I finally get an opportunity to share my view on the Mary Did You Know song. So here it is: No, yes, yes, no. Then four more no’s and a yes, ending with another no and a not really! It’s a very thorough song. I bet even Mary would have to listen to it a few times to answer it all, but I think I got it right.
I’m pretty sure Joseph had a lot of “no, I don’t know what is going on” moments as well. I mean, every major life-changing decision Joseph had, came to him via a dream. This clearly was a consistent method for God to reach him.
Most people you talk to can’t even remember their dreams – which is probably a good thing. But Joseph’s dreams are huge.
As an example, in Matthew 1:20:
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
How about this one in Matthew 2:13:
“Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word …”
Then, in Matthew 2:20, 22:
“Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel… And being warned by God in [yet another] dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.”
That’s four dreams in just the first two chapters of Matthew!
“How did you sleep Joseph?” I bet he and Mary had some interesting breakfast discussions.
Talk about your dreams transporting you!
But while Joseph is hanging on to the steering wheel of the Bethlehem-Egypt-Israel-Galilee Express, so to speak, Mary’s been on kind of a different ‘journey’ since her first visit by an angel. (She was awake for that, by the way… which makes me think that maybe God has to sedate us men to get our full attention.)
Anyhow, Mary is dealing with an entire change to her whole life from the inside out – and I’m not even going to pretend to know what that must have been like.
But I think the where to and when they travelled was the least of her concerns. I think she was more concerned about what she was carrying, or better said, WHO she was carrying! How did she process that?
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47).”
She said these words before Jesus was even born! Still to come are the angelically-roused shepherds, the ‘Simeon and Anna Encounter’ at the temple, and, of course, the famous visit from the Magi from the East. That is a lot to be ‘pondering’ in your heart.
Clearly, Mary and Joseph did not have a lot of information or clarity on what exactly was going to happen, or the how or when of their circumstances. Maybe you and I can relate to that. There isn’t much predictability in our world these days. And we might be feeling that not a lot is happening that is sensible either. It can be confusing, even frustrating at times.
I think there’s something we can learn from Mary and Joseph – and I hope it is an encouragement to you.
If you read the first couple chapters of Matthew and Luke, you don’t see a sense of frustration or confusion expressed by Mary and Joseph. And I don’t think it’s because they both shared a ‘hey, blessed are the flexible’ temperament.
You’ll notice that the word ‘arise’ is in every one of Joseph’s encounters with God.
Maybe our learning from Mary and Joseph is as simple as, “I can arise because God said to arise.”
Can it be as simple as that? Just take the lead that God is extending?
Can we say, as Mary did, “Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38)?”
I read the other day in a daily Bible reading plan,
“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right (1 Peter 2:24 NLT).”
I think we have something in common with Mary and Joseph. Maybe not the rousing dream part, but the part where we get to say, “Let it be to me, Lord. I will arise, Lord … I can arise Lord because you personally look after me. I can live for ‘what is right’. Thank you, Lord, for the journey you are taking me on – and the journey you took that young couple on that first Christmas.”
Written by Pastor Hugh Morrow