I think of her on that day:
I can almost see her standing there. It is 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 takes his place among the Jewish elders.
-I think I see a smile creep across Mary’s face as her mind wanders, relishing in the idea of motherhood.
-But suddenly, something breaks her concentration. In fact, it is not a something, but a someone.
-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. He emits a power that 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.
“Hail favored one! The Lord is with you,” he says. Mary responds with a look of confusion and fear. Yet the strange man reassures her that all is fine.
“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.”
-Mary must have known of the theology that waited for a Jewish messiah. For she was an obedient Jewish girl. Perhaps, she heard her father talking with the esteemed elders of the Jewish temple. She must have heard them recite Isaiah’s prophecy, that “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.”
“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” was Mary’s reply.
-I can hear her say those words. There is no sarcasm in her voice. She is not stubborn or rebellious. No, her question sounds innocent and sincere. Perhaps the Angel Gabriel smiles when he responds.
“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.”
-And without hesitation, she responds “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, May it be done to me according to your word.”
-At that moment, an egg must have released from her uterus and attached to the lining, for Jesus was indeed human and developed normally through 10 months gestation.
-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.
-I see Mary, pregnant. 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.
-And when she gives birth – well, we know the story. The age of Adam changes forever.
The power of Mary’s yes is undeniable.
Eve heard Mary’s yes and bowed in reverence to the first woman to obey God’s will fully.
Sarah heard Mary’s yes and saluted at the news of the first woman to receive God’s word without defiance.
Hannah heard Mary’s yes and rejoiced at the news of the first woman, the only woman, to bear the Priest.
Ruth leapt in dance when she heard Mary’s yes. She sung aloud of Mary’s stubborn faith.
Judith raised her fist in the air when she heard Mary’s yes. Judith knew this was a decisive blow to satan.
Esther gushed at the sound of Mary’s yes. She rejoiced over the language of true royalty, of virtuous beauty.
Mary’s yes paved the way for Mary Magdalene to be cleansed.
Mary’s yes inspired women to create congregations and orders, committing their lives to service.
Mary’s yes would inspire countless women to rebuild after war, after famine, after disasters.
Mary’s yes would inspire my own grandmother, my mother, myself, to trust in God.
Mary’s yes assures us of the Messianic will: that evil will be destroyed completely.
Mary’s yes keeps us hoping the best for the future.
Mary’s yes is the expression of true girl power.
©Michelle St. Claire. All rights reserved.