Megan Oaks | @MeganCOaks
“Mary did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you delivered will soon deliver you…”
Whether it’s a favorite of yours or you choose to quickly switch the station, whether you prefer Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd or Vicki Winans (or any of the other dozens of artists who sang it); this song, like clockwork, makes its annual debut every year just after Thanksgiving. Personally for me, it’s a favorite. (Then again, I also love "Christmas Shoes", which I’m learning is the eleventh sin and something no one in their right mind will ever admit to.)
Maybe it’s because I am a mom and maybe my love for the song increased when I welcomed my first born just 5 days shy of Christmas day, but either way this beautifully written ballad is a great reminder during the whole year, not just the month of December.
When you think of Jesus, what crosses your mind? Maybe floods of childhood Sunday school lessons come rushing back. Maybe you picture him seated in a throne next to our Almighty. Possibly, you immediately think of his crucifixion and resurrection. When I think of Jesus, I ponder his childhood. Again, that very well could be because I have a son of my own who was born December 20th, so every year as he celebrates another year of life, I try to imagine Jesus at that very age. Being Mom, I also try to imagine what Mary must have gone through during her time of motherhood to our Savior. My favorite story concerning Jesus’ childhood is found in Luke. In these ten verses, we get a glimpse into the preteen boy he was and the Savior he would become.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:41-51
All of the parent’s reading- can you just imagine for a second being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes? Let’s put aside the thought that if we “lost” our child for three days, CPS would be called in faster than we could adequately breathe and just imagine times are today as they were in 6 or 7 AD. Imagine the fear they felt as they realized their first-born was not traveling the road home with them. I picture the scene from Home Alone 2, as they are passing down Kevin’s suitcase in the airport from adult to child through the entire family and back again. Finally reaching the Mom and Dad with the news of “Kevin’s not here”. Mom looks at Dad, Dad looks at Mom, and Mom immediately passes out.
Picture with me, Mary passing out the night’s meal down from child to child, and then it returns back to her with “Jesus is not here”. Immediate fear. Thoughts of what happened or where did he get off to. Prayers for his safety and return. Panic, frustration, pointing blame. All of these combined together, would be my reaction in this situation, and that is just in the first ten minutes. I’m certain in that very moment, Mary was not considering that her first born, who would one day become Savior to the world, was sharing the Word of God.
In verses 44-46 we see that they had only traveled for a day before realizing they were a man down; yet they traveled on for three days in search of Jesus. Clearly this points out their search was not direct. Mary and Joseph did not look at each other and say “Oh yes, he must be at the temple; that is where we will return”. Instead I imagine their thoughts first went to a curious, possibly adventurous 12-year-old who may have wandered off course during the day. Backtracking and checking every rock, bush and ditch for the lost boy. I’m sure fear was growing as each place turned up empty. I cannot even begin to imagine what Mary, mother to our Savior, must have been feeling and thinking in those moments.
So often we consider the baby in a manger and then immediately think on the man who took on our sin to be savior to the world; somehow forgetting the boy who was mothered (and fathered). While we celebrate another Christmas season, with whatever traditions your family holds dear, consider the mother who loved him so very much. Instead of quickly changing the station, take the challenge to genuinely listen to the words of “Mary Did You Know” and let them sink in to your heart.
Ponder how you, whether father or mother, would react given the message Mary received from Gabriel. Don’t forget Mary may have been as young as thirteen and accepted God’s calling on her life with grace. Her entire life changed in an instant. She would no longer be daughter, but mother -- to the son of God; and hopefully her fiancé would continue to respect and love her in spite of the supernatural circumstances.
Now, obviously we know the end of the story and know that God perfectly planned the beginning and end and all the in between, just as He has done for our own lives. But just as we are mere humans with doubtful thoughts and fear that sometimes tries to outweigh our faith, Mary and Joseph were also the same. I can only assume fear and doubt crept in. Thoughts of what if, probably crossed Mary’s mind knowing the consequences she could’ve faced for becoming pregnant outside of wedlock. Nonetheless, she answered Gabriel by simply saying “let it be”.
As we continue our walk with our Savior, and as He reveals His plans for our lives; may we respond just as Mary did with an unwavering “let it be”. Even when our frustrations boil, when times seem uncertain and the rug is pulled out from under our feet; “let it be”. Even when our hearts have been broken and we see loved ones taken from us whether painfully or too soon, may we place our faith and hope in the Lord of all and stand firm on “let it be”.
As we go about celebrating the birth of the Savior who would bring hope to the world, may we also be thankful for the mother God handpicked to raise him. The mother who loved him through life and death.
Megan Oaks is Maryland born, North Carolina raised, currently residing in New Mexico and looking forward to retirement in East Tennessee. Married to her Earthly hero, an Airman in the Air Force and mother to their three "acorns". Recently enrolled in her first college semester at 30 years old and striving toward a degree in Rad Tech. In her spare time, which is few and far between, Megan enjoys photography, reading, following the Baltimore Ravens and reality television. Air Force wife, mother to three, and daughter of the most high King. You can contact her via Twitter at @megancoaks.