Like it or not, more and more Christmas songs are floating on the airwaves as many of us look forward to this holiday. One carol that I don’t remember hearing until I was older is “Mary, Did You Know?” If you’re unfamiliar, you might click here for a lovely version. The song asks the Virgin Mary if she knew all that her son would become in His life. It hints at life story and deity of Jesus Christ viewed from a mother’s perspective.
Perhaps because my eldest son’s birthday is two days before Christmas or perhaps because the last few years Christmas has been one of the few times all three boys are home, this song pushes me back into holding a baby and wondering who they will become. Whether one accepts the Biblical story of Christ’s birth as part of one’s faith or simply as a story, some lovely thoughts lurk in this carol.
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?
As members of the human race, we never really truly know who the babies will become. Heck, we can look in the mirror and not know who we are, much less predict futures for others. Certainly parents have hopes for their children; teachers might presume futures for their students. I remember one student about whom I had serious doubts. Doubts not just about his schooling but about his future as productive member of society. That student is now an outstanding physician. We might presume a little less because you know, you just don’t know.
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
I have felt this keenly: my children have all made me new. Of course, none of them are revered as saviors, but they have all made me new in so many ways. They have introduced me to new music, given me books to read, provided me with lifetimes of conversations and experiences that I would have never had without them. So many Pokemon! Oh, the strategies of Call of Duty! How about the current five year plan in China? With all of their experiences and loves, my children have delivered me from the person I might have become and pushed me toward becoming person that I am meant to become. We all have those people – children, friends, lovers – who contribute to our growth.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Again, my children are not viewed as even minor deities by those who know them. In fact, I am not personally acquainted with any holy men or women as such. Still, consider the contributions – past, present, or potential – of every human. We all are here and, as Robin Williams says in “Dead Poets Society,” we are all worthwhile: ” . . . life exists, and identity . . . the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” We may not cure blindness or control the weather (well, we might!); and while our parents may not foretell our exact gifts as they cradle us, we all have something to offer.
Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?
There are miracles within each of us. Some days the miracles are small, and other times they may leave us marveling. The fact that people can do so many things: blinking, curing disease, communicating, raising puppies, baking cookies, making love, meditating, breathing, driving cars, wrapping gifts, writing poetry, building airplanes, sculpting, air traffic control, dancing, cross-country trucking, maintaining plumbing, tucking children into bed – this is all evidence that we have trod with angels and kissed the face of God. Miracles are all around us, and as my eldest son posited when he was three, “If God is in my heart, then a little bit of heaven is always inside me.”
Do I suppose that we are all Saviors of the World? No.
I simply suggest that the miracles that Mary is asked to look for in her child are miracles that we can find around us and in ourselves if we open our eyes.