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What DID Mary know?

The lyrics to the Christmas song Mary Did You Know? gives one much to ponder. What did Mary know? Throughout this season, I’ve meditated on Mary’s invitation to be the mother of God. Mary is an ordinary teen-aged woman of noble character, highly favored by God and chosen to bear His Son. Still a virgin, she miraculously conceives through the power of the Spirit. With eagerness and humility, she accepts God’s call that forever changes the spiritual trajectory for all generations.

Like Mary, we, too, are ordinary people yet highly favored to bear God’s Son to this lost and broken world. We have been given an extraordinary gift to joyfully share the good news with others. This is unequivocally God’s will for each of us. However, busyness and worldly noise can distract us from joining God in His work.

I imagine Mary was bursting to share her experience while dreaming of the special moments she would have as Jesus’ mother. Surely, Joseph, her fiancé, will be thrilled to hear the news. But will he? We learn from Matthew’s account that Joseph was spooked by Mary’s pregnancy, and, if not for divine revelation, he would have called off the engagement.

Mary would face many hardships as the mother to Jesus. I wonder if she was the focus of rumors once her baby bump was exposed. Did she expect 90 miles of uncomfortable travel at the end of her third trimester; or giving birth far from home and family in a most unsuitable place? Most women in the western world would demand a more appropriate birthing room! Could Mary fathom her family living as refugees in Egypt after fleeing from the king’s threat on her baby’s life? Or did she know she would bear the sorrow of watching her firstborn humiliated and nailed to a cross? What did Mary know? 

I love Mary’s naivete toward her future. It is God’s loving kindness that spares her, and spares all of us, from knowing the overwhelming details wrapped up in our initial “yes” to follow Him. We, too, are called to bear this indescribable gift of Christ to a broken lost world while trusting God to keep us and sustain us as we live a life of worshipful service to Him. Where or how might God be calling you? Listen for His voice.   

-Deneen McDonald (US Director for COBI)

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