Mary, Did You Know?
I love Christmas. There’s many reasons for this, but a main one – Carols. If you asked me I’d be hard pushed to chose a favourite, but I know that ‘Mary, Did you know?’ is way up the top of my list somewhere.
You can just imagine this song being sung to the unsuspecting virgin Mary, just a girl from Nazareth, explaining the might and power of the child that she was going to give birth to. Some of the things that ‘Mary is told’ her baby will do include; Walking on water, saving our sons and daughters, giving sight to a blind man and much more!
Personally, I haven’t had a child, but I can only imagine the ‘normal’ desires that you and your partner might have when pregnant. Things like the child being healthy, being surrounded by loving people and getting the most out of life all come to mind. I certainly don’t think that it would have been any of the things that Mary is told in this song that would be our desires for the child. How incredible, but how terrifying!
Let’s take a look at the moment where Mary first found about the rollercoaster nine months that she and Joseph were about to have. Luke 1:26-33 –
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
We read twice in this passage about how the angel calls Mary ‘highly favoured’ in the eyes of the Lord. So, this means that Mary was special, right? Well, no. The Greek translation of the term ‘highly favoured’ is charitoó, and the origin of this means ‘to be made graceful, endowed with grace’. As Christians, we all receive God’s grace to cleanse us of our sins, so no – in this way Mary is no different from you or me. She isn’t particularly special, yet God uses her in the greatest of ways, to carry and give birth to his Son, the saviour of the world! We’ve got to get rid of any ‘I’m not good enough for God’ mentalities that we might have. Just look at how God used Mary. There’s no reason why God can’t use you or me to just as powerful an effect.
The Bible doesn’t explicitly say how old Mary was, but scholars believe that she wasn’t very old at all. Many estimates age her as being under 20 (many around the age of 14). Wow. When I was 14, I would get home from school and play a bit of FIFA, or kick a football against a wall…..I certainly was not ready to be the parent to God’s only Son, who I was told would reign over all of God’s people ( verse 33 - Jacob’s descendants, Israel)! But yet if we move on slightly from that passage to verse 38, we read “’I am the Lord’s servant’, Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her”. Mary, a young girl from Nazareth obediently accepts the promise spoken over her. I’m sure that she must have had other plans, but she sets everything aside and says ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’. Why can’t we all be so courageous when God asks us to do things!
So….Mary, did she know? No. I don’t think she could have had any idea of quite what God had in store for her. You and me, do we know? No. Not all of the time. God is constantly revealing his desires for us, and that’s part of the exciting journey that we’re on with him.
Mary, did she obey? Yes. She certainly did! She set aside her agendas and wholeheartedly followed what God asked of her, despite how huge it was. You and me, do we obey? Sadly, I think not as much as we should do. So the next time that God asks something of us, let’s try to be more like Mary, and follow God with all that we have.