Mary, Did you know?

Story Behind the Song
Mark Lowry's "Mary Did You Know?"

Mark Lowry is best known as a singer and comedian who spent more than a decade as a regular fixture of Bill Gaither's vocal band. But years from now, when all is said and done, Lowry's most enduring legacy will probably be the beautiful little song that he wrote 18 years ago as a meditation for a Christmas program at his church.

In 1984, the leaders at Lowry's Nashville congregation asked him if he'd be willing to write a musical for Advent. He gladly agreed. Inspiration came as Lowry focused his heart and mind on the wonder of Christmas.

"I tried to picture Mary holding the baby Jesus on the first Christmas morning and wondered what she was thinking about that child," he says. "She knew he was special�the Virgin Birth was her first clue�but could she ever imagine all the things that he would do while he was here?"

Soon, Lowry came up with a series of questions that he would like to ask Mary: "Did she know he would walk on water? Raise the dead? Give sight to the blind?"

Lowry decided to use the questions as a monologue to be recited between the scenes of his musical. But the profundity of those questions lingered in his mind long after the church musical was done.

Six years later, harmonica virtuoso Buddy Greene supplied just the right music and "Mary, Did You Know?" was complete.

Since then, Lowry and Greene's tune has become a modern classic. It has been recorded by more than 30 different artists (besides Lowry), including Kenny Rogers, Kathleen Battle, and Reba McEntire.

"I hear from a lot of people who have sung it in the church choir for Christmas and Easter programs," says Lowry. "When I wrote it, I felt there was something special there, but I never imagined how wide-reaching it would become."

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