One of the popular Christian Christmas songs that I’ve heard kickin’ around these past couple years is Mary did you know? It’s a nice meditation on who the Christ child would grow up to be, and sung as if it’s addressing Mother Mary. It’s a great idea, but poorly executed considering how much Mary actually did know. If she’s listening, I can’t help but imagine her getting just a tad impatient. I can almost hear the conversation now…
Song: Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary: Nope, didn’t see that one coming.
Song: Mary did you know that your baby boy would 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: Yes, actually. I wrote my own song about this, actually. And the angel Gabriel already called me “full of grace,” suggesting that the effects of Jesus’ deliverance were already being applied to me. That’s why I “boasted in the Lord” (as St. Paul might describe it) when I said in my song that “all generations will call me blessed.”
Song: Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man? Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Mary: Not specifically, but I wasn’t exactly surprised, given what Gabriel told me about Jesus, and what my older cousin’s husband prophesied concerning their son John.
Song: Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.
Mary: Yes I did. That’s why my cousin Elizabeth and others showed me such reverence. I never stopped storing up those beautiful mysteries in my heart.
Song: The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again. The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.
Mary: I kind of expected that, yes. Making that specific of a list would’ve made my song too long to remember, though.
Song: Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy would 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: If I hadn’t know this, would I have been remotely as excited as St. Luke reported?
I’m not saying it’s a bad song – the lyrics are all true. Just don’t buy the picture of a clueless Mary wondering what’s going to happen next. She didn’t have the whole picture, but she knew the fruit of her womb was the Messiah, and that God’s promises were already coming to fulfillment. If anything, we should be taking a moment this Advent season to thank her for her willing role in all this! Where Eve was disobedient, Mary was obedient, and that is worth celebrating.