Luke 2 ReflectionsPosted: January 19, 2014
It seems a bit odd 19 days into a new year to be thinking again about the birth narrative of Jesus. My liturgical clock has moved on from Advent—from preparation to Epiphany—the season of following the light of Christ into the world.
The Luke 2 text, though, prepares us for this journey—a journey which begins with a road trip to Bethlehem. From Galilee to Judea, from Nazareth to Bethlehem they travel. The season of taxation culminates with a road trip for Joseph and Mary to a strange place where there was no room for them in the guestroom.
The baby is born, and an incredible light show explodes in the heavens complete with a heavenly choir. Shepherds receive the word. Something big is going on here.
Mary has a bit more to ponder in her heart.
The scene shifts quickly.
Jesus is found hanging out in the temple and misses the bus home.
Already this is a pretty stellar line up: Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, shepherds, Simeon and Anna. God is up to something big.
Luke wants us to know that early on Jesus is beginning to recognize that there is stirring in his life which draws him to the things of God. (vs. 47) Fred Craddock notes that Luke is telling us something about this young boy who wants to learn from the teachers. We sometimes have the tendency to read this story from the future back. Luke wants us to read it as a similar story to I Samuel 2. The boy Samuel was given to God by his mother Hannah, and, in time, he was taken to live in the temple (tabernacle). It was in the temple that Samuel came to an awareness of his special mission. And of the boy Samuel it was said that he “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.” (I Samuel 2:26) Commentary on Luke. Fred Craddock. Pg. 42.
As I reflect on this chapter now three weeks out from the celebration of Christmas, I’m drawn less to the birth narrative than to this idea of Jesus’ early stirrings of his identity. This deepening sense of identity is going to cause him trouble—within his own family and later beyond his family into the wider world beyond his hometown.
(see vs. 48-50)
Given the idea that we are attempting to create a culture of call across the Nashville Area of the United Methodist Church, we might well reflect on those 8-12 year olds who seem to be drawn to the deeper meanings of faith, even in a childlike manner.
Could it be that many have passed our way who have indicated a similar stirring to the things of God and we have not nurtured them appropriately?