Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV)
41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 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. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 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.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
Jesus was a precocious little guy!
This was probably not the first time that he tried his parents’ patience by wandering off on his own, either literally or figuratively, and certainly not the last time. It must not have been easy to raise Jesus, not only frustrating but also confusing, as he was no ordinary kid.
But then, what kid is really ‘ordinary’?
As parents we can often see our kids as special, but at the same time we can find ourselves discounting the wisdom of our children…believing they are too young and inexperienced to know what they are talking about. While it is true that parents often know best, there are occasions when our children can surprise us with their insight, as they come at things from a different point of view. For example, one damp spring morning many years ago, while rushing to get my daughter to daycare before running off to another busy day at work, she announced from the back-seat “Look at the heart.” I asked her what she was talking about and she pointed out a pattern in the moisture on the corner of the windshield, that looked like a heart. “That means God loves us!” she told me.
That piece of wisdom turned my whole day around and continues to inspire me, whenever the day feels too long, and life seems too touch.
Over the years, my daughter has given me great advice: like not to stress the small stuff so much, to lighten up on myself when I made a mistake, and has reminded me to rely upon my faith. She has also given me advice on relationships, warning me away from some, and encouraging towards others, including the one I am in now, which has been my most successful.
Of course, I have also shared my own experience, strength and hope with her as well…but the key word here is “share” because it goes both ways, as we have each gotten much out of sharing our wisdom.
Our kids are far from ‘ordinary’ and many can also be precocious, like Jesus was, or like my (now grown-up) daughter is. However, our kids also have as much to give us and we give them. I know I am a better person because of raising her, and listening to her…for I believe that God speaks through the people around us, through all those we love, and even those we don’t. And like Jesus in the midst of the temple, God’s voice comes to us right where we are, in the midst of our own lives, even when we are not paying attention.
Let us pray:
Dear God, thank you for coming to us right where we are, and for speaking your wisdom to us in the voices of those around us. Help us to not only give our wisdom to our children, but to see the wisdom in their words, so that we can truly share our faith, and the lessons we have learned in this life. For it is when we are truly sharing with our children and all those around us that you are truly in our midst.