(I love this pic. The desperate joy and relief of His mother at finding Him safe and being reunited. We should all feel this way when we've strayed and returned.)
Have you lost Jesus? Have you drifted away from Him? From His teachings, His word, His church?
It's so easy to do. We get sidetracked and distracted and before we know it, we've been led down a path far from where we walked with Him and His amazing Grace. Let 2013 be the year that you find Him again, find your way back to Him, to fellowshipping with His (and your) people in church, and feeding your soul from His Word.
The Following is from a Catholic couple, but it resonates with truth for us all.
*The story of the Finding in the Temple tells how, ultimately, our happiness in life — here and eternally — will not come from our family. It will come from God.
First of all, notice the setting: a family pilgrimage. This isn’t just a family vacation — it’s a family vacation with a spiritual purpose. It is important to take our families on such journeys.
But the whole story unfolds in a close-knit family. Notice the way the boy Jesus is lost. He isn’t forgotten or neglected by Mary and Joseph — they “think he is in the caravan,” the extended family group that accompanied them on this journey. Remember, these were the days when cousins were so close they were called brothers.
Once Jesus is finally found in the Temple, he asks, “Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?” He then returns to Nazareth and is obedient to Mary and Joseph. The lesson is clear: Human families are extremely important, but our spiritual family is even more important.
Look at the story analogically, and the lesson deepens.
We can easily put ourselves in Mary and Joseph’s place. They have had Jesus in their lives, but now they have lost him. So often we lose him, too, in one way or another. We might assume he will always be with us automatically and stop making the effort that is so necessary in the spiritual life.
When we discover he is missing, we might do what they did.
First, we might underestimate what it will take to bring Jesus back into our lives. They “journeyed for a day,” thinking he was somewhere nearby, just out of sight.
Second, we might look for him in a merely human way. They “looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances.” But as important as our families and communities are, they are not sufficient to deliver what we need. We have to take a step outside our family if we hope to find Christ.
Finally, “they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.” They went to the place where they were guaranteed to find God: For them, it was the Temple; for us, it is the Church. (note: for us protestants, it's the church, little 'c', and especially the Scriptures)
If we go to the Church to look for Jesus, we, too, will find him. We will find him in the Church’s teachings, in its mission and in the tabernacle, where he still sits, asking questions and giving “astounding answers.”
And once we have Jesus in our lives again, we can return to our families, enriched and ready to live the rewarding relationships that come with God’s grace.