Childhood should be a time of waiting and working!
Jesus grows up with loving, yet imperfect parents. They help him become strong and wise, but, ultimately, we all know that raising a child takes more than hard work. We must hope and pray that God’s favor will rest upon our kids as it rested upon Jesus.
Mary and Joseph make obedience a family tradition. They are so faithful to follow God that their practice becomes custom (i.e. tradition). What kind of traditions mark your family? Weekly worship or weekly sports? Yearly vacations or missions? Daily prayers or daily fights? Reading Scripture or watching screens?
Everything was pretty good; then in a moment everything became terrible. Mary and Joseph couldn’t find their son; they lost track of God. They look everywhere.
Finally, ON THE THIRD DAY, they find Him. He’s in the temple. It seems interesting to me that God is often not where we expect him to be, but he is always exactly where he should be and he is always doing exactly what he should be doing.
Jesus seems surprised at Mary and Joseph’s distress and confusion. It was perfectly reasonable (to 12 year old Jesus) that he should be in his Father’s house doing his Father’s work. I think we need to rethink our conception of children and childhood in light of Jesus’s behavior. I think we need to recognize that a child who has been born again is indwelt with the Spirit and has been gifted by the Spirit for the good of the church, so maybe we should work harder at equipping our children and then ask more of them.
While our kids should probably have a greater role in ministry than we currently give them, we must not forget that they are still children. They are in a time of life that needs to be marked by respectful and patient submission to authority. Let’s teach our kids to work and to wait well.