Mary Did You Know?
Right now, many of us are wondering how we're going to celebrate Christmas this year. And rightfully so. As COVID-19 continues to exponentially spread across our country and across our state, we should be all be doing our part to try to slow the spread of this potentially deadly virus.
But our focus on how we're going to celebrate Christmas this year can also distract us from what really matters this time of year. So instead of talking about how we'll celebrate Christmas, we're spending this December at Melbourne Heights talking about who we celebrate at Christmas.
And we're doing that by exploring different parts of the Christmas story. So a couple of weeks ago, we talked about what it meant for Jesus to be born into a world ruled by people like Caesar Augustus and Quirinius, the Governor of Syria. And in the coming weeks, we'll talk about Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men and what each of their stories can teach us about who Jesus is.
But this past Sunday, we spent our time exploring Mary's story. And for anyone who has spent much time around the church over the last thirty years, it's hard to think about Mary's part in the story of Jesus's birth without thinking about the song "Mary Did You Know." As a matter of fact, our music minister--Leslie Brockelsby--even recorded this song to help us prepare for worship this past week.
So, I thought for this week's Sermon Follow-Up that I'd share with you the story behind this particular song.
This song was written by the Christian singer, songwriter, and comedian, Mark Lowry. And here's what he said about it in an interview with the St. Augustine Record a few years ago:
“In 1984, Jerry Falwell called and asked me to write the program for their next Living Christmas Tree.
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.
In a conversation with my mother, I remember she said, ‘If anyone on earth knew for sure that Jesus was virgin-born--Mary knew!’ That was a profound statement that stuck with me.
One thing they couldn’t take from Mary was that she knew her Child was not ordinary.
At the cross on Mount Calvary, while Jesus was dying, her silence was a great testimony to the fact of who he was and is. He said to them, ‘When you have seen me, you have seen the Father.’ Of course, for this they nailed him to a cross, and his mother never said a word.
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 - questions such as, ‘Mary, do you know who is in your arms?’
‘Did you know the one who holds creation together, and the one who holds you together is lying helpless in the manger?’
‘Did you know that your baby boy will walk on water, give sight to a blind man, and calm a storm at sea with his hand?’”
As we think about who we celebrate at Christmas, it's easy to overlook what is possibly the most profound aspect of the entire Christmas story. At Christmas, God became human.
At Christmas, God became human.
Spend some time reflecting on that this Christmas. The God who created the entire universe entered into creation. And he entered creation as a human being. How incredible is that?