This morning we found Elfie downstairs in our homeschool room surrounded by lots of friends. It seemed he was trying to teach them something perhaps. The craft he brought us to work on was materials to make a scripture ornament which the boys enjoyed painting of course. Our Christmas lesson today came from Luke 2: 40-52:
And the child grew and became strong. He was very wise. He was blessed by God’s grace.41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. 42 When Jesus was 12 years old, they went up to the feast as usual. 43 After the feast was over, his parents left to go back home. The boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But they were not aware of it. 44 They thought he was somewhere in their group. So they traveled on for a day. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 They did not find him. So they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courtyard. He was sitting with the teachers. He was listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at how much he understood. They also were amazed at his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were amazed. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried about you. We have been looking for you everywhere.”
49 “Why were you looking for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he meant by that.
51 Then he went back to Nazareth with them, and he obeyed them. But his mother kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. 52 Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.
This was an interesting story to read to the boys and discuss with them. Our biggest topic of conversation was talking about what it would be like if one of them was separated from our family for 3-4 days. How scary that would be! Johnathan and Ian chatted about several stories and times that they almost got lost, at the grocery store or when they were running too far ahead of mommy. Ian recalled one time recently when I said I was leaving. He had been lagging behind and not coming when he was asked. With all three boys in tow I had lost the majority of my patience. If I had a third arm I would have picked him up to come but alas God chose to only give me two arms. Anyway, I had said the classic mom line, “if you don’t come right now I am going to leave. Bye Bye…”. Ian was not alarmed by my threats at this point so I shrugged my shoulders and walked with the other two boys around the corner where he could no longer see me. It did actually take him a few minutes but then it happened….. “MOMMMMMY!!!!!” He came running down the aisle frantically looking for me tears streaming down his cheeks. Recalling this “traumatic” event in his life, Ian said “Jesus must have been so afraid!”
But Jesus wasn’t afraid at all. He was right there in the presence and company of His Father. As a mom I think about how Mary must have felt. Holy Moly I just lost the Messiah for 4 days!!!!! Seriously….you know she was in panic mode right? When she finally finds Jesus I can imagine her falling to her knees in front of him, grabbing him by both shoulders looking at him at eye level…..”Son, why have you done this? We were so afraid!” That’s what any good mom would do right? I have to be honest…..I am so glad I am not Jesus’s mom! Hahahaha…..but seriously.
The next thing we talked about was Jesus’s answer to his mother. He said in verse 49, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Other translations say “Didn’t you know I would be about my Father’s business?” What does that answer mean? The passage tells us that Mary and Joseph did not understand what He meant. Now I am no Bible scholar, but my best answer at this question is that the temple should have been the first place they looked for him because the temple was the house of God, his Father, and he was doing what God wanted him to do. My question to the boys was, If you were lost, where would the most logical place be for anyone to find you, and what would you be doing? Would it be a place that God would like you to be and something that he would like you to be doing? Their answers were funny and sweet and I will just say, for now………..I hope they don’t get lost anytime soon!
As I reflected on my own questions I began to wonder what my answers would be. When I am lost, separated from my community…..where do I go first? Is it to my Father’s house or is it to some other comfort of the world? Now I don’t think for a minute that the 12-year-old Jesus was afraid or was even lost for that matter. I believe that He knew His parents would be looking for Him and He knew the best place to go was the temple and the best thing for Him to be doing was to be around His Father’s people doing His Father’s work. So many times in our own lives we go through times where we feel lost or separated from those who are dear to us. I recently went through these feelings after we moved and I found myself without my wonderful church community. In the midst of this story I have heard a hundred times I found myself hearing a new lesson come out of this passage. When we feel lost, confused, unsure of where to go, the first place we should run is for the arms of Jesus and His people the church. And when we lose our sense of purpose, when we feel like we don’t know what to do next….. we should set out about our Father’s work. Serve. When we serve we not only help others but we find ourselves in a community of other believers, family even. It is there inside that community that we grow in wisdom, and stature, and favor with God.