My wife and I have really enjoyed Pentatonix's rendition of the Mark Lowry classic "Mary, did you know?" It's fun how music changes and adapts over the years, and yet the message can still impact us in profound ways. As we reflected on these lyrics and Mary's own song of praise when she's encouraged by her relative Elizabeth, we wondered how Mary's thoughts about her promised child changed throughout the years. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, she penned these words early on in her pregnancy:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me--
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
- Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)
She sings of salvation, mercy, and favor through the miraculous gift of this child. She's willing to face the difficulties ahead in her relationships with her fiancé and her family, because she believes that God is doing something powerful and profound through her. She believes it so much she writes a song to celebrate.
It was one thing for her to sing it early on in her pregnancy, but I wonder her own lyrics echoed in her mind as angels sang choruses and shepherds and foreign kings alike showed up to bring gifts to Jesus in a stable (Lk 2:1-20; Mt 2:1-12). I wonder how she felt about God’s mercy and favor when Jesus had crowds following him, and it was sometimes difficult for her to get in to see him. I wonder if she ever doubted in that promise of salvation when her son was ridiculed, spat upon, and hung on a cross to die looking like a liar and a criminal. I wonder how her song changed in her own eyes when he rose again.
She sang of salvation because she understood something special about God's goodness. But did she really know what was in store? She obviously knew to some degree...but she couldn't have understood fully.
I wonder how often we fail to grasp completely just how deep our Savior’s love is for us. Just how good the peace is that He offers. Do we really know what a profoundly spectacular gift we are given when Christ draws near to us and reconciles us to himself? I hope today that we can have the courage to give up our lives so that we might receive that peace in full.