Summary: What happens when Joseph and Mary loose the son of God?
Whew, Christmas is over for another year.
As always there is a big buildup and in the period of 24 hours all the spending, giving and receiving are suddenly over. Except for the ones that need to exchange things or received gift cards. Their receiving is extended just a bit.
So Friday night at midnight the cycle starts over. We reset our standard calendars and start ticking off the days until Christmas again. Today , We are 362 days away from Christmas. We have plenty of time to get ready for next year if for some reason we failed to get things ready this year.
There are a lot of things that happen in cycles, we get checks and bills in cycles. Traffic lights cycle. We tend to have about 3 meals a day. We come to church on Sundays. April 15th comes around every year.
I guess we live in cycles because we like to have a basic plan or tradition or pattern. For the most part we are creatures of habit.
In our scripture today we have jumped 12 years to Passover when the family is keeping one of their traditions.
Jewish Law required adult males to go the Jerusalem to celebrate three feasts each year. (Passover, Tabernacles and Pentecost) There were exceptions which exempted some or even most men; age, health and if they lived a distance of over 15 or so miles away. No women or children were required to go; however they were welcome to participate.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus live in Nazareth which is 70 miles as the crow flies however, much farther by ground as the terrain is down a range of mountains. The main point is that neither Joseph nor Jesus was required to make the trip because they lived well outside the required distance.
But, the general idea is that the trip to worship in Jerusalem was something that everyone wanted to do.
Think about it. Living in the hill country of Judea, where nothing ever happened or a trip to the big city. A trip with spiritual connections to a place with interesting people and things to see and do. This was a trip that families planned and save for all year long.
Our scripture sez: “Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.”
So, this was an ongoing tradition for at least Joseph and Mary. I am not sure that Jesus made the trip before this particular year. As a child Jesus may have stayed at home with relatives while mom and step-dad made this religious trip.
But now that he is 12 he joins the tradition and will go down to personally experience the temple worship and the excitement of going to Jerusalem for the biggest festival of the year. The traditions that he has celebrated in his home town will take on new meaning as he sees what has been described to him.
For Jesus, this event would have been a right of passage as he was soon to be of and age when he would be considered accountable to the Law.
Bar Mitzvah literally translates to "son of commandment" and implies "responsible male." Which according to the Law of Moses happens at age 13.
The family will be away from home for about 3 weeks. The festival itself last 8 days and add the time to walk from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back.
The scripture brings us to a human moment that many parents experience at some point.
It says, (44-45) “After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.”
-- I thought He was with you! Can’t you just hear one or both of the parents saying that as they came to the camping spot on the first evening?
That first moment of realization that their son was nowhere to be seen.
Do you think the either of them considered that fact that this was God’s son that they lost?
Or were they reacting like any parent that realizes that their child is missing?
-- When James was 3 or 4 we were at the mall shopping. At some point Renee called to me and asked if James was with me. No, I thought he was with you….
I can’t tell you what Renee felt, but My heart started pounding and she and I zipped around in the clothing racks calling his name and we saw and heard nothing. The time he was missing was probably less than 5 minutes but, it felt like an hour.