Week two – Mary did you know?
Listen to the hymn: This version was made famous last Christmas by the acapella group Pentatonix and I have such a soft spot for acapella music which is why I picked it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE There are other great versions of this song out there – this is also a good one (choral) and features the song’s writer Mark Lowry – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaRpeMT1tjQ He wrote the song a number of years after using the questions in a church Christmas play thinking about things he wanted to ask Mary.
Read the lyrics:
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 kiss 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.
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know?
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
As the song is based on questions the writer had I thought we could also look at the story of Mary’s interaction with Gabriel (Luke 2). When I read the account of Gabriel and Mary, I’m intrigued on so many levels.
How God chose a teenager to serve Him in this way; how Mary accepted the practical aspect of the whole having a baby when she was a virgin; her willingness to serve God; her response being an outpouring praise to God; and her confidence in declaring how all generations will call me blessed. I’m not going to try and unpack all of those – just consider our response to God’s calling on our lives and thinking about the future of our children.
God’s calling on our lives
Isn’t it striking how Mary’s response to hearing she would have a baby who would be
…the Son of the Most High;
…who would reign over Israel forever;
…whose Kingdom would be everlasting;
wasn’t doubt about the baby being the Messiah, nor that she shouldn’t be the person to do so, but just to clarify the logistics, after all, she was a virgin.
She responded saying I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.
Do you doubt what God is calling you to?
Do you tell the God of the impossible that you can’t?
Or even if your circumstances have seemingly legitimate impracticalities, like Mary do you trust Him to be in control?
Are you willing to serve God in the big things even where you can’t fully know what the future will hold?
When I found out our eldest child had Down Syndrome (DS) I thought I really wasn’t the ideal candidate for a child with special needs. After all, I wasn’t very caring or interested in the weak or vulnerable. I thought of all my friends in caring professions who would be much better mothers of a child with DS.
And yet God has equipped me.
I can see now that my logical brain has lent itself well to reading lots of research on how children with DS learn and applying that knowledge. Despite my lack of interest in babies and young children generally I have been surprised at the ease at which I took to motherhood. I’m far from perfect, but I can already see that having Daniel has softened me as a person and has made me more caring.
All through a willingness to be open to what God had called me to and knowing that my ability to walk this road would be as a result of fully relying on God.
God doesn’t forget or neglect those who are faithful to Him. And he often surprises us by using the most ordinary people to serve Him most incredibly. What is He calling you to do? Are you willing to trust Him to provide all you need?
The future – for us and our children
The song ponders what extent Mary understood as she nursed her tiny baby just who He was and what He had come to do.
Mary was in a unique position as a mother in so many ways, not many of us have divine encounters before becoming pregnant after all. But I wonder how many of us have held our babies in our arms and wondered just who they will become?
Imagine someone singing a song about the child you rock in your arms, whose hair you hold back from their face when they are sick, the child whose tears you dry. We can’t know now what their story will be, what their calling is, but God knows already the people they will become.
This song reminds us that even Jesus’ own mother was not privy to everything that would happen as a result of her embracing this visit from Gabriel. We aren’t told everything that happened in the journey from pregnancy to Jesus’ death on the cross. We can surmise that from Mary’s lack of understanding when Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem as a boy that she was not blessed with a profound insight of who Jesus was and what He had come to do.
Throughout the gospels we see references to her treasuring these things in her heart (Luke 2 v 19), stored all these things in her heart (Luke 2 v 51). Mary’s strength as she watched Jesus on the cross makes me think by this point she had come to understand that this was the fulfilment of God’s plan for our salvation. Certainly, she even ignored Jesus’s comment in Cana (John 2) that His time has not yet come, by telling the waiters in Cana to do whatever He tells you. Had she started to understand His power?
We too live with an unclear grasp of what God is calling us to do with our lives and even more than Mary, none of us knows exactly what our children will grow up to become. They aren’t going to save people from their sins like Jesus, but who knows when we will come to a full understanding of what their calling has been.
For now let’s pray for them, their souls and provide a solid foundation for them as we point them to Christ. And maybe one day we will feel the leading of the Spirit to encourage our kids to take a step of faith of their own as part of that calling.
What a privilege it is to be called to this eternal work.
Love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, obey His commands, hold firmly to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul Joshua 22 v 5