Virgin Mary Window
was the one through whom [the] final plan of redemption was
When she was a young girl and engaged to Joseph, the angel
Gabriel appeared to her. He announced God’s plan for her to
bear a son named Jesus, who
would be the “Son of the Highest” and David’s eternal heir.
When Mary questioned him about her virginity, the angel
explained that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, and that
her child would be the Son of God. Mary accepted the angel’s
message in humility and obedience, then withdrew to the home of
her cousin Elizabeth. It was she who first addressed Mary as
the “mother of my Lord,” which eventually became Theotokos, the
Mother of God. Soon after Mary returned home, she and Joseph
traveled to Bethlehem, David’s ancestral home (and Joseph’s, as
well). Here Jesus was born. There was no room at the inn, so
instead he was laid in a manger, and on a hillside angels
proclaimed the birth of the Savior to the humble shepherds.
Later, at his dedication, bystanders recognized Jesus as the
Savior and Redeemer; but Mary was warned of the sword that would
pierce her soul, foreshadowing her later role as the Mother of
Sorrows when her son and Savior died.
The Madonna and Child symbolize the Incarnation. The infant
Jesus is not clothed, showing that though he was God, he was
also as human as any other child. The Latin title Maria
Mater Dei (Mary, Mother of God) stresses the point
conversely: Mary’s child was not only fully human, but also
fully divine. The
Mary’s feet are her primary symbol, the thornless rose, and her
long golden hair is a historical substitution for her
The apple she holds calls forth images of Christ as the second
Adam and Mary as the second Eve. The obedience of the second
overcame the disobedience of the first, crushing the head of the
serpent and vanquishing evil.
And as Eve is “the mother of all living,” so Mary is
the mother of all who believe.
Like Stars Appearing: The Story of the Stained Glass
Windows of St. George's Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio
copyright 2004 by Anne E. Rowland. All rights
Stained Glass Windows copyright 2000 by St. George's Episcopal
Church, crafted by Willet Stained Glass.