On Christmas Day many years ago, imagine the fear, wonder, uncertainty and hopeful expectation of Mary, the young mother of Jesus. Mary, did you know? I believe she knew something. ◊
It was bad enough that Mary had to deal with the shame of being pregnant in a small town before her wedding to Joseph. That Joseph had to overcome the issue and then take his very pregnant bride on a 70-mile journey to his hometown of Bethlehem (due to a Roman government tax census) only compounded the issue.
What’s really thought-provoking is to consider the young mother-to-be’s fear, wonder, uncertainty, and hopeful expectation. She was going to have a baby! But oh, what strange circumstances. An angel had told her:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father, David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:30-34.
She mildly questions the possibility as she had no husband. Her “uncle” Zechariah received punishment for his doubt (see Luke 1:5-24, 57-80). But then Mary surrenders and merely says “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
But could she have really fathomed what was about to happen to her and her child?
Mary, Did You Know?
It’s an interesting question. You might be familiar by now with a popular, hauntingly beautiful Christmas song that was first recorded in 1991 titled Mary, Did You Know? that raises a series of provocative questions for Mary:
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will some 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.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, 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 would 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.
– lyrics and music by Mark Lowry and Buddy Green
I Believe Mary Knew
Perhaps not the details of future miracles like walking on water, calming storms or the healing of deaf, blind, dumb, and even dead people, or the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind. But, of course, Mary had a clue that something special was unfolding.
What is remarkable and telling is her humble response to submit to whatever God was doing with her as a chosen vessel. We should all be so selfless and obedient, even in the midst of dark and confusing circumstances.
But Mary knew that God, her Savior and Lord of her fathers, was at work with something that she could only trust but not understand.
Weeks later she visits Elizabeth who is pregnant with a son who will be known as John the Baptist. At this point, the Bible (Luke 1:46-55) presents the Song of Mary, referred to as the Magnificat (Latin for “My soul magnifies”). Mary praises God and celebrates what He has done.
Yes, in full-blown wonder and awe, Mary contemplates God’s blessings, mercy and strength.
Do You Know?
Think about this: God has ordained the breadth of life for all human beings as created offspring. Great are God’s plans for each person so created and delivered in the flesh.
If only we knew what was in store for us. In fact, we do.
While we and our children are not the first or second coming – that glorious status was reserved for Christ only – we are all certainly destined to be blessed sons and daughters of the Living God. We miss out on God’s plans based on our response and obedience to His direction and guidance.
And all of us have that choice.
If we are an atheist, agnostic, or follow any other god besides the God of Abraham who became flesh incarnate as Jesus, the Christ, the “great I AM” (see Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58), we are making a choice, unlike Mary, to disregard and ignore the directions that have now been clearly laid before us.
Those directions, even instructions, are in the Bible where God has revealed Himself and His larger story. How and whether we respond in humility, fear, reverence, and awe, will dictate our true peace, joy, and happiness, now and forevermore.
Like Mary, do you know?
“And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.” – Luke 1:50