Maybe the most controversial Christmas song out there. Which, honestly, Christmas carols and programs and so on aren’t notorious for being theologically correct so there’s that . . . I mean there were no wise men at the manger . . . there was no little drummer boy . . . it likely wasn’t a silent night in Bethlehem . . . shall I go on?
Yet, I actually love all of these, and “Mary Did You Know?” has always resonated with me.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know
Songwriters: Buddy Greene, Mark Lowry
Which begs the question, did Mary know?
“26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” – Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel did not try to hide it from her . . . and later in the same chapter of Luke in vs 41-43 it says, “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” . . . “ and then just a few verses later:
The Song of Mary
“46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.””
God didn’t keep it a secret from Mary that she was giving birth to the Savior of the world. And Mary willingly said, “I am the Lord’s servant . . .”. I believe Mary knew. I mean virgin births aren’t exactly common. So, yes, I believe Mary knew, but at the same time there’s knowing and there’s knowing. There’s a knowing that comes from being told something by God. We believe it. We get excited by it. We are willing. But life happens. And doubts creep in even when the impossible has happened. And maybe, we also don’t fully grasp and understand what is happening.
But then there is a knowing that comes from walking through something with God. It’s a knowing that grows and becomes solidified with time and experience, and I also believe that Mary was living that as well.
Mary was not divine or omniscient. She did not have the luxury of hindsight or seeing the full view of God’s timeline, and while I believe she knew, I also believe she wondered exactly what God was up to here. There was no way she knew of all the miracles He would perform . . . all the lives He would transform. No one believed that the King of the Jews was coming to earth as a baby much less coming to save the gentiles (yes, I know . . . Isaiah 9:6-7 is pretty clear to us now).
Twice in Luke 2, the account of Jesus’s birth and childhood, we see Mary pondering what is happening:
Luke 2:19 (after the shepherds have come to visit Jesus): “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Luke 2:48-51 (Let’s just set the scene: Jesus is found in the temple among the scholars of the day after not being found with his family as they returned from the feast of the Passover. Y’all! Jesus had been MIA for three days! Three days, and they didn’t notice! Talk about free range parenting. Can you imagine that conversation between Mary and Joseph? “Well that’s just great, Joseph! We’ve lost the Son of God! How’s that one gonna look for us?!” And then they find Him conversing in the temple with the wisest of the wise. People were astounded at His knowledge, but Mary? Well remember, this may be the Son of God, but also He was the son of Mary, and she’s a Mama and was none too pleased. And the Bible even tells us they just did not understand.): “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.”
And there was no way Mary really knew all of what was to come. I fully believe God was merciful in that because had Mary known it all, I think the burden would’ve been too much to bear. I believe Mary was both fully aware and yet, totally naïve. And as a mother, I relate with Mary. I’m not raising God come to earth as a baby, thank goodness, but I’m raising these precious people that He’s entrusted me with. And even though, He has spoken great things to me about these little (and not so little) people, there are moments when I think, “What are you up to here God?” Because even though I know, I don’t always fully know until I see it through.
So theological debates aside, I love Mary, not because she was superhuman, but because of her humanity and willingness to serve God through it all . . . not because she’s to be worshipped or revered . . . worship is for God alone . . . but because I can see just a tiny bit of myself in Mary . . . especially in those moments when she just doesn’t have it all together . . . although, in this day and age, I do recommend keeping tabs on your kiddos. 😉
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