Mary, the ultimate expression of girl power.
I think of her on that day:
She is standing there in mid-afternoon, when the sun is hot and sweet. Mary, a middle-eastern looking teen girl, stands outside of her father’s humble house, busily hanging clothes on a make-shift clothesline. Her headscarf flaps in the wind as she works. She picks up each garment and hangs it with perfect precision as her mother taught her.
Despite the beauty of the day and the sweat coursing down her face, Mary does not stop for a break. She has other things on her mind. Her impending marriage percolates in her brain. What will Joseph be like? What will my life be like? Will I be a good mother? And as any teenage girl would do, perhaps she begins to daydream. In her mind’s eye, she sees small children playing around her. Their silly faces resemble her features. She imagines Joseph lovingly gaze upon her as he walks among the Jewish elders. Maybe a smile creeps across her face.
Then someone breaks her concentration.
Mary squints at the figure who stands directly under the sun. She walks closer to him, half intrigued, half petrified. The man looks like no other man, emitting a power she has never felt before. His features dazzle. His countenance is that of a million soldiers.
He smiles at Mary, gesturing to her in an act of reverence before speaking.
“Hail favored one! The Lord is with you.”
She probably responded with a look of confusion and fear.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” was Mary’s reply. There could not have been sarcasm in her tone, no stubbornness, no rebelliousness; just innocence and sincerity.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, May it be done to me according to your word,” was Mary’s ‘yes’.
In that instant, an egg must have released from her uterus and attached to the lining. I see a pregnant Mary some months later. Her feet swollen. Her back arched. Her body fattened. She rubs her stomach, singing to the Messiah. She talks to Him, planning His life, telling Him that He will be a great carpenter like Joseph. The little Jesus in her womb ate what she ate. He shifted when she walked, when she bent down, when she slept. He must have bore all of Mary’s genetic features, the roundness of her nose, the darkness of her hair, the wink in her eye.
And when she gives birth, well, we know the rest of the story. Girl power.
7 TAKEAWAYS from Mary’s ‘yes.’
- paved the way for Mary Magdalene to be cleansed.
- inspired women to create congregations and orders, committing their lives to service.
- inspired women to rebuild after war, after famine, after disasters, even after failed relationships.
- inspired my own grandmother, my mother, myself, to trust in God.
- assures us of the Messianic will: that evil will be destroyed completely.
- keeps us hoping the best for the future.
- is the expression of true girl power.
©Michelle St. Claire. All rights reserved.