Mary, Did You Know?
Greetings in love to all; With the New Year, we all make plans and try to fix what didn’t work last year. As parents and grandparents and mentors in the family of faith, we are probably preparing for whatever is next in the life of our future generations. We want to be ready.
But there are periods during parenthood when we aren’t sure what the future holds. The obstacles we face in parenting may include illness, behavioral issues, or developmental delays or only God knows what else. One moment we feel confident in their direction and the next moment we question what will become of God’s precious children. As loving, God-fearing “co-parents”, we all experience these doubts.
A Christmas song keeps coming to my mind: Mary Did You Know by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene, explores the perplexity of whether Mary fully grasped the task of being a mother to Jesus. The lyrics pose a series of questions: did Mary know Jesus would save our sons and daughters? Walk on water, heal the sick, be heaven’s perfect lamb? That he would one day save all the nations? As a parent and as a lover of all God’s children, this song resonates with me in the depths of my soul. Like Mary, I vividly remember treasuring quiet moments as I rocked my own children to sleep, not fully knowing what was to come – and those moments of sheer panic. The song makes us wonder how we raise our children with so little information about their future.
A closer look at Mary’s parenting provides us a wonderful example of not fully knowing the weight of raising Jesus but trusting God in her times of uncertainty and suffering. We wonder what Mary, who was merely a teenager, thought when an angel of the Lord came to visit, foretelling her miraculous pregnancy even though she was still a virgin and betrothed to Joseph. But she trusted all he said to be true, saying, “I am the Lord’s servant.” (Luke 1:38). While Mary didn’t know (but could probably guess) how her friends and family would react to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, she trusted God. She went to visit Elizabeth who exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!” Mary continued to enjoy time with Elizabeth until she returned home, trusting God with her pregnancy even in the uncertainty.
We wonder what Mary thought when Joseph told her they had to travel to Bethlehem to register for the census when she was nine months pregnant. With no place to stay, she gave birth to Jesus in a stable. Mary didn’t know what would happen, but she trusted God for His provision even though she was in a stable surrounded by animals. We wonder if Mary knew what Simeon meant when he said to her only eight days after Jesus’ birth, “… a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35).
Sometimes the answers are right in front of us, but God has not opened our eyes to see the full truth. Perhaps God is preparing our hearts for when the suffering and uncertainty arrives, as He was preparing Mary. We wonder if Mary knew what Jesus’ ministry would look like. After they attended the Feast of Passover, twelve-year-old Jesus went missing, only for them to find him listening to the teachers and leaders. He said to Mary and Joseph “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49-51).
When Mary stood by watching Jesus being crucified on the cross, I wonder if she knew Jesus would save us all in his death. As the song ponders whether Mary knew the complexities of the journey Jesus faced, Scripture is clear that she did know who He was but did not fully know all that He would face.
Perhaps Mary’s faith as she raised Jesus provides us guidance as we parent our children in the known, not-so-known, and unknown. God promises us the Holy Spirit who guides us as we cross dark and murky waters while raising our children. Our Wonderful Counselor will help us navigate His truth and be our Comforter. When we treasure tender moments with our kids, even as we live in not-knowing, God prepares our hearts for later moments that might otherwise be too difficult to bear. We, like Mary, can trust God with our children even when we don’t exactly know the outcome of every trial they will face.
As we begin the new year, I beg of all parents and grandparents and all of us, make Christ the center of your life and of your children’s lives. We do not know what the future holds, but we can trust that God has a plan and purpose for each of us. We need to trust Him. We need to teach our children to trust Him. We thank God for sending His Son Jesus to Mary and us. We thank God that He used her. Thank God that He is using us also. Have a very blessed new year!
Associate Pastor Kay Knight
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