By Judy Villanueva
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
I was only fifteen years old and a visitor to this odd little church where people stood up and shared publicly how they met Jesus. My eyes were riveted on the girl who spoke because her story didn’t match her radiant smile. I leaned forward and tried to put together the facts of her life that included being sixteen, pregnant, unmarried, AND full of joy! I was unable to conceive how these realities could live together happily but, I saw in her countenance a beauty that pointed beyond her circumstances to a God who loved her and filled her with so much hope that it spilled out onto all of us who sat listening!
Mary was very likely around this same age when the angel, Gabriel, visited her. As I imagined the encounter this morning, the words, “The Lord is with you,” jumped off the page and onto my lap. Tears filled my eyes as I held and heard them for myself. “The Lord is with you.” Like a window that opened to welcome a fresh breeze, I felt the weary and dulled places of my soul being revived. At the beginning of this day and, in the middle of my life,
I realize how much I need fresh announcements of God’s presence.
That God is with us means everything! It offers sweet relief from worry and needed reassurance that we are not alone in an untamed world.
Before Gabriel disclosed the reason for his visit, he gave Mary the best news of her life! God is with you! As I left the house this morning to run errands and visit a troubled friend, I reminded myself that wherever I go, whomever I am with, and whatever I will face today, the Lord is with me.
It became a personal annunciation of “Christ with me” in the middle of a very ordinary day and, it changed everything.
It filled me with joy and a sense of purpose. Think of it! If God is with us, then, seriously, whom shall we fear? And, if He is indeed with us then we can live this day beautifully loved, saved, pointing beyond our circumstances…and spilling over with hope for others!
“Thank You, Lord, for this morning’s announcement that You are with me. It gave me a needed shift in focus and truly revived my soul. Help me to recall Your presence daily, and please let the joy of it spills out onto others. Amen.”
What about you?
Do you need a fresh announcement that God is with you?
How does it feel to slow down and hear the words, “The Lord is with you” ?
What would it be like to live a day “with God” at your side?
Practice calling to mind the reality of Immanuel, God with you!
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