There’s a Christmas song that evokes emotion unrivaled by most other holiday tunes. It’s not because of the melody or the beat. It’s because of the question: “Mary, did you know?”
As a director in Liberty University’s marketing department, it was part of my job to craft the messaging, which included knowing the history of the school. One story that lives on in that institution’s heritage belongs to an alumnus, Mark Lowry — who wrote this beloved song.
It didn’t start out as a song, however. During the days when Jerry Falwell Sr. was still alive, Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University were inseparable. He was pastor of one and chancellor of the other. One of the highlights on the Liberty campus each year was TRBC’s Christmas production of the “Living Christmas Tree.”
In the early 1980s, Jerry asked Mark —who had since graduated and become a worship leader — to write the Christmas program. As he wrote the speaking parts, he began to think about Mary and ponder many of the questions now in the song. The questions were used in between the scenes of the play.
It wasn’t until the next decade that Mark’s good friend Buddy Green put those lyrics to music.
The song has since been recorded by some of the most famous artists and groups. However, my personal favorite doesn’t top the list because of the artist. This one rises above the others because of its pairing with footage from “The Bible” miniseries. It’s included below, and I dare you to watch it and not feel the burn in your eyes.
Other Questions for Mary
In his book God Came Near, Max Lucado listed 25 more questions for Mary. Whereas Mark’s questions ponder the bigger themes, Max’s list dives into the details about Mary as Jesus’s mommy.
Did you ever feel awkward teaching him how he created the world?
Did you ever try to count the stars with him … and succeed?
Did he ever wake up afraid?
What was it like watching him pray?
Did you ever think, That’s God eating my soup?
I’m sure we could easily add to this list. God as a baby is the enigma of the ages. And all mothers can’t help but contemplate what it would have been like to be responsible for raising God.
There’s a Jewish proverb that declares:
“A mother understands what a child does not say.”
Which leaves me with one last question:
Did Mary know the mind of God
before he even spoke a word?
Mary, Did You Know?