A Season of Hope
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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6.
As we sat around the kitchen table at the homeless shelter, we lit the purple Advent candle that symbolizes hope and talked about the great reason Christians have to hope. We talked about the hope the prophet Isaiah gave the world when he foretold the birth of Christ. We talked about the eternal hope that Jesus gave after he came to earth and promised to return and take us with him. We talked about how that eternal hope surpasses the condition of our lives on earth.
Even the condition of illness.
Even the condition of job loss.
Even the condition of domestic violence.
Even the condition of just being released from jail.
Even the condition of struggling with an addiction.
All of the conditions that lead to homelessness.
We made lists of things that we want and things that we hope for. We talked about the things we hope for this week, this Christmas season, next year, and for the rest of our lifetime here on earth.
We talked about our next life in Heaven and what it will be like to see Jesus face- to-face. We tried to imagine what it will be like to go where He is. We talked about the hope that believers have that someday Christ will take us to our permanent heavenly home where there will be no more illness, no more job loss, no more sin, no more homelessness, and no more death.
As we talked, the peace that passes understanding replaced expressions of worry on all the ladies faces.
And it was then that an uninvited guest showed up. He loves to do that. He loves to ruin a party. He loves to steal our joy. He loves to remind us of sins that our Father tells us He has forgotten. And he did just that as he reminded one of the ladies of her past sins. And her expression of peace melted away as her face drooped with sadness.
In a small voice she shared, “I know I’ll be there. I know I’m going to Heaven but I have a feeling I’ll be in the back of the crowd and won’t be able to see Jesus. I’ve just done too many bad things in my life."
And then another lady chimed in, “Yeah, me too. I’ve done too much. I know I’ll be in the back too.”
“Why would you think that?” I asked. “If all the sinners have to be in the back of the crowd, that won’t leave anyone to be up front with Jesus! He’ll be all alone.”
They slowly smiled. They just needed a reminder as do we all in this season of Advent. We have hope. We have the good news of great joy that is for all the people.
In the town of
Father, thank you for the hope we have because of the wonderful gift of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Susan Shelton Dollyhigh was born and raised n the small, quaint town of
Susan uses her inspirational stories as teaching tools at The Shepherd’s House, a homeless shelter for women and children. Susan has a passion for the homeless and for the last four years has taught a Bible study at the shelter.
Susan never intended to become a writer. She never intended to write even one story. But God intended for her to share her life and personal experiences as He restored beauty from the ashes of her life. She is very humbled that God would chose to use her to share the message that His power is indeed made perfect in weakness.
Susan is a free-lance writer and columnist. She was recently announced as the grand prize winner in Women of Faith’s Shine the Light Contest and the story appeared in September/October issue of Connection Magazine.
Please visit Susan at her website: www.InspirationfromMayberry.com. (Currently under construction)