Last week our Pre-christmas service took the theme “Wow!” (sermon here). After the craziness of Christmas comes that quiet week when we await the arrival of a New Year. Life slowly turns back to some form of normality and we start to think about the future. For anybody involved in the ministry life of a church Christmas (like Easter) can be a little exhausting! People’s expectations can be difficult to predict at any time of the year, but during the churches special seasons, it seems everybody has their own traditions and ways they would like things to be done.
This year here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we are using the week in between Christmas and New Year to look at an often glossed over part of the ministry of Jesus, namely His boyhood. Scripture gives us only one account, in Luke2:41-52, of any things that Jesus did as a child.
In many ways He seemed to have been a lad who fulfilled all His parent’s expectations of Him. So when the family took a trip to Jerusalem they were not expecting Him to go walkabout. In fact they trusted Him so much that it was only when they were well on their way home that they even realized He was missing. They are worried. They set out looking for Him and find Him in the temple, asking questions of the religious teachers and astounding them with His knowledge of the ways of God.
When His parents take Him to task for His actions, He appears a little confused. He seems to have thought that they would know exactly where He was. “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. "He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
His parents really did not comprehend what He was saying to them. They were simply relieved that they had found Him. Jerusalem, then as now, wasn't the safest place for a 12 year boy to be left unattended. Yet Jesus appears to feel safe and completely at home. He describes the temple as “My Father's house.” We witness in His young life a deep connection with God and a dynamic sense of purpose.
For many of us, we can go through our whole lives never really feeling at home. At home with ourselves. At home with God. At home with each other. Yet when we come together as a community to worship God, our perspective can be drastically changed. We see each other through different eyes. We know ourselves to be beloved children of a heavenly parent. We catch a glimpse of possibilities that had previously been hidden from us.
One of the traditional things to do this time of year is think about New Year’s resolutions. On the basis of this passage a great one to make would be, “2019 is the year I will seek to find my true home in God's love!”
For some music Phillip Phillips sings “Home.”
May 2019 be a homecoming year. To God be the glory!
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.