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Did She Have Any Idea?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Mary Did You Know. It came to my attention about 7 or 8 years ago when my dear friend Denise Bradford suggested I sing it for special music. (Little did I know at the time that Mark Lowry had written that song. Mark has long been one of my favorite Gaither singers.)


“In 1970, Thomas Road Baptist Church began a Broadway-style Christmas program that, for decades, was known as The Living Christmas Tree. The TRBC choir would stand, like live ornaments in a large tree-shaped loft and fill the auditorium with the beautiful sounds of Christmas. Today, the program is known as the Virginia Christmas Spectacular.


In 1984, as preparations were being made for that year’s Living Christmas Tree, one of the church members was asked to write the program. The virtually unknown singer-songwriter was none other than Mark Lowry.


…While he was struggling to capture the wonder and amazement of that first Christmas, it was his mother, Bev, who gave him the spark of that original idea.


In a casual conversation, one day, she simply commented to Mark, “You know, if anyone knew Jesus was virgin born, it was Mary…and her silence at the cross is proof, I think, that her story was indeed true.”


That simple observation, from his own mother, unleashed a torrent of questions and thoughts in Lowry’s mind about Jesus’ mother…

Lowry spent years trying to track down the right notes to cradle his lyrical baby. It was not until 7 years later that the lyrics found a musical home.


Lowry pitched the lyrics to a gospel music songwriter, Buddy Greene. Greene was well-known as an expert harmonica player but also as a staple of the Southern Gospel music scene. He had an ear for timeless tunes.


According to Lowry, he shared the song idea with Greene while riding cross-country in a tour bus. He wrote the lyrics down on a piece of paper and gave them to Greene on a weekend.


Monday morning, Lowry’s phone rang. It was Buddy. In just about 30 minutes time, he had crafted a tune, which he sang to Mark over the phone, that fit the lyrics perfectly. As soon as he heard it, Lowry was hooked and began to make plans to produce the song.


By this time, in 1991, Lowry was singing and touring with The Gaither Vocal Band full-time. He felt like the song was too “rangy” for his personal abilities but had one singer in mind to record it: Michael English. English’s debut album, which featured the song, had a seasonally unfortunate release date of January 1, 1992. Though it made its first appearance after Christmas, the song was an instant hit that insured its longevity. (Source: forestbaptistchurch.org)


Since that time, it has been recorded by over 500 artists, both secular and Christian.


Overseeing song service this past weekend, I chose this title to sing with the congregation. It asks the question, “Mary, did you know?” Did you know, when you kissed your little Baby, you kissed the face of God?


Did she know?


Did she know her Baby Boy was heaven’s perfect Lamb? Did you she know the sleeping child she was holding is the Great I Am?


I believe she did.

“So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you,…so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.


During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old.


It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralyzed in fear.


But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God.


“He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics—he’ll get the people ready for God.”


Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.”


But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time—God’s time.”


Meanwhile, the congregation waiting for Zachariah was getting restless, wondering what was keeping him so long in the sanctuary. When he came out and couldn’t speak, they knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people.


When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.


In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:


Good morning!

You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,

Beautiful inside and out!

God be with you.


She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.


He will be great,

be called ‘Son of the Highest.’

The Lord God will give him

the throne of his father David;

He will rule Jacob’s house forever—

no end, ever, to his kingdom.”


Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”


The angel answered,


The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

the power of the Highest hover over you;

Therefore, the child you bring to birth

will be called Holy, Son of God.

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”


And Mary said,


Yes, I see it all now:

I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.

Let it be with me

just as you say.

Then the angel left her.” The Message Bible Luke 1:1-38


To be continued tomorrow 😊


by Jeanette Stark – Monday, December 19, 2022

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