Saturday, January 9, 2010

What Happened to the Other 11+ Years?

I've been thinking a lot about the gospel reading we read just after Christmas - Luke 2:41-52, where we learn about the Finding in the Temple.

You know I enjoy Luke's gospel, but I'm also someone who wishes he had every detail about Christ's life. And the fact that Luke's gospel skips from an 8-day-old Jesus to a 12-year-old Jesus leaves me wondering what happened in between?

What was Jesus like as a little boy? Did He run around outside with the other children? Was He always advanced compared to them? Did He ever get in trouble? Did He cry a lot?

And most importantly ... at what point did he go from speechless baby to a boy who could carry on conversations with temple teachers?

We may never know until we hopefully meet Him in Paradise, but I'm guessing that Jesus spent those years growing and learning .... setting the foundation to what would become a Blessed Life. (Make that the most Blessed Life.)

The more I meditated on this, the more it inspired me.

You see, this time of year is always a struggle for me. Religiously, it sometimes feels "just ordinary" because it falls between Christmas and Lent. Emotionally, it is a letdown after the Christmas/New Year's celebrations. And weather-wise, it is cold and dark here in the Northeast. (No wisecracks from my friends in Texas please.)

Which makes it easy to feel like these days are detours in the road until Ash Wednesday. Or Spring. Or a day where 30 degrees isn't considered a heat wave.

But this year, St. Luke has provided me with some motivation. He skips over those 11+ years in our Savior's life, but that certainly doesn't mean they were insignificant.

And neither are these days in January.

Like I imagine Jesus did, I will use them to continue building my foundation and grow closer to Our Father.

A Happy New Year to all of you, and prayers that it will be your most Blessed one yet.


Shirley said...

Some of the works of the mystics tell of the life of the Holy Family- Anne Catherine Emmerich, Mary of Agreda; how wonderful it must have been for Joseph and Mary to have lived constantly in the physical presence of God, even if it was overshadowed by the knowledge of the Sword of Sorrow. i love the ancient prayer to St. Joseph that says,"I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name, and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath."

Daily Grace said...

If I remember correctly, there is a scene in the movie "The Passion of the Christ” where Jesus is a little boy. He is running and laughing, and then he takes a stumble. His Mother Mary runs to Him and gathers Him up in her arms. As a mother, this always brings tears to my eyes.

This is such a great post. It leaves me inspired and spiritually hungry at the same time.

God Bless~DG

Unknown said...

I often wonder about those years myself. Shirley made reference to Anne C. Emmerich. Her Life of Christ is on my to read list.
While I sometimes find this time of year a bit anti-climactic as well. I am always grateful for the few weeks of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent.
As for those Texans who may be tempted to poke fun at those of us here in the northeast, I'll be glad to help you take them on :)
God Bless!

christopher said...

"No wisecracks from my friends in Texas please" and "As for those Texans who may be tempted to poke fun at those of us here in the northeast, I'll be glad to help you take them on :)"

Rats. Stifled before I ahd the chance... LOL!

Just two minutes ago I was reading Sheen's "The World's First Love" and his understanding of those missing years when Christ was "subject" to his parents. In it he he equated those years to the perfect obedience of God towards his human parents. It's a never-ending topic for thought, it can never be exhausted.

Anne said...

"That doesn't mean they were insignificant, and neither are these days in January." Those are significant words. I hope to use these cold, dark days wisely, drawing close to the warmth of the love of God.

RE: Christopher's comment-I loved "The World's First Love" it was outstanding!

Michael said...

Shirley: Will add Anne Emmerich to my read list. Thanks. And yes, I can't even imagine what it was like to live in the presence of God every day (minus 3!) for 30+ years.

DG: I remember the scene well. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself that that was a movie and an interpretation of what happened. It feels so real sometimes.

Karinann: Thanks for the backup ;)

Christopher: LOL - sorry, had to preempt your comments. Another Sheen book to add to my list. Got it.

Anne: You and me both!

the booklady said...

Good post Michael! Yes, I've often wondered and even meditated on Jesus's childhood. When I did the St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises six years ago, we were given a couple of scenarios involving the Holy Family @ home. We were supposed to 'see' St. Joseph teaching Jesus rudimentary carpentry or watch JM&J keeping the Sabbath, etc. Ever since then, I haven't minded the 'jump' because I have these 'memories' of my own to ponder.

On the other hand, as a mother myself looking back on my own children's childhood, I know that if I don't get out photo albums, only BIG events stand out. So I can almost imagine a much older Mary being asked to recall Jesus' early years. She would've immediately begun with the story of Him being lost in Jerusalem because it would have stood out in her memory as the scariest time in all those years. Perhaps after she finished recalling that story for her listeners, she fell silent, unable to say more ... and that is what led the evangelist to write, "and she pondered all these things in her heart."

Anonymous said...

Another great post Michael. I think many people feel the same way as you do about those cold days in January.The holidays are over and it is somewhat of a let down. I am looking forward to starting the 'Faith filled Catholic Women's Bible' I like to think of Jesus being a typical little boy doing all of the things little boys do. Happy New Year Michael! I hope you are blessed with a truly awesome year.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post Michael. Happy and blessed new year to you and your family. Thank you for your prayers for my grandmother. It meant so much to know that others were joining our family in prayers.