Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mary, Did You Know?

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 354: Today...l am grateful for the song "Mary, Did You Know?"

The story behind the song. It was written by Christian comedian Mark Lowry. He wrote the lyrics in 1984, after he had written a Christmas program for his church. You know how creative minds wander. He started asking himself, "What did Mary know?" as she experienced  the pregnancy and birth of Jesus. 

Did she realize the same hands that formed the oceans and rivers wrapped themselves around her little finger? She.. more than anyone... knew she was a virgin. She knew the angel had spoken. Yet I wonder,  could she even begin to grasp the magnitude of the gift of the child she carried, birthed and held. Precious and "new" but older than time. Did she know?

Mark Lowry carried the lyrics with him for years. He had given it to musicians over the years with the right to refuse their music... as the lyrics were his baby. It wasn't until he was on a bus with the Gaithers that he gave the lyrics to Buddy Greene and the song we know was truly born. 

Lyrics without music is poetry. Music without lyrics has power but is missing a voice. "Mary Did You Know?" may be new in terms of Christmas classics... but it will last. Mark waited for the right musician and Buddy set the lyrics free so that all may know the power of the question, "Mary, did you know?" I am glad he waited. I love the melody. It is so haunting.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

What was she thinking?  Did she question God that a stable was all he provided?  I don't think so. She did what had to be done. She gave birth and swaddled him and placed him in the manger... likely to attend to her personal needs. Joseph was willing but likely had no experience in birthing babies. 

The following scripture (Luke 2:19) is one of my very favorites from all the recorded history of Jesus birth. Sweet, young and innocent Mary must have been in awe. For those who have carried a child, there is something bittersweet about birth. Holding a child in our womb is a unique experience. The child is always with us... protected. Until we birth it into the world. Did Mary know what was ahead for her sweet boy? 

She had carried with her ... for nine months... the child conceived by the Holy Spirit. Was it a happy/sad feeling when he left her womb to be born and cradled in her arms? Birth is emotional for all who are present. It is a miracle every time... but this miracle was bigger than the rest. "Mary did you know?"

 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart Luke 2:19

Lowry mentions in an interview that Mary's silence at the foot of the cross speaks volumes to what she knew. Jesus was hers... but more than that... he was the promise fulfilled. Her son... her baby boy... was the hope of the world. The work on the cross had to be finished. 

I am grateful for a song that takes me to the stable, the manger and the heart of Christmas.

Today...l am grateful for the song "Mary, Did You Know?"

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