Have you ever thought about this children’s nursery rhyme as having a deeper meaning? I certainly never did, but for some reason, today I was listening to the radio and the song “Merry Go Round” by Kacey Musgraves came on, and in it there’s a line about “Mary had a little lamb.” and I just thought about Jesus. Maybe it’s because it’s lent, but I decided to look up and see if the rhyme had any Christian roots. However, according to wikipedia, it does not. But I’m going to quickly try and give it a little more meaning today.
Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day
which was against the rule.
It made the children laugh and play,
to see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out,
but still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about,
till Mary did appear.
“Why does the lamb love Mary so?”
the eager children cry.
“Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.”
the teacher did reply.
Mary is the mother of Jesus, who is also called the Lamb of God. A lamb in the old testament is considered a “clean animal” and was used to redeem an unclean animal. See Exodus 13. Or quit reading this and watch this sermon by Ps. Robert Morris.
Then the poem/song talks about how the lamb followed her, wherever she went. The same is true of Jesus. He is always with us, by us, in us, around us. He is always there. Ok, pretty straight forward, right?
But now it gets interesting, almost prophetic when it says, “It followed her to school one day, which was against the rule.” The American education system started out on Christian principles, kids used to learn to read using the Bible. It wasn’t until a few decades ago that prayer and any mention of God started being banned in our schoolhouses. So at the time this poem was written, it was not against the rule, but now it is. In the poem it talks about how the Lamb made the children laugh and play, which is consistent with the Bible’s teaching of how Jesus loved the children and how our joy is found in Him.
Then we see that the teacher turned out the lamb, but still it lingered near until Mary came back. Not to get too political, but after Newtown, people asked where was God. The simple answer was, He was always near those children, just not invited in. I think that Jesus is still waiting for us to invite Him back into our hearts, back into our lives.
The best part of this poem/ song is the end, when it asks why the lamb loves Mary, and the teacher says it’s because Mary loves the lamb. It’s a relationship. Why do I love Jesus? Because He first loved me. Jesus is loving you, too, and He’s lingering near, waiting for you to come back.
Who knew a children’s nursery rhyme could serve as a reminder of Jesus’ love?