Music

Story Behind the Song: Mark Lowry's Theological Question, 'Mary, Did You Know'

https://youtu.be/bXmfkFoX-PE

"Mary, Did You Know" brings a different question to mind. Did Songwriter, singer, comedian and longtime Gaither Vocal Band member Mark Lowry have any clue that he was writing one of the few songs from the '90s that would become a Christmas classic?

Lowry first came up with the concept in 1984 and spent seven years ironing out the lyrics. Harmonia legend and fellow gospel artist Buddy Greene wrote the musical accompaniment in 1991, the same year the song debuted on Christian artist Michael English's self-titled debut album.

In the years to come, Lowry's layman's terms retelling of Jesus' origin story appeared on Christmas albums by artists from outside of gospel music. Kenny Rogers' 1996 Christmas collection The Gift includes a duet version with Wynonna. Others cutting their own rendition for a holiday album include CeeLo Green, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood and a cappella singing group Pentatonix. The latter's an especially moving version and can be heard on holiday album That's Christmas to Me.

The popular song's not without its critics. Mike Frost, a leading voice of the missional church movement, reminds us that Mary knew her place in history. That's why he dismisses Lowry's work as "the least Biblical, most sexist Christmas song ever written."

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"Could you imagine a song asking Abraham 17 times if he knew he'd be the father of a great nation? Would we sing 'David, did you know you'd rule the kingdom of Israel?'," Frost wrote on his website. "We know both men knew this because God revealed it to them. But to the woman, Mary, we sing a condescending Christmas song asking her if she had any idea what on earth she was doing."

Even if it doesn't necessarily line up with literal interpretations of the Bible, "Mary, Did You Know" fits the same Christian Christmas playlists that give us an excuse to hear another Gaither Vocal Band alum, David Phelps, belt out "O, Holy Night."

"Mary, Did You Know" 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've 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 will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God

Mary, did you know? (Did you know?)
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know?

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!

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is Heaven's perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you're holding is the great I am

Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)

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Story Behind the Song: Mark Lowry's Theological Question, 'Mary, Did You Know'