This weekend marked the official beginning of the Christmas season.
And no, I’m not referring to Black Friday. That’s a day set aside by retailers as a real life pay-per-view boxing match.
I avoid that day and stay hunkered down and nearly unconscious from my food-induced coma.
But what I mean is that after the Thanksgiving weekend, most people begin to display their Christmas decorations and get more excited about Dec. 25.
Like the song indicates; It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, especially if you are an Ohio State fan!
I enjoy the Christmas season.
Angie and I already have our decorations up inside our newly remodeled living room – which is part of our Christmas gifts to each other.
And to top it off, we shopped from the comfort of our home in our robes and pajamas and passed on the opportunity to receive a black eye from a mall full of angry mobs.
One of the parts I enjoy the most about this time of the year are the Christmas songs.
I like most of them, both secular and spiritual. There’s “Blue Christmas” by Elvis, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, and anything from Johnny Mathis.
Then there are the dubs. Perhaps the five worst Christmas songs ever are:
* “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” – just plain idiotic.
* “Please Daddy, Don’t get Drunk This Christmas” – the title says it all.
* “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” – ridiculous.
* “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – leaves a bad image.
* “The Twelve Days of Christmas” – annoying.
On the other hand, there are some beautiful Christmas songs. There is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” I also take pleasure in knowing the inspiration behind Christmas songs.
One of my favorites is “Mary, Did You Know?”
The song was written by a lesser-known musician at the time.
But after Dr. Jerry Falwell asked him to write a Christmas program in 1984 for the Thomas Road Baptist Church’s production of The Living Christmas Tree, Mark Lowry became famous. He is now a well-known Christian comedian and musician, also due to his tenure with the Gaither Vocal Band.
According to reports and interviews, he struggled to capture the awe and wonder of the first Christmas when the Babe was born.
He pondered and struggled with writer’s block until his mother, Bev, provided him with the inspiration he sought.
She told her son that if anyone knew Jesus was born from a virgin, it was Mary, and her silence at the cross when He died was proof. That’s all he needed, and soon his friend, Buddy Greene, put the song to music.
I remember the first time I heard the song.
Angie and I were at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University. Country singer Kathy Mattea was in town, and she performed songs from her new Christmas album at the time, Good News.
“Mary, Did You Know?” has been sung by nearly 500 artists, but I am partial to Kathy’s version.
Her pure voice was made for this song.
While many modern Christmas songs focus on “the season,” Lowry’s thoughts are a constant reminder of the “reason.”
How would you respond if an angel told you what your child was going to accomplish before he or she were even born?
Would you be happy or scared? Would you feel pride or embarrassment?
I don’t know how I would react. I’m thankful my sons are godly men who are responsible. But I know this is not the case for every parent. Some children’s actions have delighted their mom and dad while others did not fulfill expectations.
This song makes me reflect back on how I might have acted differently had I known the future. The Lord knew what was in store, and He knew it was best to keep me out of the loop.
Now there is no scripture for this song’s accuracy, and that was one of the criticisms of the work. But Mark penned the lyrics as if an angel came to the expecting virgin and gave her a snapshot of great things to come. It was Good News.
The haunting melody is an intimate examination of Mary. She knew the joy and pain that accompanied a mother. She raised her Son into a man and watched Him suffer and die for you and me. What did she know?
Here is a portion of the song’s lyrics:
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new;
This Child that you delivered Will soon deliver you?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know that your baby boy Has walked where angels trod,
And when you kiss your little baby You’ve kissed the face of God?
Oh, Mary, Mary, did you know?
I believe she knew, because she … kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2: 19)
What is one of your favorite Christmas songs? What meaning does it hold for you? I hope you take time to listen to the song, and not just at Christmas time.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER - 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful —can be purchased on Amazon.