"After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." (Luke 2:46)
He had promised me he would sit right there, on the bench, and people watch until I got back from seeing the exhibit. We were at the Field Museum in Chicago with a lot of other people. I enjoyed the exhibit, got back to the bench and he was NOT there. I didn't see him an;y where. I looked everywhere. I was getting ready to either stand in the middle of the rotunda and yell "DAD!" or get help from security. I really wasn't sure which - but then I saw him. He was walking across the rotunda heading for the gift shop where he figured I would get to "eventually."
Our Gospel reading, this morning, jumps to Jesus being 12 and being with the family for the festival in Jerusalem. The festival is over, the family has started back home and both Mary (and Joseph) were "thinking he (Jesus) was in their company." (Luke 2:44) They have traveled for "a day" (v. 43) before they realize Jesus isn't with them. This means a days travel back to Jerusalem and then the three days (v. 46) before they find him. No wonder they were "astonished." (v. 48) I can even understand why "they did not understand what he was saying to them." (v. 50) I can also understand Mary who "treasured all these things in her heart." (v. 51) We are also told he "was obedient to them" (v. 51) and he "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (v. 52) They found him!! They searched, questioned and found him!
There have been times, for each and all of us, when we thought the person (or toddler) we are taking care of is with "the others." There are times when the person we are caring for has promised to stay "right here" and wait for us. There are also times when we need to remember to "ponder in our heart" how God IS with us as we care for "our person." Something to think about........
"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." (Luke 1:41)
We spoke a couple of weeks ago about "going home." Which for some didn't really require any traveling. Today I want you to think about where everyone gathers..... in your kitchen? Around the dining room table? The fireplace? When you're excited about something are you talking face-to-face or are you using technology? With technology where are you - at your desk? In your favorite chair?
In the Gospel reading today there are a couple of things to notice and pay attention to. Mary has traveled from Nazareth almost to Jerusalem - the hill country town of Hebron. This is a distance of approximately 80 miles "as the crow flies" but over 100 miles staying on the roads of the time. A young woman, a teenager, traveling with a group (probably strangers) to go visit her relative Elizabeth. This girl who is excited, scared, confused and needing to talk to someone heads to another woman who is one of the best to understand where Mary is coming from. These two women, meeting in a common area - the kitchen? the patio? the eating area? - are sharing the experience of God's presence WITH them and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
So..... where do we get together? Where, and when, are we sharing how we KNOW God IS with us? As Caregivers when are we talking about, and helping, others to strengthen their relationship with God? Are we doing it face-to-face or are we using technology? Either with a cup of coffee (or tea) in a "common" area or by using technology to be feeling and sharing Emmanuel - God WITH us. Something to think about.......
"The people were filled with expectation and everyone wondered whether John might be the Messiah." (Luke 3:15 CET)
I think I have asked this before but I want us to think about it again. How are you at sharing? If you hear something you think is interesting do you tell anyone? Who? When? I have seen how we all come together to help, and share, when someone is having difficulty but what about when things are going okay? Or..... What about if you're excited about something? What about if you see, or hear, someone who seems to have an important message?
Think for a minute about how John shares the Gospel in the reading, this morning and the way it has people questioning if John is the Messiah. He answers the question in the next few verses but he also gives pretty clear directions in the previous few verses - if you have two coats share one. If you have plenty give to those who don't. (3:11) The other readings, today, also give directions about sharing -- Rejoice! Sing! -- in both Zephaniah (3:14) and Philippians (4:4). Rejoice and again I say rejoice! Two definite ways of sharing - talking (singing?) and giving to others. John is giving us an example of both. He tells people to share but he also explains (tells) about the Messiah.
How do we share? As Caregivers we are giving of our time and probably our talents. We might even be giving the second coat or the "extra" food. Are we, however, also sharing about God's Love? Something to think about........
"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." (Luke 3:4b)
Where do you think of as home? What makes it home? Have you lived there a long time? Do you still live there? Is it maybe the home you remember growing up in - or your grandparents home? I have moved a lot - but I decided to try counting how many times. I am not sure if I remembered all of them but I counted 20 before I turned 30. So if I were to think of "home" it would probably be my grandparents home in St. Paul.
There are two things I would like you to think about here. First the Scripture readings are about preparing the way of the Lord. John the Baptist is once again calling the people back to God with verses from Isaiah. Preparing is like getting ready but it is also helping others to be ready. It is both knowing, and showing, the way. I can still get you to my grandparents home. I know the way.
Which brings me to the second way I would like you to think about home. Our Advent study, "Christmas The Good The Bad & The Ugly" is pointing out, this week, the importance of the Wise Men. One important point is they are Gentiles. Some of the first visitors to the new baby are not of Hebrew descent. These men, and the only reason we say "three" is because of the three gifts, have come a long way. After they have given the gifts they "go home a different way." (Matthew 2:12)
My question to you then is... Could you try a "different" way? Where John is calling us, today, to prepare "the way" could it be a different way? Could we put God first, following where God is leading, befor the rush the world puts us in? Something to think about......
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.