Dolly Parton Shares the Story Behind 'Mary, Did You Know?'

The beloved music icon reveals how the track, which is featured in her new album A Holly Dolly Christmas, “sends chills down me.”

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Posted in , Dec 18, 2020

Dolly Parton; photo by Stacie Huckeba

It's been a year—and a Christmas season—like no other. But thankfully, the world has the gift that keeps on giving—Dolly Parton. 

The beloved, multi-Grammy-winning performer is sharing an exclusive video premiere with Guideposts readers, where she talks about how she felt singing the poignant solo, “Mary, Did You Know” from her new holiday album, A Holly Dolly Christmas.

“’Mary, Did You Know?’ is one of the greatest, sweetest well-written songs that I’ve ever had the chance to sing on,” Parton says of the contemporary tune that was written by Mark Lowry in 1984. “It is so tender and so emotional about talking to Mary about ‘Did you know that you were carrying Jesus, the son of God? Did you know that this was going to be so that when you were kissing this little baby that you were kissing the face of God?'”

The country superstar, who has appeared four times as a Guideposts cover star, shares how emotional it was for her to sing the piece. “I mean, when I hear that song, it just sends chills down me. And when I was singing it, I got very emotional and I think that shows in my voice. It was really to me what Christmas was and just thinking about that if you were Mary and that you had been chosen to do that. I’m  getting emotional thinking about it. But anyway, it’s a good, good song.”

So good that Parton sang it at the 2020 Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

She graciously invited us to her native Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a few years back to share some of her very own Christmas recipes that she makes for her family’s own holiday table.

It was a classic Southern Christmas spread: ham, biscuits, pecan chicken salad and pimento-cheese sandwiches (fun fact: Come Christmastime Parton dons a red-velvet Santa suit for the children in her family, who call her “Granny Claus.”)

Since the pandemic hit Parton has been inspiring and supporting us in so many ways from her Imagination Library virtual read-aloud story times for children on YouTube to her generous donation of $1 million dollars to help fund Covid vaccine research to her new Christmas music—all more reasons why she is so beloved by her fans.

Listen to Dolly’s new Christmas album!

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