How, precisely, does one bring up the Messiah so he turns out right? Jeanie Miley (who is on a roll!) lays it out for us:
The popular song “Mary, Did You Know” confronts us with the possibility that perhaps she didn’t have the full picture of Jesus’ life when he was born. Sometimes when I teach about this, people get upset about the idea that Mary might have learned who he was a little at a time, but mostly I think the upset is more about having a long-held cherished belief challenged. There’s just something about that Christmas story that we love, and we don’t much want anyone tampering with our ideas about it, and yet I keep wanting to ask, “Mary, what did you know? And when did you know it?”
Since I believe that Jesus was fully human and fully divine, however, I keep on asking the questions about what it was like for him and for his family as he grew up in a real family, a neighborhood, a group of friends. I wonder if there was sibling rivalry. Did Joseph scold him? Were there times when Mary was frustrated with him, besides that time at the Temple when he was twelve, of course, and showed himself to be unusually precocious. That Mark relates in his gospel that at one time when Jesus was drawing such a crowd because of what he was doing, his family went to get him and to take charge of him, saying that he was out of his mind pretty much convinces me that Jesus’ family learned who he was in increments.
There is one thing I know for sure, and it is this: The depth of compassion and empathy, sensitivity and love that Jesus revealed isn’t developed in a child who is made to believe he is entitled, special and above the laws of others. In fact, one of the worst things that can happen to a child is to be made the center of the parent’s world or made to feel that she is better than other, and if anyone who is reading this needs evidence for this, read the newspapers and watch the news. Terminal uniqueness is not a quality that promotes the kind of Savior Jesus became.
Read it all, then come back and enjoy this brief musical interlude: