“And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)
No angel in sight right now bringing us that startling announcement he brought to Mary. No light filling our room or surprising us with a face to face encounter of the heavenly kind. And yet, the riveting message Gabriel delivered to Mary is for us – most especially this Christmas when it’s easy to get humbugged by the prevailing distractions.
“The Lord is with you” precisely where you are, facing your own irritating scenarios with their uncertain outcomes. The Lord is with you and will not abandon you just because circumstances are troubling and life hard. Amidst the extra measure of hustle and bustle demanded now, when your funds and energy are lean to non-existent and time comes packed with bulging pressures, God speaks through his familiar story to infuse us with hope.
God sent his divine messenger to reinforce Mary’s trembling heart. He reassures us with the same promise: “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). From God’s perspective, nothing can hinder his work, nothing can prevent his will being accomplished or prevent his care encircling us. He made a list of the “nothings” in case we need reassurance: “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
At Christmas God made sure to fulfill his pledges, even the ones he made 800 years before his Son arrived on earth. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:23). Now is not the season to forget who he is and what he is capable of.
Immanuel is more than a name.
It is God’s bond and guarantee that he is for us and always will be. He overturned the impossible to bring about the Savior’s birth. Christmas is the perfect occasion to not simply go through the rituals and celebrate limply. The everlasting God of heaven and earth with the power to prove it, stands with us.
His presence is the gift. Most particularly now.
Elizabeth Ann Mitchell