As comforting and encouraging it can be to know that Immanuel, God With Us, never leaves me, sometimes I just need a hug.

Have you ever felt that way? While God is truly enough for all of us, one of the ways He often provides what we need is through the people He places in our lives.

I am glad that Luke documents Mary’s need for relationship in the Christmas story in his Gospel. Shortly after the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, we are told she “got ready and hurried” to visit her relative Elizabeth (Luke 1:36). While it is unknown whether Elizabeth was her aunt or cousin (or some other relation), we do know that Mary headed off to spend three months with this woman.

Earlier, when Mary was trying to grasp what the angel was telling her and how it was possible, he explained that Elizabeth, even in her old age, was going to have a baby as well. The angel said that God, Immanuel, would be with her, but also reminded her that he would provide people to confirm what he had told her and encourage her in the months of her pregnancy. I’m sure as Mary and Elizabeth went through those three months together they not only praised God together as we see in Luke 1:46-55, but they also just experienced everyday life together, especially as they were both pregnant. Through the ups and downs, God provided for them by giving them each other.

God does the same for us! As we prepare to celebrate Christmas later this week, we thank God for the gift of His Son, Jesus, who is Immanuel. We can also take time to thank Him for all His sons and daughters that He places around us to remind us that because of Immanuel’s birth, death and resurrection we will always have all that we need.

So, who are the “Elizabeths” in your life? Who has God placed in your world to celebrate the exciting times with you, mourn the sad times and just simply be there in the confusing times? Take some time today to thank God for the way He reveals His never-ending presence in our lives through the people around you.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you first and foremost for the gift of your Son, Jesus, who came to live on this earth with us. Thank you also for the gift of the people You’ve put in my life to remind me that You are always with me. In my mind I know that you are enough for me, but sometimes I simply need someone physically present with me to remind me of that fact. Please bless those people who walk with me, pointing me to You, during this advent season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!