Mary Did You...?

Christmas is just days away. I can feel it, I can sense it, it’s time. I have already exchanged gifts with my closest friends, and I am already missing someone who I won’t get to see on Christmas. All good. I had spoken before about what Christmas really means to me, and how we should show the same love that Jesus gave to us. Awesome. I am a singer, and so for me, Christmas time is full of music. Whether I like it, or not, I find myself singing a lot during this Christmas season. One of my favorite holiday songs is “Mary Did You Know?”. I believe that it captures for a moment the humanity of Mary, when often times she is given divinity that isn’t necessarily warranted. I have seen in the past couple of weeks how other believers have questioned the authenticity of the song, and spoken to how much Mary did or didn’t know. I want to take the time and set the record straight. These following statements are not my opinions, but biblical facts (yes, I will be using scripture references in this post). If you like talking about the bible, then keep reading. If talking bible is not your thing, I understand, but this is where you should stop.

Let’s look at Mary’s story from the book itself. In Luke 1, we see the story of Mary. She is visited by the angel Gabriel, and he tells her what is going to happen. This is what the Bible says:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to 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 forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end

In this conversation, the angel Gabriel sends a message that you will carry the son of God. Nowhere does the angel tell Mary exactly what this will entail. Mary is initially troubled by this, but then look at her response:

 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word

So Mary, in this state, says that she will obey. Not knowing or fully understanding what was happening, Mary is obedient to the word of the Lord. These details are important to help us answer the question of what Mary knew. The bible does not go into the details of what exactly Mary knew or not, but it does detail her obedience. Even if you continue in the chapter, and look at the song of Mary (most who argue that Mary already knew everything quickly jump to this reference), there is nowhere in this where Mary actually speaks to specifics. Read it:

My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And ihis mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;

he has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

Mary knew what she was doing was important, but honestly, she had no idea. She was obedient to what God had asked of her, even though she was unaware of all the details.

Commercial Break

Whenever God is asking you to do something, it’s best to just obey. We are quick to question God, but quick to follow fallible people. That should not be the case. Jesus over everything.

I would lift to you that Mary didn’t know, and that the songwriter was correct in what they said. How? Luke 2:19. In this moment, Mary was taking in the shepherds coming to see the baby, and what they were saying about him. The shepherds were telling their story of the angels, and they were telling this story all around. Here is what the bible says:

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 

And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Mary treasured all these things, and pondered them in her heart. The word is translated in the Greek to the English for “ponder”, and I don’t believe that to be a coincidence. The definition of ponder is “to think about something before making a conclusion”. Mary was obedient, yes, but she still had questions. Who was this child to be? What would he do? Why truly was he here? Those are not questions that she would have had answers to in the beginning. They would be revealed to her over time.

I think the story of Mary is one that we can take with us in our faith walk with Christ. We will not always fully understand everything (1 Corinthians 13:9), and that’s ok. We are not called to have all of the answers, we are simply called to obey. With that, I would lift to you to enjoy the song, hear the message in it, and take it with you. Mary didn’t know everything, but she knew to obey when God asked her to.

Merry Christmas folks!!!!!

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

B.A. Scott