During this season, it’s common to hear Mark Lowry’s popular Christmas song “Mary, Did You Know?” It may appear on the radio, in the Christmas cantata, or on a favorite holiday album. It is beautiful and moving. But it begs the question—what did Mary know of her work in God’s plan? While we can never know Mary’s mind, we can imagine what Mary knew and take our cues from her.
Mary would’ve known that pregnancy and childbirth were dangerous and that women did not always survive. She was promised that her son would be called the son of the Most High, but she was not promised that she would survive the birth. Mary’s engagement (and likewise, her stability and safety in the world) were reliant on her status as a virgin. Mary knew the child in her womb would be born an Israelite Jew in an occupied Roman state, that he would encounter danger and hardship because of who he was—and who he wasn’t. Mary knew that in Roman occupied territory, Caesar was God and proclaiming otherwise was an act of sedition. Mary knew all these things, and still she said yes to God. Still she proclaimed God’s goodness at the top of her voice.
This week, let us use this scripture to remind ourselves of what Mary knew and ask ourselves whether we would be willing to do as she did. Can we risk ourselves and our lives in order for God’s world to be birthed? Can we face head-on the trouble that comes from going against patriarchy and authority? Can we understand the political trouble the gospel can cause and still proclaim it anyway?
God, you asked Mary, and Mary said yes, without safety or guarantee. And in her risk, she found great joy. Bless us today with what Mary knew—that your presence is worth the trouble. Amen.
As Christians we understand that our faith is rooted in the ongoing story of God’s faithfulness to God’s people. Micah celebrates this story, prophesying that the true king of Israel will one day come from the small village of Bethlehem, Jesus’ birthplace. Luke features women prominently throughout his Gospel. The two readings from Luke this week highlight the prophetic insights of Elizabeth and Mary. Mary visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John, God’s messenger. After Elizabeth identifies Mary as the mother of the Lord, Mary breaks into song, understanding that her story is tied to the fulfillment of God’s promises going back to Abraham. Little does she know that her son will one day offer his body as a sacrifice for all, as Hebrews tells us.
Read Micah 5:2-5a. What small beginnings have yielded great results in your life?
Read Psalm 80:1-7. What is your song of praise to God today? How will you share it?
Read Hebrews 10:5-10. How does your body help you to experience God?
Read Luke 1:39-55. How has God spoken to you through a joyous meeting with another person?
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