Gabriel told Mary: “The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). What does it mean to have the Lord with you? One of the realities that prompts so much pain for a widow is the fact that she is no longer with someone. If she receives an invitation to a Christmas party or event, she now has to wonder whom she will be with. When you are with a husband or a boyfriend, this problem does not enter your mind. Receiving an invitation doesn’t bring up a dilemma or a reminder of the one you have lost. The Christmas message has the power to overcome the quandary of being alone.
God knows that our biggest problem is being without the presence of another. He gave His all to fix that problem for us. Ultimately, the salvation that Jesus brought us will create the reality that we will be with all other believers as well as God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The greatest heartache of our existence on earth is that the Lord is not with us. Sin has numbed us so much that we don’t even think about that. Yet, we do think about those we love whom we cannot be with. Their absence is amplified in a season like Christmas. Those of us who have our loved ones with us don’t feel the anguish.
Through our lives we experience the pang of not being with someone. As infants, we rebelled against being left in the care of someone other than our moms. When we experience our first love and first break-up, we don’t know how we can go on without the teen crush in our lives. Some feel the intensity of being without someone important in deeper ways through the untimely death of a spouse, parent or child. We know very well what it feels like to be without someone who was seemingly taken from us.
We have grown immune from the pain of not being with God. Some days, I can go for hours without a thought that God is with me. I really try to think about Him and recognize that He is with me during my day. Even my negligence of acknowledging His presence cannot keep Him away. In spite of my absentmindedness, He is always there.
This was not always the case. Before I believed that Jesus was born, died and rose again to pay for my sins, God was not with me. He wanted to be with me. He wasn’t with me like He is today because my sin kept Him from being with me.
Mary was troubled by the words that the Lord is with her and that she was highly favored. I feel a little troubled today as I think about the fact that the Lord is with me and I too am highly favored. I’m troubled because my daily experience is so far from this reality that I know to be true. I’m troubled because I don’t bask in the wonder that the Lord is with me, at all times, whether I’m gossiping around the water cooler or feeding a homeless person. I’m troubled because I don’t have a twenty-four hour smile on my face knowing that without a doubt I am most favored by God. I’m troubled and I’m eager to accept that the message of the angel Gabriel to Mary is intended for me also. I’ve got good news for you: the Lord is with you, and you are highly favored. Keep that in mind today.