Can you recall the moment your child started to gain independence or come into their own? How did you feel?
In the infancy stage, we are amazed by the speed at which they are growing and starting to gain independence – even hitting milestones as small as holding their head up. We know how important achieving each of those milestones is, yet it still breaks our hearts because we know that all too quickly they will be leaving us to start a life of their own. This is where I am and I know I’m not alone. Every August, I see pictures in my news feed of parents documenting their child’s growth as they send them off to school. Most of the time, sad face emojis are included in the post.
Mary had to feel the same way about Jesus as he gained independence and became about his Father’s business. In Luke 2:43-51 we read about 12 year old Jesus remaining back in Jerusalem as his parents traveled on a day long journey outside the city unaware that Jesus wasn’t with them. For three days they frantically searched for Jesus. Can you imagine losing your child for THREE days?! I would be consumed by worst case scenarios, fear and probably some guilt. They finally found Jesus in the temple sitting among the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. When Mary and Joseph saw him, they were amazed. Mary said, “Why have you treated us like this? Here your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” I think some of us moms would have said the same thing, or maybe a little more …
Jesus responded in verse 49 with, “How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary [as a duty] for Me to be in My Father’s house and[occupied] about My Father’s business?”
The Bible says that Mary and Joseph didn’t comprehend what Jesus was saying to them. I think a lot of us would have struggled with such an astonishingly insightful answer from our 12 year old child. God had a specific purpose for Jesus to fulfill on this earth. Similarly, God has a specific plan and purpose for our children. It is our duty to help them fulfill that. We do so by giving them opportunities and being present. If we are attuned to our children, we can help them uncover their gifts and talents. But, it doesn’t stop there. We also need to help them understand how to use those gifts and talents to help others.
Verse 51-52 states, “And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was [habitually] obedient to them; and his mother kept and closely and persistently guarded all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom (in broad and full understanding) and in stature and years, and in favor with God and man.”
Mary dealt with some real emotions concerning Jesus maturing and fulfilling God’s call on his life. I’m sure just like us, some days were more challenging than others. But Mary closely guarded Jesus’ actions in her heart and Jesus continued to increase in wisdom and grow in God’s favor. Healthy things grow, right? So we know that despite the challenges she faced, Mary did her best to support Jesus’ calling, and clearly, she was effective.
We see how Mary had to let go of her child and let him become a man, God’s son, the Messiah. Letting go of our kids when we have nurtured them for years can be very difficult. But when the time comes to step back and let go, we must do so in spite of our hurt or hesitation. Then our proteges can exercise their wings, take flight and soar to the heights God intended for them!
Merry Christmas to all!!! Hoping today brings you a full belly and a happy heart.