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What Mary knew - and would she change a thing?
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A teacher told me once she had never met a more inquisitive, curious child as mine. "He is just full of questions." I am not sure if her implications meant that to be a good thing or not.

He does ask dozens of questions at all times. I think he constantly thinks up things to ask and when he doesn't have one, he makes up a question.

I was the same way as a child, still am to a degree. Except instead of being told as I was, "To look it up," and handed a dictionary or encyclopedia (Mama preferred the old Funk & Wagnall's edition she and Granny got me with S&H green stamps), Cole will usually Google something.

Not everything finds a clear explanation on the Internet though.

"Mama, why did Jesus die?" was one question he asked.

I told him it was to pay for all of our sins.

"Even the people who kill and do bad things? He paid for that, too?"

I told him he did. Grace is unearned.

This was a lot to process, which meant, many, many more questions.

"Is that fair?" he wanted to know.

I am not sure if it is. I told him that was something I couldn't answer. It was something I had wondered about myself before.

"Why did those people beat him? Did that hurt?" was another question.

I told him I am sure it did. It was not something I liked thinking about at all.

"Did he know that was going to happen?"

Yes, he knew.

"Then why didn't he run?"

I told him he knew that wasn't part of the plan.

"I don't understand how being crucified can kill someone...couldn't he have lived?"

I explained, to the best of my rudimentary theological knowledge that being crucified caused him to suffocate. It was a painful, long-suffering, tedious way to die.

"Why did they laugh at him and make fun of him? Didn't they know who he was?"

That's why they made fun of him and ridiculed him.

"Did Mary see him die?"

She did.

"That had to upset her. Don't you think that broke her heart?"

Oh, yes, it did. I think to say it was devastating is putting it mildly. I have no words to describe what that had to be like.

"Did she know he was going to die before then?"

I wasn't sure. We can assume she did. There were things that happened - a prophet telling her that her son will divide Israel and would cause her great pain as well.

Maybe she had an inkling, a fear or worry from the circumstances in which he was born.

She knew he was destined for greatness, but did she know the great cost?

"Do you think she would have let him do the things he did if she knew it would mean he would die?"

That I don't know. As a mother, I am selfish when it comes to my child. I can't imagine how Mary felt, it brings my heart pain to think about it.

She knew she would name her baby Jesus, Emmanuel, which means "God with us."

I am sure she wanted to change places with her firstborn child that day, take his place on the cross, but that was not the way it was supposed to happen.

"So on Christmas, we celebrate his birth, but we know that baby was going to die?"

I know this was far too much for a child to understand; it's hard for me to process, especially knowing Mary held her baby and swaddled him and watched him grow up, just to be crucified.

I used to lose it when I saw the crucifixion scene in movies, but now as a mother, my heart is softened towards this story of this baby, born of a virgin in a manger.

Did Mary know?

Deep down, I think she did and maybe despite that, she wouldn't change a thing.

You see, it's not about what's under the tree, it's about a gift far greater.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."