In honor of the Birth of the One we commemorate on this day, I share the following:
I recall the first time I heard the song, "Mary Did you Know?” (link provided below), it was a heart-heavy night in 1997. A Saturday December night, and I arrived home from doing weekly grocery shopping; and my husband, John, was watching a Christmas Concert.
Just as I walked in, Kathy Mattea had taken to center stage. For a moment after applause, silence, then, the first cords, words, stanza of the song: “Mary did you know.”
Since the first December in which I shared my life with my son, heavy-with-child I was then, him in my womb; followed by Decembers multiplied, that led to years in which miles separated us Christmas season, sometimes Christmas day; thus, like my womb that first enwrapped my son; December seemed naturally-designated for wrapping-up, safe-guarding, and when possible making, memories.
Thus, “December’s memories” were always keen, replete with vivid details, poignant.
Thus, that December night, as I first heard the song, “Mary did you know?” the flood flowed free from my dam of memories.
How could it not?
The song speaks of a momma, a momma heavy-with-child. Any woman who has ever known the honor of the Creator of all things, entrusting you with a helpless-at-first, fragile, precious tender life knows, the heart of a momma, during pregnancy, is a heart under cultivation. It’s tender. At least such was so in my heart.
It was a heart, one surrendered to the plows, the rakes, then the spikes passing through it; it was a heart you prayed, that, like the pre-winter fields plowed, raked, furrowed, and seeded, your heart would likewise be ridded of the rocks, the hardness, the boulders that would harm full growth of the seeds the Sower sowed.
Any man who has ever loved a woman with child, he also knows, not only is a child in the making in the womb of that woman, but the vessel housing that child is likewise a woman under construction. Thus, day by day, on the two lives (minimally two lives…), the hand of the Potter works.
What’s more, if the natural process of such a miraculous concept—the concept, in short, of how fearfully and wonderfully we are made—functions normally, one soon learns, as the embryo gradually becomes a fetus; with sprouting limbs, to those added, feet, toes, hands and fingers; those hands, become the Hands of God.
Thus, the hand, which, directed by his sight which zeros in on your hand, your fingers; shakenly reaches for them, then with his tiny fingers firmly grips one of your fingers; that little hand that does likewise to the painted wooden camel, pig, dog, and kitten in the mobile that hangs above his bassinet; becomes, unquestionably, the Hand of God.
And with the same firmness that little hand grips the finger it reached for, or the wooden animal it reached for, so too becomes the grip of the Hand of God on your life, via the hand—the life—of your child.
It’s a hand that forever forms you. Sculptors your days.
Unique, paramount, to say the least, was the above miracle of life experienced by Mary the Mother of Jesus. In line with the above delineated miracle, the song, “Mary did you know,” speaks to the details of not only the forming hands then in her womb, but also to the work of that forming “Hand” throughout Mary’s life.
The song speaks of the outcome of one day specifically.
That being the day in the life of the one called “favored by God above all other women,” a day decreed in which that “Hand” would allow--by a plan made, the Bible tells us, before the foundations of our world were set—in a “moment” in which “Satan’s power reigns supreme,” “a sword” thrust through Mary’s soul. (Luke 22:53, Ibid, 2:34, respectively.)
“Mary did you know,” goes the song, “Your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy, will give save our sons and daughters? Did you know, your baby boy has come to make you new? Did you know, this child you are delivering will soon deliver you?”
How many a life of a young girl, young woman, gone astray, has the child in her womb, used by the Hand that formed all life and creation, be a child that makes her new, the child that that momma delivers and in so doing, in time, she herself knows “deliverance.”
Therefore, to that song, my favorite Christmas song, in my favorite rendition of that song:
A meaningful and blessed Christmas to all.