Stump: The Lilly by Telissa Matos

Stump is a blogging project of Claremont Presbyterian Church

From the root of Jesse came Mary of the house of David. In Luke 1:26 we read that the angel Gabriel came to her with an announcement: “Blessed art thou among women.” At first Mary is skeptical. “How can this be?” She is a virgin. We hang much of our faith on this Biblical statement. We think of her as pure, untouched, the Mother of the Son of God. We have chosen the white lily to represent her: unblemished, beautiful, fair.

I have a Lil(l)y in my life, my youngest sister. She, too, is fair, the fair-haired girl among the darker sisters. She has a zest for life that is unspoiled and bright. Her joy shines bright, white, pure. I think Mary must have been like that, too, pure in body and in spirit, a shining light in a dark time. For when the angel appeared to Mary, it was a very dark time in history. It was dangerous to be a Jew in a Roman-oppressed homeland.

The angel’s announcement is meant to bring hope. There will be a Savior born! His kingdom will be established forever. No more Roman or foreign rule. But Mary could have said, “No, thanks.” She must have known that to have a child out of wedlock could spell her death sentence. At the very least, it would be a scandal. She was engaged, but what would her betrothed say? She did not know an angel would appear to Joseph yet. She did not know if he would believe her. She barely believed it herself! We hardly believe it today. A child born of a virgin? Really?

And yet, Mary’s true purity shines through in her obedience. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” She did not know what the future would bring, but she chose to believe the angel and to trust that it would be a better future. May we have the faith to be as pure in our obedience as Mary was and to remember that in the darkness there is hope.

Telissa Matos is a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife and most recently a grandmother. In between taking her three children to all their school activities in the Antelope Valley, she finds time to capture her thoughts in stories and writing.

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