The First Sunday After Christmas / Luke 2:41-52
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Today is the last Sunday of our worship series with the theme, ‘Close to Home’. We’ve talked about what we are homesick for, who helped lay a foundation of faith for us, how to create home, and joy, for all, and seeking sanctuary where God’s love dwells freely and abundantly. And if you were at the Christmas eve service, we briefly thought about making room for unexpected guests, which means responding to God’s invitation.
Today in our scripture reading, following the lectionary, we see Jesus was found in a place that he calls his father’s house. If we read the scripture in a kind of contemporary conversation version, it would be like this: “Has anyone seen Jesus? I’ve seen all the other kids but where is Jesus? I can’t find him anywhere. Joseph, is he with you? Or Elizabeth, have you seen Jesus? John, have you and Jesus been out playing. Where is that boy?…
They might say something like, “He’s twelve now. I expect him to be more responsible. He should be where we can find him. We are now more than a day away from Jerusalem now. Oh, no. We must have left him back in the city. We have to go back to get him.”
Jerusalem was packed with Jewish worshipers from all over the world to celebrate the Passover. Usually this celebration takes about one week. The Jews also traveled in groups to avoid danger on the road like thieves. The entire group had to watch over each other, maybe particularly the kids.
Mary and Joseph also had relatives and friends in Jerusalem. They might have stayed with them during the festival week. At the end of the celebration, Mary and Joseph started to return home. They went a day’s journey without checking on their son assuming he was in the group of travelers. But then, they realize their son, Jesus, is not there.
Can you imagine how panicked the parents might be? I’m sure they were terrified. Of course their parenting style is totally different than now in our culture. It might be more free style, not like us trying to directly protect kids as much as we can. That is my nightmare. I often had a bad dream about losing my children and I couldn’t find them. So while I was reading this text, I didn’t want to even imagine the scene. Anyway, no matter how different parenting style is, they were still beloved. And, it would be awful to realize that they had left their child in a large, busy city that was more than a day and a half walk away. There are no cell phones to call and ask people to find him, and no cars or trains that will help them move faster. They might walk as fast as they can and pray as much as they can that they will find him before anything happens.
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