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Friday, December 16, 2016

Mary Did You Know?

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

Mary, Jesus mother, had been visited by an angel, became pregnant without a man, married Joseph, traveled to Bethlehem, gave birth and had just had a bunch of shepherds rush in to see her new baby. As these men left amazed and in a hurry to tell others about what they’d discovered, we are told that “…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Dear, dear Mary – I wonder what she was thinking about.

One of my favorite Christmas songs asks that very question, “Mary, Did You Know?” Not only is this a wonderful song, the story behind the song is also inspiring. In his book Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas Ace Collins writes, “…this song’s gift to the world might have been lost forever if a set of loving parents had not chosen to believe in the promise and potential God placed in their child.”

Mark Lowry, a singer with the Gaither Vocal Band, started singing almost before he learned to talk. When he was in grade school he was often a problem in the classroom. At about the same time he was diagnosed with hyperactivity it became apparent that the boy had absolutely no athletic ability. To some Mark appeared to be little more than an energetic klutz, but his parents emphasized the positive and helped turn what could have been a curse into a blessing.

They encouraged Mark’s obvious love of and talent in music. Over the next few years, Mark became so successful in his singing career that he had to finish junior and senior high school by correspondence.

By 1984, Mark Lowry was living in Houston and was asked by his pastor to write something for the annual Christmas pageant. Mark began to consider what it would have been like to have been Jesus’ mother and then began to write these spine-chilling words. “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 walked where angels trod and when you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God?”

After the pageant Mark filed his powerful poem away for several years. In God’s time Mark eventually became a member of the Gaither Vocal Band, met songwriter Buddy Green and “Mary, Did You Know” was put to music. For the first time in decades, a new Christmas song had become an important facet of traditional Christmas celebrations.

Yes, the very things that made Mark Lowry unique could have held him back, yet because his problems were viewed as gifts by his parents, Mark thrived. “Mary, Did You Know?” a song like no other Christmas carol ever penned, written about a mother like no other, came from the hand of a man like no other.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You can use each of us in a unique way.  Help us to have our ears and hearts open to what You have for each of us to do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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