How quickly the news must have spread around the town of Nazareth, probably much like it does the halls of a high school. The whispers, the pointing, the gossip as she passed by each day.

“Did you hear?”

“Mary? PREGNANT!?!”

“I would have never guessed her!”

Can you imagine Mary’s thoughts as she came back from that meeting with the angel, the one at which she was told she was going to have a baby, despite the fact that she had never had sex? Oh, and not only was she going to have a baby, he would be the Savior of the World! Try explaining THAT one to your friends… your boyfriend… your PARENTS! As exciting as it was that Mary was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, I bet she was also scared out of her mind.

In Luke 1:28 we get a glimpse into what may have helped sustain Mary through the tough times: “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!'”

Did you catch that? Right from the moment the angel showed up on the scene, he was sure to remind her that she was not alone. In that exciting, yet likely scary and confusing moment, God was with her.

As I imagine what those nine months must have been like, I’m guessing there were days when it was pretty tough. While we may not know exactly what it feels like to be telling the truth when you try to explain to people that you miraculously conceived the Savior of the World, I think we all can relate to dealing with tough, confusing situations in life.

I find comfort and excitement in knowing that Jesus, the One whom Mary truly did carry in her teenage body for nine months, the One whom we anxiously await in this Advent season, the King of the Universe, is also the Immanuel, which means, “God With Us”. God IS with us, and as we anticipate the celebration of the birth of God’s Son we are reminded that God is not some distant deity, but rather a faithful friend.

He’s there to walk through the tough, exciting, confusing times with us. He understands when no one else around us can. He promises to never leave us. Even when we do mess up, He provides forgiveness and grace, because that was the reason He came. He lived inside a teenage girl for nine months, was born in a stable, grew up with all the other kids, so that he would be able to go to the cross to die… for YOU… to save you from the sin that separates you from God, the Father. While you don’t have the same physical reminder Mary had for those nine months, you can rest and rejoice in the truth that the angel shared with Mary: The Lord IS with you… today, and always!

Prayer: Hey God, as I look forward to celebrating the coming of your Son, Jesus, I want to thank you that you are always with me. Just like you reminded Mary that you were with her in the good times and the tough times, find ways to remind me that you walk with me every day. Amen.