Like most people, one of my favorite things about Christmas is the music. I like the old favorites but it seems like every year I find a new favorite to add to my list. A couple of years ago I heard “Mary Did You Know” for the first time and it quickly went to the top of the list. I’m not sure what it is about the song that gives me the chills. The music is soothing and beautiful while the lyrics are thought provoking; put the two together and you have a winning combination. When you hear the lyrics, you can’t help but wonder, Did She Know?
When my daughters were born, after checking that all the parts were in the right places, I remember looking at each of them and asking some of the same questions every new mother (and father) asks. Will they be happy, successful, loved, smart, funny and healthy? Will they have their dad’s sense of humor? Will they be inquisitive like me? And later I asked, will they ever be potty trained, learn to tie their shoes, or learn their times tables? Happily I can report that all of these questions have been answered positively and I have two amazing daughters.
Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t know the answer to any of those questions ahead of time. The journey of life is more enjoyable when each day is like an unopened Christmas present that you slowly reveal. Trust me on this, nothing ruins Christmas morning more than knowing ahead of time what is under the tree. When I was in grade school, I would look in the closets and under the beds for presents, and I would even peek at the wrapped ones under the tree. I became quite good at peeling the tape away just enough to figure out what was inside. Did I mention in the previous paragraph that I was inquisitive? It took me a couple of years to realize that this practice ruined Christmas morning and I stopped; well maybe I peeked at one or two, it is a hard habit to break!
I hope that Mary didn’t know everything that would happen to Jesus. I hope that like all mothers, she was able to look on in wonder as Jesus grew and became a man. That even though she knew He was the Chosen One and the Son of God, she still didn’t know what each day with Him would bring. That every day with Him was like a long-awaited present that she slowly unwrapped and cherished.
I believe that God lights our path just enough for us to see the next step but He never reveals too far ahead. I think that He did the same for Mary and Joseph. They knew enough to be good parents and to raise Jesus into an adult, but they didn’t know that He would be crucified, buried and rise again. I don’t think anyone would want that knowledge ahead of time – especially a loving parent.
As I start 2017, I pray I can look forward to each day that God gives me and savor it; that I enjoy the anticipation of what He has planned for me; and that I can accept the gift even if it isn’t what I wanted.