Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: the Finding of Jesus in the Temple

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, 'Son, why have you done this to you? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety?'" Luke 2:48

Mary's heart pounded in her ears, her breath ragged. She knew Jesus was the Son of God and would one day return to Him, but she never expected to lose him so young, so soon.

After a wonderful Passover in Jerusalem, they had been headed home. Joseph had searched the large caravan they were traveling with, sure Jesus was with his friends, or being fed by one of their relatives. After a full day of searching, Mary and Joseph had to face the fact that Jesus was not there. They hastily returned to Jerusalem to begin their search.
He was not at the lodgings, or among their Jerusalem friends and family. The city was crowded, full of people who had celebrated the festival in the holy city. One young boy was hard to find.

Another day, and another.
No Jesus.
Joseph looks tired and worried. On one hand, Mary is calm. God is faithful and has fulfilled all his promises to her. She knows He watches over her and her small family. He will provide. Yet, she feels a little afraid, remembering the sword that will one day pierce her heart.

Entering the Temple, they saw a group of men gathered for teaching. Then they heard the sound of a beloved young voice. They hurried over to the group, and found Jesus at its heart. He looked up, and smiled at the sight of them.

The men turned and began to praise Jesus to his parents, wondering at the depth of understanding. Mary and Joseph politely thank them, but hurry to take Jesus aside.

"Where were you?", Mary cried, pain and longing in her voice.
"Why were you looking for me? Did you not know I must be in my Father's house" he stated with loving concern.

Mary and Joseph did not understand. It was too much. Parenting the Son of God could be overwhelming sometimes.

Jesus returned home to Nazareth with them, and "was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart," (Luke 2:51)


Mary and Joseph knew the fear of not knowing where your child is. Turn around too long, and off he goes! They knew the sorrow of waiting to find him.
Once they did find him, reminded them that he did not belong to them, but to God.

As our children grow, we are also reminded they do not ultimately belong to us. They begin to become more independent. They do not need us as much, so not lean on us as much, so not want us as much. We thought we were tired of baby days and the demands of a small child. Hard as they are, our children loved on us, needed us, and nurtured us. As they gain independence, we must step back a little to allow them to grow more. It is what we want, it is what is right. But, it can hurt sometimes.

Just as Jesus reminded his parents that he belonged to God, so we too need to be mindful that our children belong to God. They are ours to cherish and nurture for so short a time. One day, they will be ready to leave us. We must let them, knowing God watches their every step.

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