December 2nd, and oh, there are such wonderful vignettes in Luke, Chapter Two!
Luke first mentions the actual birth of Jesus, letting us know why his parents were in Bethlehem at his arrival. He then briefly addresses the fact that he was born in a stable, describing his being wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a manger, the animals’ feeding trough, because “there was no room for them in the inn”.
After that we are shown, so beautifully, the scene we love every Christmas, the shepherds, the angels, the annunciation, followed by Simeon’s recognition of Jesus’ purpose for coming. He prays, “…my eyes have seen your salvation…a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Such precious narrative!
However, it was the boy Jesus in the temple that instructed me today. I know you know the story: Twelve year old Jesus stayed in Jerusalem after the Feast of the Passover, when he should have been accompanying his parents home to Nazareth. Mary and Joseph, as any parents would be, searched frantically for him and eventually found him “sitting in the midst of the teachers” who were “astonished at his understanding and his answers”.
I love the scene where Mary says, basically, “How could you do this to us? You scared us!” His twelve-year-old reply sounds about right, “I don’t see the problem. You know I must be about my Father’s business!’
We aren’t privy to the rest of the conversation, but what follows makes me smile: He went home to Nazareth with them and obeyed them, as he should.
I love the next part. “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.” Even with such understanding of the scriptures that the Temple teachers were amazed, twelve-year-old Jesus needed to grow in wisdom. Wisdom that entailed learning to be obedient to scripture by being obedient to his parents.
And I wondered, with all of our studying about who God is, what His plan and His ways are, and what our own place in His plan really is, is it all for nothing if we don’t let it affect our choices, our words and actions?
It sure gave me pause for thought today.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Proverbs 9:10)