Mary Did You Know? Is stuck in my head.
I recall the lyrics of this beautiful song for weeks after Christmas every year, but this year it has a special meaning.
As I gaze upon him, my heart beating outside my body, my newborn son.
“Mary did you know that when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?”
And I wonder…
Did Mary struggle with fear, or any anxiety leading up to the birth of Jesus?
What about on the road to Bethlehem? Was she as tired as I was those last few weeks of pregnancy or did she experience supernatural energy and confidence?
She must not have anticipated having to travel to Bethlehem. How did she handle this change of birth plans?
Did the mother of our Lord have pain in childbirth? What was it like to care for herself and a newborn postpartum in a stable?
She was miles from her mother, her family, anyone who would naturally help care for her postpartum. Was it her husband Joseph who alone cared for her and the baby?
How did she handle engorgement or after birth cramps? Or did our Creator deliver her from experiencing all that He designed our bodies to do in order to bring forth life and sustain life postpartum?
Did the mother of our Lord have postpartum fatigue, blues, or depression?
I wonder because I believe that she was human like we are. Surely she experienced some of what we do? We are told that Jesus alone was the only sinless man to walk among us. Mary, though chosen by God, was human and must have struggled with her sinful flesh as we do.
But then I recall Luke’s account of Christ’s birth and I see a humble strength and confidence in sweet Mary.
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” v.38
And again in verses 46-55 in Mary’s Song of Praise:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation...”
Our God has the power to give mercy… is it possible his mercy covered all my questions and concerns surrounding Mary’s condition and circumstances? Of course.
And what does this say to us today?
God still offers this same power, this same mercy, this same care, and strength to us today.
When we humbly respond to God’s call on our lives, no matter what that calling may be, when we respond to Him as Mary did, as servants eager to let it be according to HIS Word, we too can experience His mercy.
She said in her song, “his mercy is for those who fear him.” And Proverbs 9:10 says, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
This Hebrew word fear actually has two meanings, Pachad and Yarah/Yirah. The first, pachad, relating to a fear and trembling kind of experience, where one finds themselves affected negatively by fear. The later, yirah, meaning a sacred awe and appreciation of wonder, which tends to lead one toward amazement.
I think it is important to recognize that Mary did have fear upon the initial meeting with the angel Gabriel and that he told her not to fear. Later in her song she relates one fearing God to receiving and experiencing His mercy. Clearly these are two distinctly different fears. She may have initially been scared upon meeting Gabriel, but it is because of her healthy awesome fear of God that she offers her life as a servant unto God. It is this fear that leads her to oebdience and that she attributes his gift of mercy.
No matter what circumstacnces we may be experiencing, we have an opportunity to receive His gifts, God’s wisdom and mercy in the midst of it all. And this gift is for us today, right now!
I hear another song that plays in my memory over and over again. The two songs are obviously entangled in my soul. The Same Power by Jeremy Camp
“The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, lives in us, lives in us...The Same power that can calm a raging sea, lives in us, lives in us.”
As I think back on the gift of this child I now hold in my arms, like Mary, I may not know all the plans God has for him, and in the midst of any of the circumstances He allows me to walk through during his life, I know that God’s mercy is right there waiting for me, helping me to walk in His power through His Spirit.
We stand here in victory as He lives in us fellow moms and sisters. His mercy comes in different colors and disguises. Sometimes, it comes as deliverance from the trials, which I am sure Mary did experience in her lifetime, but it also comes in the way of deliverance in and through the circumstances and trials, which she clearly also experienced as the mother of our Savior who was crucified for our sins.
If there is one thing I want to encourage you with today it is this…
Just as Mary could gracefully praise God even in the midst of the circumstances surrounding her, we too can glorify His name and be a shining light in all times. All we need to do is surrender and say, I am your servant Lord.