The Gospel Passage – The First Sunday After Christmas:
Many years have passed since Jesus’ birth, although the gospel of Luke skips over those years. That is partly why I decided to wait until later in the morning to post this; although you may be reading it one after another.
In any case, Jesus has grown into a teenage boy – in his culture maybe closer to manhood, because the period of time being a child and being an adult was shorter than it is now. He and his parents have been going to Jerusalem and it was probably a familiar journey.
“Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.” (Luke 2:41-42)
From what is written in the gospel of Luke we can assume that they traveled in a group, and that Jesus was with friends and relatives and not by his parents side.
“When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.” (Verses 43-45)
Those of us who are parents can relate across the years and the cultural span to what Jesus’ parents must have been feeling. Danger is danger no matter the time and place. And while the journey to and from Jerusalem was familiar, there was good reason to travel in the safety of a group. And the city of Jerusalem was a large place with many dangers lurking in dark corners.
“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.” (Verses 45 – 51a)
This, I think, was the first phase of Jesus’ journey towards being our Lord and God. While earthly and human concerns were important to him, they did not bind him and hold him as they do us. Jesus came to earth with a purpose and mission. And nothing would dissuade him from it. We see that when Jesus starts his ministry.
His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.” (51b-52)
And again, Mary ponders these things. I can imagine her thinking, “My son is different from other children. His birth was heralded by angels; and many people came to see him from close by and at a distance. His life was in danger at a young age; but danger does not seem to phase him. How long will my son be just “my son”?”
As Christmas Day turns to the day after Christmas and then to the Sunday after Christmas, so we turn our attention from Jesus as a baby to Jesus our Lord. And we will, I hope and pray, discover for ourselves who Jesus is to us, and that means in our lives. Selah!