Scripture Reading: Numbers 7:66-9:14 / Luke 2:41-52 / Psalm 35:11-18
The longest night ever for a child…Christmas Eve! There is a great deal of anticipation for Christmas day and all that it brings – presents, family, food and fun. When I was a child, my family would go to Grandma and Grandpa Clark’s house for a family Christmas Eve with all of my dad’s four siblings and my cousins. It was a night of laughter, giving, food, conversation and playing! Wonderful memories.
Our family Christmas Eves began to wane as I got older and eventually ceased when Grandpa passed away and Grandma became frail. Somehow Christmas was missing something; it wasn’t the same. What would dampen your Christmas spirit? No presents, family, tree, snow, traditions? Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some of those things but Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if it is wasn’t for Jesus!
We live in a world where Christ doesn’t affect their Christmas. Jesus is someone else’s “tradition”. They don’t miss Christ during Christmas yet alone give Him thought throughout the year. A Christless Christmas…could it happen to us? We don’t like to think that is possible but Joseph and Mary had an occasion when they forgot Jesus. They discovered they were Christless.
When Jesus was 12 years old, they went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. “After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.” (Luke 2:43) Joseph and Mary did not forget Jesus intentionally, but it happened never the less as Jesus lingered behind. Children are sometimes left behind in restaurants, rest areas, buses and even church.
Joseph and Mary knew everything about Jesus but they still lost and overlooked Him. Some of the greatest men have overlooked, forgotten, lost connection or relationship with Him. Adam did through his disobedience, Noah in drunkenness, Saul in pride, Samson in defilement, Peter in denial. We can also be vulnerable.
They assumed that Jesus was with them…with other family members or friends but He was back in Jerusalem and they didn’t even know. Their perception was weak and their presumption was wrong…they assumed. With every step they took, they were one step farther away. Our world does the same, blinded by their condition as they walk away from Him relying on a holy grace and their good works.
After 3 days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus where they lost Him…at the Temple. It’s amazing because they lost Jesus during a religious celebration. Even among the “religious and church life”, Jesus may be AWOL. Go back to where you left Him; He is waiting there for you. Mary and Joseph’s eyes of understanding were opened that day. With a renewed sense of purpose and hope, they took Jesus home. Remember, “A day without Jesus is a wasted day, a life without the Lord Jesus is a wasted life.”