will come to heal from their hurts & wounds towards each other. That they will embrace each other again with open hearts that God can give them.
    There are two babies in this story (my great grandchildren) that need to see them come together and know what a loving family can be. Thank you for your prayers God bless

  2. Shelley says:

    I am clinging to God’s hope during this time. I am separated from my husband and we just lost our daughter in utero. I am trying to grieve so much loss during a time that should be filled with joy. We have a five year old that truly needs me, so I cannot give up. I am clinging to God although my heart is in anguish. I am requesting prayer for restoration for our family. Thank you all for your prayers!!’

  3. Michelle says:

    Complete mental health for my 17 year old son.

  4. Vivian Sarver says:

    I need prayer for my friend Maria… She has MS and is really having a hard time right now. I visited with her yesterday and saw her deterioration due to her illness. I asked her if she prays and she said, “Not really…” I asked her to pray for healing and for hope and strength. My family and I prayed for her last night and will continue to do so. Please pray for Maria to have improved health, hope, and strength as she battles this illness. Thank you so much for your prayers. May God bless you…

  5. Vivian says:

    I need prayer for my friend Maria… She has MS and is really having a hard time right now. I visited with her yesterday and saw her deterioration due to her illness. I asked her if she prays and she said, “Not really…” I asked her to pray for healing and for hope and strength. My family and I prayed for her last night and will continue to do so. Please pray for Maria to have improved health, hope, and strength as she battles this illness. Thank you so much for your prayers. May God bless you…

  6. Judy says:

    My prayer is for peace and wellness…not just for me but for the world.

  7. carol says:

    Gwen:
    Loved your prayer this am. and the quote “Jesus is the hope that changes…our broken into beautiful.”
    My prayer is that God sees our complete brokenness and has mercy with us, to give us peace and healing.

  8. Michelle says:

    Jesus is my hope during this holiday season. My husband died 5 months ago. We were married for 24 years and he was 56 yrs old. My heart is broken into a million pieces. But we serve a loving God who is the only one who can heal it❤️. My family is doing alright this Christmas but there is definitely a large missing piece who will not be with us at dinner.

  9. Hope R Cornwell says:

    To say that your daily words are encouraging is an understatement!! Father God’s strength and love can always be found in your devotions. Thank you.

  10. Laurie says:

    I join Judy’s prayer for the peace and wellness of the whole world. This is the first Christmas our son will not be with us and we will not be with any family, just the two of us. I know we are not the only ones, but that doesn’t seem to stop the hurt and emptiness. The feeling of being so alone. I pray for the presence of the Christ child to fill that void.

  11. Beverley says:

    “Emmanuel, always with us. Always loving us. Always inviting us to find comfort, refuge, joy and hope in Him.” These words really spoke to me this morning. I need to remember that the God I trust is truly trustworthy. Thank you, Gwen, for the words God gave you to say today.

  12. Dianne D George says:

    Thanks for the Devotional today.
    I need Hope today that this pain and emptiness would ho away. I lost my husband on November 28th to a brain tumor and buried him on December 12th. We had been married for 44 years and wetecin ministry for 44 years. I cant see going through Christmas without him. He made Christmas big for our family of 4 children and 5 grandchildren.
    I dont know whatvthe future holds. I know the Word, but everything seems empty.

  13. Lynne says:

    I am in need of prayer for my daughter and her two sons to have peace this holiday season. She is in the process of divorce from an alcoholic and addict that also struggles with honesty! I am fearful for their safety. I live 5 hours away and feel helpless. I’m praying constantly, but would appreciate more prayers, please . Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  14. Pam says:

    This year I have known sickness as never before. I work in a long term care facility where we lost 19 of our beloved residents to Covid. I knew them. I know their families. The loss and grief has been extensive for us all. It has been difficult this year to find the Joy in Christmas. My mind and heart are tired. I covet prayers for peace and returned joy. Joy comes in the morning. I just hope she doesn’t go to the wrong house. 🙂 Prayers appreciated.

  15. Chetachi says:

    Whenever i remember that i have Jesus Christ, it gives me a lot of joy. Thank you My heavenly father for the precious gift of your son.

  16. Debbie says:

    Though this premise of being where Jesus was born is a wonderful thought, the actual manager is NOT what most envision. When I first visited, I was utterly shocked to understand the translation of manager and the depiction of His birth. I take groups to Israel (a ministry, not a business) and we don’t go into the manger area anymore as it is to disheartening. I do show a photo of it for those who are interested. The concept is lovely but the reality shatters our view and all the stories we’ve read. It’s OK to know what is real but some would prefer to stick with what they believe is real and that’s ok too in this case. I wish I had.

  17. Susan says:

    I’m at home with Covid so far 6 days and mild symptoms pray no one else in my family gets it. I lost my mother in August with pneumonia but her testimony was so strong I know she is rejoicing this Christmas with God and the heavenly hosts. I enjoy your devotional messages daily thank you and God bless you!

  18. Terri says:

    Lord, I believe, but help me in my unbelief! I cling to the hope that my 23-year-old, homeless son will find freedom from his heroin addiction and mental illness. Please pray for him. Please help me pray for peace and patience as I await revelation of God’s merciful and gracious purpose in this trial. I don’t want to lose my son to addiction and mental illness. I struggle not to worry and be afraid yet I know I must remain faithful and hopeful.

  19. Bonnie Crabb says:

    My friend’s husband, Alex, is in ICU with Covid. He’s on a ventilator and sedated. It’s been almost a month now. My heart hurts for what she is going through. It’s so hard because she can’t visit him and talk to him. My prayer is for God to wake him up and help him to breathe without the ventilator. And for God’s continued comfort, strength, and assurance for my friend, Linda. Thank you and God bless.

  20. Trish says:

    I am clinging to hope, for myself, my husband, and may daughter. We almost lost my husband in 2019 due to a sudden illness. He is not disabled, and COVID came right on the heels of that trauma. God has been faithful, yet we are weary. It is hard to hold on. Please pray for us.

  21. Trish says:

    Praying for your son and you mama!

  22. Teresa says:

    I lost my job on December 4th. I am single and in my 50s and finding another job seems very daunting. I have been praying daily that God will lead me to my next opportunity and it will be bigger and better than ever before. Thank you for your constant reminders that God is good and gracious and providing.

  23. Bernadette says:

    I thank God for His Sun Jesus. My prayer is that I will remain faithful to God.

    Amen

  24. Deborah. Bright says:

    I can relate to every comement on here. Separation loneliness sickness death of a loveone depression children with addiction a son in prison. But God is in it all with me. Keep praying trusting God he will bring us all through. I think of Peter when in doubt. Jesus beaken Peter to step out of the boat. When Peter did he was walking on water. He looked at the surging waters and begin to sink he called out to Jesus. Jesus reached out to Peter. Covid-19 job loss sickness death raging water ECT. cannot will not separate us from God. He is with us. Praying for all of you. Thank you Gwen for the prayer. God bless you.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8