Background Passages: Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:8-20, 25-33 and John 3:16
It was not so long ago that a slight, little girl dragged through the dirt of her village a ragged bundle of old cloth shaped roughly like a swaddled child. Motherhood little more than a child’s fantasy, innocently oblivious of the hardships she would one day endure.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, Mary, now a teenager, gently cradled her tiny baby in her arms, keenly aware of the pain of labor and blessed exhaustion that inevitably follows. As the little hands grasped her thumb, I wonder if Mary could ever look upon her child without thinking about the circumstances that brought Jesus into her life.
The Bible tells us that she often…
Felt at a loss to explain her experiences. Struggled to make the pieces fit into what she knew of life as it was to unfold.
Thought deeply about the implications that which she was told. Opened her heart to the possibilities.
Held in her heart as precious and valuable all she learned about her first-born son as she watched him grow into the man he was to become.
It must have been overwhelming at times as this young woman came to grips over time about her son’s role in God’s plan to bring salvation of the world. It must have been disturbing the more she listened as he grew to clearly understand and articulate his purpose and what God required of him.
Later as he faced the cross, all those images must have flashed before her, trying to find a way to deny the reality of what she knew to be true. Trying to figure out a way for him to avoid the suffering they both knew was coming.
As she stood at the foot of the cross, her tear-filled eyes watched her son die an agonizing death. At the end, did she remember how it all began.
I think that’s why words written in 1984 by Mark Lowry and set to music in 1991 by Buddy Greene has become one of Christmas’ most beloved songs. When he wrote Mary Did You Know, Lowry said he wondered if Mary understood the “power, authority and majesty” of the child she bore that first Christmas. He said, “I tried to put into words the unfathomable and thinking of the questions I would have for her if I were to sit down and have coffee with Mary…’What was it like raising God?’ ‘What did you know?’ ‘What didn’t you know?’ Over time, the song just happened.”
Today, more than 400 artists have recorded this beautiful song. Setting the song against the backdrop of Jesus’ ministry drives home the message of the lyrics. The questions asked of Mary could just as easily be asked of you and me. “Did you know?”
Mary, did you know…? Mary had a front row seat to the miracle of Christmas…not just the birth of God’s son, but the meaning behind it revealed through his ministry and his message. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
We read or hear the Christmas story every year. As Christians, it is deeply etched into our hearts. Yet we too often fail to treasure its meaning as Mary did.
The song asks, “Mary did you know?” But, it begs a greater question for you and me 2,000 years later. Did you know? And, if you know…will it make a difference in what you believe, what you say and how you live your life?