When Christian singer/songwriters Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene collaborated on the modern Christmas classic “Mary Did You Know?” they hit on some meaningful themes that inspire millions each year. Honestly, I think they were a little presumptuous asking a pregnant lady or mother of a young child so many questions, but at least the song doesn’t wait for her responses! She had enough on her mind.
I have questions too, but I’ll leave Mary and Elizabeth alone and let them have some space. Instead, I’ll focus my inquiries on the other characters in the Christmas story.
Zechariah, father of John the Baptist
What did you think about during the months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy when you couldn’t speak?
When you resumed speaking at John’s circumcision and naming, did you know the Spirit of God was speaking through you?
Joseph betrothed to Mary
Did your father, Jacob, or Grandfather, Matthan, ever speak about the coming Messiah?
After the angel of the Lord spoke to you about Mary’s pregnancy, did you ever doubt what you needed to do?
Shepherds in the fields tending their flocks by night
Did you praise God, along with the great company of heavenly hosts that appeared? Or were you still too awestruck and afraid?
When the angels departed, who among you spoke first and what did they say?
Angels and heavenly hosts
When you received your orders to speak to us humans about the coming Messiah, did you have great joy doing it?
Simeon, in the Temple
When you saw the baby with Mary and Joseph for the first time in the Temple, did you think to yourself this was the best day of your life?
What did you do the rest of the day after they departed?
Prophet Anna, in the Temple
You spent decades in the Temple. worshipping after becoming a widow. How did you feel when you saw baby Jesus for the first time?
How did your worship change?
Why did the birth of Jesus pose such a threat to you?
What did you think when you heard the cries of the mothers and fathers who had their young babies killed by your soldiers?
Do you regret anything?
God our Father, Maker of heaven and Earth
Was it difficult to see your Son leave heaven, knowing what was in store for him?
Why do you love us so much that you sent your Son to save us?
When we celebrate Jesus’ birth every year at Christmas, do you look over at him seated at your right hand and smile?
Merry Christmas to all.
I think I might ask Pontius
if he felt a warning shiver
that a baby sent to save us
would thereby to him deliver
something that would be unique
in all of human history,
the chance to in his workday seek
the answer to the Mystery,
and to stand there face to face
with the living, breathing God,
holding opportunity for grace,
or chance to hear the crowd applaud.
Did he ken that he would quail,
our redemption coming through his fail?
This too is thought provoking. Thank you for your poetry, a blessing throughout this year.
Cindy, I’m really honoured by this. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!
You know that’s a brilliant, thought-provoking, salable book, right? Should we write it together?
Blessings of the season to you, Carol, and your awesome family.
A free book idea to someone who is never at a loss for them!
Thank you for these questions. They make me ponder the wonder of Christmas and God’s love.
Thank you … Thought-provoking for sure… Awesome post
Mary Kuhlmann Antholz
Fantastic thoughts! Thank you.
So powerful! Thank you for this!
Andrew M Budek-Schmeisser
Every night I face the night
that may not know another day,
and I dearly wish I might
know the thing which comes my way,
like Mary in the straw-filled manger,
or Jesus in the anguished garden;
how did both accept the danger
and yet not let their soft hearts harden
against the pull of frantic thought
that was real, and devil-placed,
saying that they really ought
to recant, not be disgraced,
but they both steered quite straight the plow,
and I wish that they could show me how.
Linda Riggs Mayfield
Andrew, How I appreciate your sonnets! This one resonated especially because my beloved husband passed away five weeks ago, just 35 days after his cancer diagnosis, and I’m asking the same profound questions you are, although from a different vantage point. I am trying to steer straight the plow into a life of unexpected widowhood, and am seeking those who can show me how. I’m prayerfully planning a blog that may be entitled The Widow’s Mites, based on Jesus’ observation in the temple of the widow who had little to offer, but gave it all. Thank you for always challenging us to deep thoughts.
Here’s one I’ve wondered (and written) about: To the shepherds and those they told about the angels’ message who were “amazed,” — What happened to you in the next three decades? Did you, in the first years, tell your children and grandchildren about that night and hope? But as the memory faded and the baby and His family disappeared into obscurity in Galilee, did you wonder if you’d imagined it all? Did you quit telling the story? Did you lose hope that it was the Messiah? Or did you somehow follow any news you had of Him as He grew up and started teaching? And when you heard He had been crucified? Did your hope ever die or did it continue to burn within you over all those years?