"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 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." Luke 1:31-33 (ESV)
In 1984, Christian singer and comedian, Mark Lowry, penned the lyrics to one of the most loved contemporary Christmas songs. After the music was written by Buddy Greene in 1991, Michael English became the first artist to record the song Mary Did You Know, and it has been recorded by hundreds of other artists since then. Loved by millions, it addresses the question of exactly how much the mother of our Savior knew of what He would do in His life.
Over the years, this song has been criticized for it's lack of theological truth, with the argument being that Mary would have actually known quite a lot because of what was written in the scriptures. When questioned about this, Lowry responded that he wanted to write a song about the sheer awe that this young girl must have experienced as she held her newborn son.
Of course, there is no way that we can know for sure what was going through her mind. How did she handle being told by a heavenly messenger that she would bear a child conceived through the Holy Spirit? We know her words, but not what she felt in her heart. She also had to think of how Joseph and her family would react. There must have been more than a bit of trepidation that she went through.
After the long trip to Bethlehem and having to give birth in a stable, what did she feel? Surely she wished for a nicer place for her newborn, but as she held Him, did she think about what the scriptures foretold or was she just overwhelmed by the warm bundle in her arms? Did she rejoice? Did she weep? When she held His tiny hand, was she wondering how she would measure up to parenting the Son of God?
My favorite verse in the birth story related by Luke is the nineteenth verse of the second chapter. After the shepherds had visited and gone to share the news, Luke tells us, "Mary treasured up all these things, and pondered them in her heart." No matter what she knew, I believe Mary was holding her baby, counting his fingers and toes and hoping she would be a good mother. There would be time later to put all the pieces together and to come to terms with what she had been taught about the Messiah. But beside the manger, as she watched her little one sleep, her emotions were surely overpowering as her heart was filled with love the depth of which she had never before experienced.
As we draw nearer to the day that we celebrate His birth, what are we feeling? Does the arrival of the Son of the Most High stir any emotions within us or is the day simply a holiday from work for which we spend too much money? I pray we all search our hearts because although we do not know what Mary knew, we have the full story. How we react and choose to respond is everything. God bless!