Is it any wonder God's messenger and God's Spirit pronounce the Virgin to be a "favored one" (Lk. 1:27) and as "blessed among women" (Lk. 1:42)? She exhibits exactly what the Spirit tells us through the Apostle Peter is that "imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious" (1 Pet. 3:4).

That quietness and gentleness our Father loves in our Lord's mother is not a mousiness; it's not being muzzled by her culture or certainly by any man. The quiet spirit comes from the fact that she "does not fear anything that is frightening" (1 Pet. 3:6).

My Maria's quietness, I have recognized in retrospect, was peace. She trusted the Lord to provide her with a husband, with a family, or with whatever else he had for her. The quietness was also submission. She was submissive to her future husband, whoever he was to be, and not to any other man. She guarded her affections, her attachments, and her expectations.

That kind of fearless quietness is the joyful reason that, while I've worried about all kinds of things in my life, I've never (not once!) worried about Maria divorcing me or mistreating the children or flying into a hot rage or a cold war. It's the reason she was able to grieve the loss of children through miscarriage even as she planned baby showers for women who had gotten pregnant around the same time she did, and why she'd be there at her friends' baby delivery wards with flowers and genuine happiness.

And her gentle power is what I hope is seen clearly by the four young men we're raising together. They'll grow up in a culture of women pictured as having value based simply on what men think of them, for their sexual attractiveness or sexual availability or their earning power or the sheer force of their wills. Even in the so-called "conservative" subculture in America, the exact same phenomenon persists in the culture warrior princesses on the talking-head argument shows on television.

Every day, though, my sons see a peaceful woman who submits to the Lord and to a man…but only to one man.

And through it all, she's shown me what it means that the woman is "the glory of man" (1 Cor. 11:7). I find her glorious, and through her I've seen what Christic glory is, for men and women, not self-seeking assertion but Father-trusting humility (Phil. 2:5-11).

On her birthday, I am thankful to God for giving me this gentle, mysterious, life-affirming, powerful woman as my wife. Blessed is she among women, and blessed is the One who gave her life.

Russell Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and the forthcoming Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009).