One of my husband’s favorite Christmas songs was written a few decades ago by singer-songwriters Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. Mary, Did You Know? is a thought-provoking song that wonders aloud whether Mary fully knew the entirety of who her Son really was. Luke tells us twice in in his Gospel that Mary “pondered/treasured” things in her heart [Luke 2:19, Luke 2:51]; yet, I wonder: did Heaven give her insight into the depth and gravity of the identity of her baby boy? It’s an interesting premise and a beautiful song [Bill & Gloria Gaither have a nice version on iTunes].
This Christmas I’ve spent considerable time thinking about the lyrics to this song. As a mother, it’s fascinating to consider Mary’s journey into Bethlehem–which, contrary to legend, was probably on foot. After all, none of Scripture’s Nativity stories recount a donkey delivering Mary to the stable where she likely delivered Jesus. The idea of those final hours and minutes of their journey, during which time she was presumably in labor, concluded in a dirty and dimly-lit animal barn is pitiful when compared to the luxe hospital accommodations of the modern world. No warm towel, no sanitized instruments, no bed sheets. Wiping him clean and striving to warm him with “strips of cloth” and then lying him in feed trough is, need I say?, incomprehensible.
And so, I wonder, as she gazed lovingly into the face of her son, did God impress upon her spirit all that He was? Did she see beyond His olive skin and damp hair? Did she know?
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?
When you’ve kissed your little baby then you’ve kissed the face of God.
As Christmas winds down and the TV blares the latest sales and markdowns at the mall, I sometimes let my mind imagine that Jesus is one day old. Two days old. Three. I picture him cradled in his mother’s lap, quietly nursing and curling tiny fingers around the ones that would be his only biological connection in this world. To think that God gifted Mary with such a unique and amazing role blows me away and almost paralyzes my understanding. That in all the world–past, present, future–she was God’s choice to be Jesus’ mother. Though imperfect, though human, though in need of a savior as we all are, she gave birth to the Incarnated Christ. Wow.
It’s an awesome thought. For me it opens Christmas up to more mystery, more miracle, more marvel.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…”
What a gift given! What a gift to receive this Christmas!