The Handmaid of the Lord
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
The Greek word for handmaid is the word doule. It is the feminine form of the Greek word doulos. A doule was a bonded/branded servant. In the Bible lands and times there were two kinds of servants. One servant was simply an employee. A doule was considered part of the family. A doule servant was a servant who had served a family for many years and had been offered her freedom. When offered freedom, this servant responded with: "No, I do not want to go free. I love my master and I want to continue to serve the family forever." The master then treated her as a trusted member of his family. The master provided for all her needs and the handmaid served faithfully as a trusted member of the master's family.
Mary's answer to the angel who told her that she would be the mother of the Christ was the response of the doule. I will serve God as a trusted servant in His family. Be it unto me according to thy word!