December 27, 2015
Rev. Debra Jene Collum
Now here is the thing about twelve year old boys (and girls) they are apt to do things which worry us.
How could the precious infant in the manger, remember him the one whom shepherd adored. How could he grow up into a child who would worry his parents so.
Well, because he is twelve. And as anyone who has lived with a twelve year old knows, they tend to get lost in their own world and forget that someone might be worried about them.
I think every person who has been twelve years old has a story to tell about worrying their parents. When I was twelve my mother often left me in charge of the 3 younger children in my family, while she went off to work. I was also the one who took my bicycle to the grocery store, across a highway, to buy whatever it was mom needed for the day. I didn’t think anything of it. Money in hand I would take my blue Schwinn out of the garage and ride on down to the store, buy whatever was son the list, greet the meat cutters and the cashiers who became my friends, put the groceries in my sturdy wire saddle baskets (do you remember those?) and rode home. Nothing to it. But I bet my mother always breathed a sigh of relief when I walked into the kitchen and dumped the groceries on the table.
Because you never know what might distract a 12 year old, especially when they are crossing a busy street.
And I know she breathed a sigh of relief when she returned home from work and saw that all three of us were still in one piece, because this particular 12 year old liked to become engrossed in a book.
It is what 12 years olds do. And so we shouldn’t be surprised when the 12 year old son of Mary and Joseph, and son of God get engrossed in conversation in the temple.
As a matter of fact, maybe on the Sunday after Christmas this is the best passage of all to read. Because sometime during the holiday I would bet that somewhere a 12 year old did something to worry parents, aunts, uncles, grandparent. And if not a 12 year old then maybe a 2 year old or a 6 six year old or an 18 year old.
And I bet somewhere in the last few days a mom or dad got distracted and lost track of exactly where their children were. Well, how about that, Jesus’ family, that so called perfect holy Family it just like us. Distracted, not always able to keep track of their children, with sons (and daughters) who cause them worry and seem to be more concerned for their own agenda than the family’s.
They are just like us. A family who has difficulty being together, who knows pain and separation, and who lives each day with concerns about paying bills, going to work, putting food on the table.
Jesus came as one of us with the same trials and tribulations and distractions as we face each day. Even as a twelve year old boy.
On this Sunday after Christmas, that is good news.
God with us is just like us.
I find this comforting as I head into another year.
Today or tomorrow we will be tempted or compelled to make new year resolutions.
I hope one of the resolutions you make in the midst of all these others is this: that you will see in your life the life of God at work.
I hope that you will see in your humanness the creative hand of God. And as you see in your humanness the creative hand of God, you will be able to see the creative hand of God even in those 12 year olds, or any person of any age who worry you so.
And I know this will be hard because most of the time we are not worried about children who are in church debating theological points with the pastor. Most things that cause us to worry are hard difficult things, staying out past curfew, that smell of smoke on their clothing, that glazed look in their eyes, that six pack in the trash on Monday, those grades that are just not quite up to potential
And like Mary and Joseph the first words out of our mouths will usually be: Child why are you treating us this way. Look! We are worried about you!
But after that, no matter what it is you are dealing with, resolve to see in that child somewhere the image of the child of God that they are.That is what it means to be holy. Seeing the Godness in those, even yourself, who make you worried.