God's Overshadowing Presence

This season is usually a fast-paced time of year with gift shopping, Christmas gatherings and parties with your work or at some friends and relatives, going to the theatre, and watching countless children’s plays, and Christmas movies. The past seasons were very similar, but this season is quite a bit different when it comes to the same old festive gatherings due to the pandemic crisis. Keeping our distance when it comes to social gatherings has somewhat created a vacuum of loneliness.

New York City along with other major cities looks so barren like a desert somewhere in the Arizona plains. The crowds that usually celebrate the holidays with such glee and excitement are empty. So many feel cooped up or like they are in a prison cell or a birdcage. People can still feel lonely even when they are in a crowd.

I am reminded of the story when the angel Gabriel came to Mary in Nazareth who was sent by God to tell Mary that she was to “rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women,” (Luke 1:26-38). Mary was chosen to give birth to the son of God, Jesus Christ. Mary was troubled and afraid, scared for her life that God would choose her this humble servant. Mary is blessed among women, but not above women.

I believe she felt so lonely and fearful because of the great responsibility she would now carry. I do not think that she was boasting about bearing the baby Jesus. Besides, Mary was engaged to Joseph and was not technically married. Although engagements were much stronger as a commitment compared to our culture today. What would the people think and to know that she would have this child without a sexual union because she was a virgin? Even the religious crowd would give her a mouthful of shame and rejection. Rejection and unacceptance can cause so much depression, grief, and loneliness to a person.