Mary, Did You Know?

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2021 - 12:00am

The Christmas Season is over and we have been ushered into the New Year.  But this does not mean that the Christmas spirit should now go into storage like the decorations and the music.

Christmas carols are very special. These convey love, hope and spread the message of peace. You hear a Christmas song and suddenly there is the prospect of a better life. A savior is born. We are saved. Evil is defeated. Things will be better soon. This is what we believe. This is what we need to believe.

Man has immortalized Christmas through music in countless ways. There must be thousands of Yuletide songs out there in different languages. And we get more and more of them every year. And we listen. In fact, when we need to lighten our loads, we try to rush Christmas by playing a Christmas carol, even if the Holiday is still months away.

Mary, Did You Know? is one of the very meaningful though recent additions to this playlist. The words were written by comedian, singer and songwriter Mark Lowry in 1984 for a musical titled The Living Christmas Tree. These were set to music by gospel and bluegrass songwriter Buddy Green in 1991.

A simple, folksy tune with a light lilt, Mary, Did You Know? has since then been recorded and turned into a big hit by Kenny Rogers and Wynnona Judd as a duet, by Clay Aiken, Jordan Smith, Rascal Flatts, the Pentatonix and others. It is certainly one of the most affecting Yuletide songs of recent time. It is also one of the most controversial.

Mary, Did You Know? dares to ask the Blessed Virgin questions.

“Mary, did you know?

That your Baby Boy would one day walk on water.

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 us, new.

This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”

Those questions are seen by some as an affront to the mystery of the Incarnation. How dare he, the songwriter, question the Mother of God?  Did she not reply during the Annunciation, “Be it done to me according to your word?” That she knew from that moment should be an accepted truth.

Mary did know then that she will become the Mother of God. Still, it is a fact that she was then a 15-year-old girl, innocent and from a poor family, but already chosen for an overwhelming task. Because of the message from the angel, she had an idea of what will happen to her Son. But all that will take a backseat to enjoying the experience of having a baby and nurturing him through infancy and into adulthood.

And Mary did have a very special Baby.

“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 the storm with His hand.

Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where Angels trod.

When you kiss your little Baby, you kissed the face of God.”

It is this relationship between Mary and her little Baby, who is the Son of God that the writer contemplates. And Lowry did come up with a unique look on the Christmas Story. Did she indeed think each time she kissed her little Baby that she was kissing God? Maybe she did.

That is one of the most beautiful things about Christmas. It turns something we are familiar with, like the birth of a baby into an event with a powerful message. Mary believed and obeyed and this song gives a wonderful perspective about the birth of Redemption.

So we wonder, “Mary, did you know? Mary did you know?...

Maybe so did the Magi whose visit to the Baby brings the Christmas celebration to its end. Maybe by way of conversation they asked the young mother the same question. And wise as they were to the ways of God, they probably also saw that..

“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, 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.

The sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am.”

Have a blessed 2021.

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