Wake-up call. Moment of clarity. Snapping out of it. Refocus. It is when you are reminded of what you have known all along. Why do we so often need to re-orient?
When Jesus was twelve, he got lost. He knew where he was, but his parents didn’t and they didn’t find him for three days. We are all so curious of what Jesus was like when he was young or what it was like to be his parent. Would you lecture Jesus sternly or more so make a suggestion? “Hey Jesus, maybe give us a heads up next time if that is ok with you?” Would you worry about Jesus or just think he’ll probably be ok because he has some backup?
Perhaps an equally curious thing about this story (Luke 2:41) is that after Jesus explains to his parents what he was doing – he was in the temple (his Father’s house) listening and questioning – Mary and Joseph did not understand what he was saying to them. How could they not understand what he was saying to them?
The identity of this boy that Mary gave birth to and that they were now raising was made pretty clear right? Is there any way they could forget who he is? So when he they find him in the temple and he explains himself, I would think that instead of not understanding, their “silly us”reaction would be “Of course that’s where you were.”
Maybe they didn’t forget who he was as much as they simply lost sight of who he was.
Maybe somewhere along the way between all of the dirty diapers and late nights that eventually turned into dirty fingernails and little boy bed head, the deity got buried beneath his clumsy humanity. Maybe how fragile he felt to Joseph as he gripped the boy with his strong hands in a moment of playful shoving caused Joseph to forget his God-ness and only see his smallness. Maybe the growing of Jesus in wisdom and stature snuck up on them as fast as it does us with our children. Suddenly, he was twelve, filling out and becoming independent, but they still saw him as a boy.
What is obvious to us on this side of the cross perplexed them in the middle of his childhood. They lost sight of who he really was and that day was a wake up call – a moment of clarity. The message of the angel almost thirteen years prior came rushing back into their memory.
So it is with us. The things that should be so clear to us often get buried beneath everything else. It is the old toy at the bottom of the toy box that reemerges with a flood of memories and a big smile. Where we started often gets obscured by where we have been.
Maybe you have lost sight of who your spouse really is. Maybe they are buried beneath the quirks, arguments and pet peeves. You haven’t forgotten who they are, but you have lost sight of it. Or, maybe it is you. Somewhere under the layers of guilt, lack of hope or behind a shield that you built out of the arrows others shot your direction, you are still there. Or maybe it is the world around you. The humanness of others has gotten lost in the seething rhetoric of the news, leaving our neighbors buried beneath political arguments and our emotional reactions.
After Mary and Joseph found Jesus, he obeyed them and returned to Nazareth and it is said “his mother treasured all of these things in her heart.” I bet this was a great story from his childhood. One that resurfaced in the form of a smile years after he was gone.
Do you need a moment of clarity? A wakeup call?
Today, let the good rise to the top leaving in its’ wake the residue of the years.