First Sunday of Christmas
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature , and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52Today Liturgical churches will celebrate the First Sunday of Christmas. Note this is not the first Sunday after Christmas but “ of Christmas” that is because Christmas is both a day, December 25, and a season which extends from December 25– January 6. The Gospel for today is Luke 2:41-52. This is one of the few places in the gospels where we see Jesus as a child.
The story is interesting. The family and friends make their annual journey to Jerusalem. It was a time of celebration. When it’s over they leave for home. This is a large group and in such groups children played with cousins or friends and the parents often didn’t see them all day long. But when night came Mary and Joseph realized Jesus wasn’t there. So they went back to Jerusalem and looked for him. They probably looked in all the places you expect to find kids so it took them three days to discover he was in the temple. There he was sitting among the teachers asking them questions. Further we are told that they were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Mary and Joseph like good parents immediately try to lay some guilt on him and ask how he could treat them like that. Parents are like that , first they are scared but then they get angry.
Jesus gives them a very strange answer “ Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Then he went home to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.
Jesus comes into the world as a real human being. He is also the Son of God but he does not know that. Knowing it would prevent him from experiencing life the way a real human does. Instead he has to grow into this understanding. This is one of those growing experiences.
Jesus loved us enough to put aside his nature as God and really be one of us for a good part of his life.
You might think that wanting to be in the temple isn’t really human at thatt age. You would be wrong. There are kids who experience the Presence of God in their life and they want to be in Church. I have had them in Confirmation. They are the ones who were there because they wanted to be not because mom or dad made them come. They were the ones that asked the good questions and listened to the answers. Jesus was human like them. He showed us what was possible for human beings even at this age as they relate to God.
God did this for us.
Then the text says “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
God became a real person for us.
“Kids will be kids” they say.
“ Kids will drive their parents crazy”, they say.
“ Kids are so thoughtless”, they say.
In today’s text Mary and Joseph are probably thinking or saying all those things. Jesus has caused them to become really scared. He has just disappeared. He didn’t tell them where he was going. They had to come back to look for him. They find him in the temple. They never expected to find him there. What is a kid doing in the temple.
We jump to say. He is God. This is the Father’s house where else would he be?
But you would be wrong. He doesn’t know he is God.
So why is he there?
He feels the presence of God in the temple and in the teachers.
Kids don’t do that you say.
You would be wrong again. There are kids in Youth Group, Confirmation, and Sunday School who are there because they sense the Presence of God. Sometimes they even have a hard time getting their parents to bring them.
These kids just like the child Jesus want to be where the people of God gather .
And the miracle of faith goes on.