The Birth Of Hope

The man, Jesus.

I love the visual of Jesus reaching out to His disciples. With outstretched arms, He called them by name. “John. Peter. Paul. Come, follow Me.” And one by one they ran—with reckless abandon. How could they know the gift Jesus offered would transform their lives and countless generations after them? In faith, they believed He was God’s son. The Messiah. And so they remembered the story told decades earlier about a babe born of a virgin in a lowly manger. His coming signified the birth of hope for all mankind.

Imagine His voice; tender but powerful, soothing and confident. The called dropped everything and didn’t look back. They left homes, families, and responsibilities—to follow without question. No doubt, bystanders said they were fools. I’m sure a few loved ones did too. If it happened today, many would say, “You guys are crazy.”

Can the birth of hope change hearts?

~Photo courtesy Pixabay ~

These men chose to follow. They ventured into the unknown with longing souls and starving minds. A call to a new life filled with the hope of eternity and sharing this hope with others inspired them. The adventure beckoned them to journey over the edge of their ho-hum reality and far beyond their dreams. The birth of hope rekindled the hearts of man. It ignited their souls with passion, goodness, and light.

With blind trust, goosebumps, and heart-stopping moments, this motley crew faced obstacles and their worst fears along the way to life-long friendships and brotherhood. Jesus called them onward to feed multitudes and upward to dance on mountaintops. He led them to the treasure of true fellowship. And then, when the time was appointed, He brought them to a dismal place where they had to choose not to doubt, but believe.

I want to re-imagine those scenes in my mind until I die. If asked why, I’ll say, “I want to share the story of the One who inspires me.”

~ Photo courtesy pixabay ~

All that is within Him and more

Therefore, I cherish the moment His Word first pierced my heart. That surreal realization of how, in the blink of an eye, my countenance changed. Though I thought I knew His Son, Jesus, all my life— my spirit soared—at the unfathomable thought, forever changed.

This amazing gift

God’s son holds my eternity. His unconditional love, grace, and mercy covered all my sorrows, shame, and mistakes. This awesome gift of comfort and joy has the power to calm choppy waters and set captives free.

 Forgiveness and reckless abandon

~ Photo courtesy pixabay ~

When He called me out of the water—I ran. Forgiven became my new name. Whether we’re in a hospital awaiting bad news, zip-lining off a mountain’s ledge, or walking into a lion’s den, we don’t need to fear. Okay, for me it wasn’t a lion’s den. It was a cougar’s. A humongous cougar’s labyrinth-mazy-sort of living space. Really. I kid you not. I’ve done all three.

Those are only a few of the times I’ve journeyed over the edge of my normal white bread living to become an adventurer or survivor of the darkest of gray days—even when I couldn’t catch my breath from the overwhelming fear—I’m incredibly thankful I faced the unknown with the maker of heaven, earth, and all things in between, beside me—in every situation or season, He’s always faithful. I call Him my promise keeper. God helps me in times of dire need or even when I’ve thrown caution to the wind.

He sent His son to be born in a manger, to carry the sins of the world on His shoulders so we might live. This gift was free and undeserved.

~ Photo courtesy pixabay ~

The hope of the world

If Jesus is the hope of the world, how is it possible that we sometimes retreat, fall like prey to insecurities and fears, or at times refuse to forgive others? He hasn’t changed. God forever stays the same. This Savior fills my spirit with faith and joy and dreams and words. He believes in the ugly me when I should remember, love, and believe the beautiful everything about Him.

Above all else, He is more than we can ever ask for or imagine—much more than what we think Christmas should be. So let it be for God’s glory that we might run faster indeed, toward this hope we have in His son, Jesus—the greatest gift worth sharing.

~ Photo courtesy pixabay ~

For unto us a child is born, unto us, a savior is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas!

Joann Claypoole

Joann Claypoole is an author, speaker, master stylist/colorist, and former spa-girl entrepreneur. She's a wife, mother of four sons, “Numi” to four grandbabies, doggie-mom of two. The award-winning author of The Gardener’s Helper’s (ages 5-9 MJ Publishing2015) would rather be writing, hiking in the mountains, or inviting deer and other wildlife to stay for dinner near her western NC writing retreat. Visit her website: joannclaypoole.com and WordPress blog: https://joannclaypoole.wordpress.com/

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