Thursday, December 1, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ Writers Wednesday ~ Mark Lowry ~ November 30th, 2016 ~

This week #WritersWednesday got away from me as I was working on Christmas cards. I love sending and getting Christmas cards so, I tend to take my time in writing in, addressing them, and really just making a day of it. We've been praying for rain and yesterday the Heavens opened up. It was the perfect day for my Christmas card project. Between the peppermint coffee, twinkly lights from my Christmas tree and the sweet sound of rain I was in pure BLISS!!!! All that to say, this months Writers Wednesday got pushed. So it is technical Writers Wednesday....on Thursday, this go 'round.

It is officially Christmas season. People are putting up their tree's, cyber Monday shopping, baking, and all of those other fun to-do's that come with the holiday season. I find it only appropriate that this months #WritersWednesday focus on a writer of a Christmas song. The is one of my very FAVORITE Christmas song EVER!!! From the moment I heard it, years and years ago, it hit me in a way that other Christmas songs do not.

Pentatonix - "Mary Did You Know?"
"Mary Did You Know", sends chills down my spine nearly every time I hear it. Last year or perhaps it's been several years ago, the acappella super group, Pentatonix gave a rendition of the tune that I think is one of the best out there. Nearly everyone who has done a Christmas album, concert or performed for a Christmas special have performed "Mary Did You Know?". Some people know and others might not that "Mary Did You Know" was written by Christian comedian and Gaither Vocal Band Member, Mark Lowry. Originally recorded by Christian music artist, Michael English in 1996 "Mary..." landed at number 6 on the Christian music charts. It has sense been recorded several times by Mr. Lowry himself, the Gaither Vocal Band, country artist Wynonna and Kenny Rogers sang it as a duet, Brett Eldridge most recently recorded it for the CD, "Nashville Christmas", Cee Lo and so many more the list would take days. The desire that so many have had to record it only confirms to me that I am not the only one who has felt something spiritual when hearing the songs lyrics.
Mark Lowry - "Mary Did You Know?"
Live in Henderson, TN
 "Mary Did You Know", Lyrics ~
[Verse 1]Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would someday walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?

[Verse 2]Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

[Verse 3]Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will calm a storm with his hand?

[Verse 4]Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You have kissed the face of God

Mary, did you know?

[Verse 5]The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

[Verse 6]
Mary did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations?

[Verse 7]
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding
Is the great I am
Mary, did you know?
I'm a visual person. I put things together by looking at the picture not reading the instructions. I hear a song and immediately begin thinking of what the video might look like. The imagery I get when going over the lyrics of this song often brings me to tears. I try to imagine how Mary must have felt in the long nine months in which she carried our Savior. There had to be times of loneliness, insecurity, doubt, and anxiety. I mean, who was she that people would believe she was spoken to by an angel or that she would be chosen to carry the Messiah??!! I'm sure she asked herself those same questions. I think about Joseph and the faith he had to have to stay with Mary and to defender her when people questioned her virtue, vision, and pregnancy. You know folks where talking. This is the kind of thing gossip magazines are made for these days, but back then I'm sure it was all whispers in the street and side glances. It couldn't have been easy for Mary and Joseph's families either.
I think the lyrics to "Mary...." is a perfect example of the conversation so many have wanted to have with her. It's filled with questions that I bet she will be asked 100 times when we all get to Heaven. The power of the lyrics of this song is almost overwhelming for me. I was running errands a few days ago listening to my "Nashville Christmas" CD when Brett Eldridge's version of the tune came on. It had been cloudy and the sun was peaking through the clouds like beautiful spot lights. It is that somewhat typical picture that one might imagine when thinking of Heaven. White fluffy clouds that we walk on with lights of gold beaming through to the world below. I got caught up in the lyrics of the song, Brett's amazing delivery of it, and that sight of the light beaming through the clouds and I got tears in my eyes. I can't even help it. I somehow have become a crier. I thanked the Lord for the reminder via that sight, via that song and stopped holding up traffic and went about my way.
Mark Lowry will always be known for a great many things. His humor, the way he communicates with such large crowds and yet still makes every person feel like he is speaking to only them. When listening to Lowry's comedy I often find myself wondering how he gets away with some of it. But always being grateful that he can because it is almost always right on point. LOL!! "Mary Did You Know", is consider one of the top 100 Christmas songs of all time. I think it is a honor that it will not soon lose. Along with Mark's academic, professional and ministry achievements I know that his name will always be associated with "Mary....". I would think he has to be proud of this. And if he isn't I know that his Mother was!!

I am an Alumni from Mr. Lowry's alma mater, his mother, Bev Lowry was a professor and frequent guest vocalist for convocation services. As the coordinator for some of these services I had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Lowry on multiple occasions. She was a hoot and half and oh so proud of her family. As certain as I was that this tune would be sung every Christmas season either at chapel or church I was equally as certain that we would hear Mrs. Lowry share that her son wrote it. It was as expected as twinkly lights and Christmas cookies. But it is something I actually look back on with affection. I like the traditions or habits we form for times like holidays. For a long time hearing this song sung by a Lowry and hearing the story of it's being written was one of mine. Actually, it still is. Just has a different vocalist on it now a days.
I know some people are tired of it. Some people have never even heard it yet. Others, like myself, have it on the list of things they look forward to during the Christmas season. Wherever you may fall on the performances of "Mary Did You Know" I would hope that you take the time to read the lyrics this Christmas season and spend a little time in meditation about Mary, Joseph, their families, and of course our Savior, Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite verses is, "Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered, Will soon deliver you. Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?". Again, I go back to what Mary had to have had going through her mind for those nine months. I can't even begin to grasp it all. I however am forever grateful for her obedience, faith, and the risk she took in following the calling of the Lord on her life. There is no way the years leading up to her engagement to Joseph and then with her pregnancy with Jesus that she could have known what the Lord might use her for. Amazing how one persons obedience can change so many other peoples lives. What a challenging thought.

Kathy Mattea - "Mary Did You Know"
Lord ~ Thank you for allowing Mary the strength, peace, grace and wisdom needed to follow after Your callings on her life. Thank you for allowing Joseph the strength, peace, wisdom and faith to stand beside her on what would end up being the purpose of their lives. So heavy!!! Thank You Lord for this song that we can be reminded of all You have done, of what You can do, and what it means to follow after the callings You place on each of our lives. Thank You for Your Son, the ultimate gift of the Christmas season.

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