Forgetting Jesus

Today’s readings are found here

Something interesting, and a little strange, happens on this first weekend after Christmas every year.

You hear it when you talk to people, or visit with them a little bit…It’s a very interesting phenomenon.

I’m talking about the relief most people feel that the Christmas holiday season is over. 

My brother’s mother in law used to say, somewhere around Advent 3, “I’ll just be glad when it’s all over.”

Strange that those of us who believe in Jesus would be happy that the time of celebrating his birth is finally over don’t you think?

Of course, that’s not what they really mean when they say that, is it? 

What they really mean is that they’re glad all the running around, and the hectic, holiday chaos has come to an end. 

They’re glad that there’s no more fighting the crowds at the mall or the supermarket. 

No more stressing out about whether or not people are going to like your gifts or whether you’ll forget to send a christmas card or present to someone. 

Family members, and friends, and other guests are finally heading back home… and even though you love them and are glad to spend time with them, there’s a bit of relief in knowing that you can finally get back to your regular routine.

That’s what people mean when they say that – “Whew, I’m glad Christmas is over!” 

Of course, I think that part of the reason some of those things are so stressful is because amidst all the busy-ness sometimes we forget to remember the reason why we’re doing all this. 

It’s sad but true that sometimes we can totally miss the fact that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus birth, of the momentous occasion of God becoming one of us. 

Of course for some people, the presence of Christ is totally absent from their Christmas celebration anyway.

For those folks it’s about Santa and kids and families and being nice and buying presents and I get that…Christmas is a cultural and commercial thing for many in our country.

But the sad fact is that sometimes we Christians can sometimes forget about Jesus amidst all the hoopla. 

We can get caught up in all the hustle and bustle and holiday activities and totally miss out on the presence of Christ during Christmas.

We forget about Jesus.

The gospel reading this morning is the only story we have from the years of Jesus’ childhood.

We have the birth stories which we’ve heard over the Advent/Christmas season.

We have the stories of him arriving on the scene to be baptized by John as a thirty something year old man.

But we only have this one story of his childhood recorded only in Luke’s gospel.

It takes place when he is 12 years old. 

In his culture and religion he is not really a child anymore. 

At 12 he’s had his bar mitzvah and he’s considered an adult in the faith and responsible to look after his own religious practice and spirituality.

So he’s not really a child anymore but he’s still expected to be part of the family and grow to be a good obedient son, following his father into his trade and honouring his mother.

His parents are still expected to guide and nurture and support him though of course.

Yet somehow in the busy-ness and chaos of that pilgrimage to the temple to perform religious duties and touch base with the core of their religion they lose Jesus….and Jesus loses them.

They lose their focus and go almost a whole day’s journey before they realize he’s missing!

They forgot about Jesus.

You might be tempted to chalk this up to a parenting failure.

In this day and age of “helicopter parenting,” when many people panic when their children are not within sight or sound it seems strange that they would not realize he was missing.

But in those days of extended families and group parenting where it took a whole village to raise a child it was not uncommon.

Heck when I was growing up my mother used to kick us out after breakfast and tell us not to come back till lunch time!

She wanted us out of her hair but she didn’t forget about us.

If we didn’t show up at noon hour there was hell to pay!

I think it’s interesting to note from the gospel lesson today that as soon as they realized they had forgotten about Jesus they went looking for him.

Now you might say,  “well of course they did that’s what parents do.”

They search and panic and fret until the lost child is found, but I don’t think that’s why the only story we have of Jesus childhood is included in the gospel story.

I think the reason this story is included is to show us that it’s easy sometimes to lose Jesus, to forget about Jesus, to leave him behind, as we live our busy chaotic lives and only some time later do we remember and say.

“Wait a minute, something is missing;  someone is missing.”

I forgot about Jesus.

I forgot to focus my life through the faith that I profess.

When Mary and Joesph found the child they were relieved but that soon turned to annoyance….”where were you? didn’t you know we’d be worried? why did you treat us this way and cause us to worry?”

The answer he gives to them is the one he gives to us.

“Did you not know that I must be in my father’s house; about my father’s business? While you were forgetting about me I was remembering to stay focussed and stay about the business of God.”

From the mouths of babes….how often they speak wisdom beyond their years!

What about you?

Amongst the busy-ness of the world, of the season…do you sometimes forget Jesus?

Do you forget that the reason you make faith a part of your life is to be about the father’s business?

I know I do sometimes.

Through all the busy-ness of preparing services and sermons and lessons and carols and pageants it’s easy to do.

My favorite time when I can reconnect is in the Christmas Eve service right after communion when we light our candles and meditatively sing Silent Night.

It’s then that I can re-focus and remember Jesus and his importance in my life.

The stress of the busy-ness falls away and I remember Jesus.

As we move toward a new calendar year…and some of us make resolutions and review plans for the future…don’t forget about Jesus.

He’s important to us and we’re important to him.

Store up these moments of Christmas and ponder them in your heart all year long…just as his mother did.

Amen.