Let me just begin here by saying that I love Christmas. I mean I really LOVE Christmas. I cannot wait to decorate, bake, dance around in my Christmas pjs while listening to Nat King Cole, and gather with friends and family. But, most of all, I love the Christmas Eve candlelight service.Something about standing in a quite still church singing ‘Silent Night’ slows down the hustle and bustle and reminds me what we are really celebrating.
And each year the one song that you will find makes its way into every Christmas playlist is ‘Mary Did You Know?’ And in the spirit of full honesty, I don’t like it. I don’t. The song has driven me crazy for years. You are probably asking yourself “Why?” Well, it’s because she knew. As simple and plain as that. Mary knew.
No, she may not have known that her son would walk on water or heal a blind man. But she certainly knew that her child was, in fact, God. And she knew that He was sent to save “our sons and daughters.” So yes, you can count me in as one of the many cynics. Or at least I was, until last night when my Mother-in-Law said something to me that honestly left me speechless.
She had just sung the song, for probably the 100th time, at church and was telling me all about it and I was explaining my issues with the song. She, being the gentle soul she is, smiled as I was talking and then she said, “Oh, I think of it as Gabriel telling Mary all of the incredible things her tiny baby would go on to do.” My jaw literally dropped.
I started thinking through the lyrics and all of a sudden it was like I was hearing the song for the very first time.
“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”
If you look in the book of Luke when Gabriel comes to Mary to tell her that she will carry the son of God, he says this:
"Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 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, and He will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; His kingdom will never end." –Luke 1:30-33
As I read through the scripture with the song’s lyrics pulled up on my phone I was stunned. That moment was like the scene in ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ where his heart grows three sizes.
When Mark Lowry wrote ‘Mary Did You Know?’ it started as a list of questions he would like to ask Mary if he had the chance. And that’s how I had always thought of it. I had brushed it off. But that is what is so neat about music. The whole time I was thinking “What a silly question,” my Mother-in-Law was thinking, “Can you imagine finding out that your child would do all this?” It changed everything for me.
It was as if God had reached down and softened my heart so I could truly appreciate the miracle that is the birth of Jesus Christ.
To appreciate that someone so tiny and helpless could hold such power. That He could truly be God. I stopped to think what it must have been like for Mary to know that her baby boy would be sacrificed as “Heaven’s perfect lamb.” That as a teenager she was trusted with such a burden wrapped in the greatest joy this world has ever know. And truly for the first time, I saw the song for what it is, a reminder of the gift that Mary and the world were given, the gift of Jesus Christ.
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