Do You Hear What I Hear? The Songs of Christmas
December 23: Mary, Did You Know? by Mark Lowry (CCLI #839225)
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
These are the notes from a message offered Sunday, 12/23/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
Today we’ll look at one of the newest Christmas songs, “Mary, Did You Know?” As you listen to the lyrics, imagine it’s the first Christmas, and you’re with Mary who’s holding the infant Jesus.
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’ve kissed the face of God
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?” walks through the scriptures to tell us about Christ
We look at these lyrics with the benefit of the scriptures and generations of Christians who have shared the story. But, what did Mary know?
Some think Mary didn’t know anything. She was sweet, clueless, young, uneducated, and blindly obedient.
Some see Mary as a pawn who had no choice. The Holy Spirit overwhelmed her. Taken to an extreme, God raped Mary.
What do you think? Did Mary know? Did she give consent? Why do you think this?
Mary knew and Mary consented (Luke 1:26-38, The Annunciation) 26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 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 ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Gabriel tells Mary. There are 7 disclosers of who Jesus is in this passage plus Mary’s consent.
Elizabeth tells Mary
Luke 1:43And why has this happened to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me
The angels tell the shepherds who tell Mary
Luke 2:11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:16-1916So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
Simeon and Anna tell Mary
Luke 2:29-3529 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
History of Mary, Did You Know?
We also have the intent of the author. In 1984, Mark Lowry was asked to write the Christmas program for his alma mater, Liberty University.
Lowry remembers: “As I wrote the ‘speaking parts’ I began to think about Mary. I have always been fascinated with the concept that God came to earth…. One thing they couldn’t take from Mary was that she knew her Child was not ordinary.
As my mind went back to the manger scene, I began to think about the power, authority, and majesty she cradled in her arms. Those little lips were the same lips that had spoken worlds into existence. All of those things were contained in the young child lying quietly on her bosom. Even now, he was the very one who had given life to his mother, Mary.
I began writing a list of questions I would like to ask Mary if I could sit down with her.”
Lowry carried his lyrics with him for the next seven years. In 1991, he asked his good friend, Buddy Greene, to write suitable music for his poem. Since then, the song’s been recorded by many artists and has sold over 1 million copies.
Mary knew her child would be the Messiah, but she didn’t have all the answers. Neither did Joseph. There were many, many, many questions. What would it mean? What would it look like? Mary knew but then faced the reality of living it.
You can be a person of faith and still have questions, even doubts. You don’t have to have all the answers wrapped up in a nice, neat box.
Mary didn’t know everything but she still stepped out in faith. How many of us are waiting to get the answers together and get our act together before we place our trust in Christ or before we’re baptized or before we serve? The evil one uses our questions to shut us down.
All these “Mary Did you Know?” questions are rhetorical questions. God uses them to open us up. Open up space for curiosity, wonder, imagining, contemplation. They open us to worship, to be in awe of God with us to love and save us. They open us to the mystery of God’s grace and greatness in a frail, vulnerable child.
Luke 2:19 says, “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
The faithful question and ponder
The faithful listen and learn and know some things
The faithful step out in faith even when they don’t have all the answers
*********** CLICK HERE for a pdf of the Christmas Song Devotional Readings.
The Christmas Story is full of singing. Mary sings. Zechariah sings. Simeon sings. The angels sing. Over the centuries we’ve continued to celebrate with songs of our own, songs born from the joy of Christ’s coming.
This holy season, to prepare our hearts again for the coming of Christ, we’ll reflect on the poetry of these meaningful songs. Some will be old friends. Others will be new. My prayer is that their beauty and power draw us closer to Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, the Risen King. And that the grace of drawing near fulfills in us Christ’s power of new life.
Suggestions for Reflection on Each Song Lyric in the Christmas Devotion:
Find a quiet place to sit. Take a couple of deep breaths.
Read the song lyrics several times slowly, savoring the words.
What is the big idea?
Why is it important?
How does this truth connect with my life?
Have a conversation with God about this truth.
Invite God to use this truth to birth something new in you this holy season.
Journal your reflections
Draw, paint, or create some other kind of art based on your reflections
Find a scripture or two which inspired the song or where brought to mind by the lyrics
Sing or listen to the song
Share the song or just the lyrics on social media or face to face
Praise is due you, Great and Generous God
For you provide abundantly
You answer prayer, desiring an ever-growing relationship with us.
Who are we that you are mindful of our experiences and needs?
You forgive our sins and draw us near, close to your heart and holiness.
You deliver us from slavery to sin and death and self.
You make a way for us in the wilderness of this life,
a way that leads us home to you.
You are with us and we are with you, now and forever.
You are the Light and the Hope of us all.
You are mighty. You are strong.
You are awesome. You are glorious.
You are worthy of every and all praise.
You provide from the richness of your love- far beyond water and food.
Your saving bounty for all- such wonder, such blessing!
We join creation in song and celebration of your eternal goodness
The storm rages, where are you? Wave after wave crashing against us. The air is full of howling and screaming and struggle. My eyes and flesh burn with a thousand salty stings. I am blind. In the oppressive and unending darkness only the ghost of death approaches.
Your voice breaks through, “Do not be afraid.” It is you Jesus. Life not death. You are always present no matter how terrifying the circumstance, no matter how desperate the situation.
You step into our fearful and fragile boat. All is calm. A profound peace. A matchless silence. We wonder and worship, in awe at another glimpse of your glory.