Grace: To know Christ more nearly, so as to follow Him more closely and love Him more deeply.
Text for Prayer: Luke 2:51-52
Reflection: What the Scriptures explicitly say about the life of Jesus after He is found in the Temple by Mary and Joseph but before He begins His public ministry is extremely brief. But that does not mean the Scriptures do not have very much to teach us about this part of Jesus’ life! What follow are two points with which we can spend some meditative time.
First, consider that Jesus, God Incarnate, Ruler and Creator of all that is, was obedient to human parents for about 30 years! How do we consider this extraordinary humility of Jesus? It took shape amidst the most usual tasks of day-to-day family life: the carpenter’s shop with Joseph, the home with Mary, observing the Sabbath. The majority of Jesus’ life was spent in this rhythm of every-day fidelity.
Second, recognize (as the Scriptures say) that over the course of His human life Jesus grew not only physically, but also in favor before God and man. We might be surprised how Jesus grew in favor before God while not seeming to do anything particularly special at this time in His life. How exactly does someone grow in grace and favor before God in the simple activities of day-to-day life?
God is glorified by our fidelity to the tasks at hand, done as well as we can and with the desire to be faithful. This may be the toughest (and most relevant!) point for us. We may imagine the service of God in overly romantic ways that distract us from what God has given us to do today, in this moment. Fidelity to God does not come in one grand leap, but in a continuous series of little “yeses” to God each day, day after day.
If Jesus was willing to encounter God in these ways, we can be too. Let us allow this example of Jesus’ fidelity to the duties of our everyday lives in love be our cornerstone and starting point as we seek to follow Him more closely each day.
Questions: How can I more deeply imitate the way Jesus lived in humble obedience to Mary and Joseph? Am I perhaps prideful or anxious, and so seek to please God in a way that neglects the day-to-day duties He has given me? Am I willing to accept that God is calling me first to fidelity to Him in the more mundane activities of my day-to-day life? Can I allow Jesus’ example to console me in my daily labors, whether joyful or burdensome?