Luke 2: 41-43
“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.”
For 12 years the same thing, the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem took approximately 5 days, but it was worth it for the festival. The Passover, the celebration of the deliverance by God of the Children of Israel from their enemy is the most important Jewish festival.
Can you imagine what must have gone through Mary and Josephs mind each year as they carried and then as Jesus got older walked with him to the Passover. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world with them at the Passover. It must have been so special.
When you do the same thing in the same way for so many years then it is easy to become blinded to any changes that may happen, even major ones!
The attention you give to a child is different to the attention you give to a 12 year old. On a child your eyes are never far from them. With a 12 year old you are content with some distance.
I think the danger for Christians in the UK is that we have become content with distance that has developed between the presence of Christ and the practice of our Christianity. When the practices take our attention more than the presence then we can become blind. The practices will prove we still believe Jesus is who He is, we still love Him, we still go to worship Him, we still speak of Him and we still hold to the fact that He is with us. Yet we can be unaware because practices can blind us to the presence. If someone had asked Mary and Joseph if Jesus was with them their response would have been, “Yes totally.”
We lose the presence of Jesus because of routine, this is how we always do it. The festival is over, people leave Jerusalem and go home. It is what everyone is doing. The moment was amazing again but now we leave the moment and we get on with our lives. We exchange the moment for the mundane. We miss the fact that Jesus wants to stay in that moment longer.
Christians, unaware that there is an incredible and growing distance between ourselves and the presence of Christ.
Perhaps that is why Christians have become mute and Churches are in decline.
We have a vision of the journey but Christ is not with us.
We are unaware.