I’ve previously blogged about this atrocious “Christmas” song, film critic and recently ordained deacon Steven D. Greydanus wrote a far more eloquent line-by-line response. However, a new feminist, Protestant response adds a different dimension to the song. A Presbyterian going by “pulpitshenanigans” published a blog post abou thow “Mary Did You Know?” is “Everything Wrong with American Christians.” While her post is about 75% correct, she starts off on the wrong foot by essentially granting the song’s central premise. She asserts that
From day one [Mark Lowry] was taught that women in the bible are evil, maybe Mary was an exception to the evil, I mean she and her “purity” is what all woman should subscribe to.
More likely, as a Liberty University grad fundamentalist, Lowry was taught that Mary was the most sinful woman in history.
We’ve missed the fact that the news that Mary gets through this angel is that her body is about to be violated, she will become pregnant without her consent. She is to carry the child and she is to name him Jesus. She has no choice over her body or even his name.
Uhh, no. She is one of only four human persons in history who ever made a truly free choice.
Adam and Eve were “immaculately conceived,” so to speak. They were created without sin. Faced with the cosmos-shattering decision of following God or themselves, they chose themselves. They committed the Original Sin that each of us has had since conception (Psalm 51:5).
In Catholic teaching, there are four kinds of “real Presence” of Jesus Christ. The first is “wherever two or three are gathered in My Name” (Matthew 18:20). The second is in the Sacred Scripture, the Word of God. The third is in icons or crucifixes. The highest, though, is His Presence–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity–in the Eucharist.
In the Israelite tradition, the Ark of the Covenant was the Presence of God in a similar way, containing in itself the Law (Scripture), the staff of Aaron (foreshadowing the Cross) and manna (foreshadowing the Eucharist). Anyone who touched the Ark with any sin on his conscience, Scripture tells us, would die.
Gabriel said Mary was “full of grace.” How can anyone with sin be “full of grace”? How can anyone with sin truly be “at enmity” with the Devil, as God describes in Gen 3:15? If a creature with sin cannot touch the Ark of the Covenant, how could a creature with sin bear in her very body God Incarnate?
Here is Mary, greeted by Gabriel, with the message that she’s been chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. She knows the Scriptures. She knows what it will entail. She knows she will be potentially accused of adultery and stoned.
Almost every other figure in Scripture who gets visited by an angel, usually with news of a coming miraculous answer to a prayer, including Zechariah, questions the angel out of doubt, even legitimate doubt, and is given either a punishment or a sign. Mary questions the angel out of concern for her virginity. She says, aware of the risks, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me as you say.”
Eve had no sin, yet faced with obeying God or potentially dying from self-service, she chose death. How would we expect Mary to have chosen the hard way of obeying God, when she knew it might mean death, unless Mary *at least* had the same grace that Eve did to start out with?