Mama, do you know? How one Christmas song can’t help but change your perspective

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"Mary do you know" by Jennifer Zumbiel (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2018), CC0/PD

“Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?” If you’re like me, you may be moved to tears even after the 74th time hearing this song.

I can’t remember how I felt when I first heard it, but I do know that I hear it differently with every year that passes for me as a mother of my own children.

I am immediately drawn to a dark night in a stable surrounded by animals. I imagine a carpenter unsure of what lies ahead as he sits in a foreign town, but elated with gratitude. Next to him, I can see a young Mary full of joy and wonder and complete trust as she swaddles a baby that she has been told will be called “Son of the Most High.” I can almost feel her mother’s heart overwhelmed by a love she never knew was possible as she stares at her newborn’s face.

If you’ve delivered your own child or you’ve had the privilege of holding a newborn baby within his or her first days, you know the overwhelming feeling of awe looking at God’s creation in full detail as you touch those tiny toes and fingers and stroke smooth cheeks. You’ve experienced the feeling of your thoughts swirling as you think about the possibilities of greatness that the future holds for that child.

Did she know? As Mary stroked the soft hands of her newborn and dreamed of what he was created for, did she know where those tiny toes would carry him or the miracles that those precious fingers held within? Did she know the way his sweet mouth would grow to speak words that pointed the world to eternity?

Her “yes” to carrying Jesus did not come with a tell-me-what-will-happen-and-then-I’ll-decide. Mary’s “yes” came with complete trust and whatever-your-will-is-let-it-be-done-unto-me.

So no. The answer is no, she didn’t know. She couldn’t know.

But she did have faith that God would take her child down the path He needed Him to go and she trusted that God chose her among all women to fulfill the responsibility of raising His child.

We don’t read much about Jesus’ childhood in the Bible. We do, however, read about Mary raising him in just a few verses in Luke:

And his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. (Luke 2:51b-52)

She pondered everything her son did and said. She watched what he did and guided him the way any mother does for her child. She taught him how to live on this earth obedient to God, her father, too.

She helped him make decisions and demonstrated morals and values. She showed him how to be a loving Son and how to show obedience to his parents. She comforted him when he cried, encouraged him when he was trying to learn something new, and believed he could grow up to be the man that God created him to be.

Whatever that looked like.

You see, Mary didn’t know, but when she said, “yes,” she said yes to committing wholeheartedly to raising her child fully in God’s favor to completion of whatever his will was for him.

I imagine it wasn’t easy. It took great sacrifice to always be a Godly example for her child. It took discipline to say the right things and to constantly encourage him to become the person she knew he was created to be. It took humility to know she couldn’t do it all without handing over control to God.

“Mary, did you know?….”

For those of us who are mothers today, I believe this song moves us so deeply because in many ways it makes us reflect on the responsibility raising our own children brings. I believe many times we are overwhelmed with excitement and confidence and sometimes exhaustion and fear.

Do we know what our child will grow to be? No. But we do have the choice to know how we speak our own “yes” in raising them.

What if we took our newborn within those first hours and gazed upon them as if God just handed us his own child to raise and teach? Would it change the way we accepted our role? Even when no one was watching or writing things down about us for years to come, would it make us be certain to “advance [our child]in wisdom and age and favor before God and man”? 

Our perspective changes when we change our perspective.

“When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.” Mary did know that and we can, too.


Copyright 2020 Jennifer Zumbiel

About the author: Jennifer Zumbiel is a wife of 15 years and a mother of four and the owner and creator of Togather Moments. She knows the demands of a busy, distracted life and what that can do to threaten family communication. Desiring to help other families stay connected during the small moments they have together. she created Togather as an interactive mealtime game to promote conversation that matters.

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1 Comment

  1. Prov31wannabe on

    This is a lovely reflection. I get you. Thank you for your words and perspective. I’m paying attention. I want to be like Mary when I grow up. (I’m 57.)

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