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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, December 24, 2014
This time of year is a time most people spend with their family. It can be a challenging time, if you don’t have any family, have lost family, having conflict(s), or family is too far to be together. I hope this Christmas Season brings you the comfort and peace into your life and hearts.
I would like to share Michael Adam Beck’s (Florida) story with you that he wrote for The Upper Room because it pertains to a real-life family situation.
Here is Michael’s story:
“I am a father of eight children in a blended family. My wife and I both serve as stepparents to children from previous marriages. Being a stepparent is often a tough and thankless job. We have both heard words like: ‘You’re not my daddy’ or ‘I don’t have to listen to you.’ While blended-family dynamics are often difficult, our family is strengthened as we have faced and overcome obstacles. Knowing that God’s grace is greater than divorce and brokenness, we keep Christ at the center of our family.
“Realizing that God through Christ Jesus chose to enter a human family gives us hope. In today’s reading, Luke’s Gospel shares a very human situation from Jesus’ childhood. Mary and Joseph lost Jesus in Jerusalem. After searching for three days they found him, not at home but in the temple. I can imagine Joseph’s feelings when Jesus told them, ‘Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’
“This story reminds me that God is the Father of us all. The good news is that Christ experienced a human life, a human family, and a human death to pay the penalty for our sins. Through Christ’s sacrifice we are all one blended family, and we too can claim God as our Father.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – We are all children of God.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we thank you that through Christ we are all one family. Amen.
Prayer Focus: BLENDED FAMILIES
To read the entire story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
At age 12, Jesus was considered almost an adult, and so he didn’t spend a lot of time with his parents during the festival. Those who attended these festivals often traveled in caravans for protection from robbers along the Palestine roads. It was customary for the women and children to travel at the front of the caravan, with the men bringing up the rear. A 12-year-old boy conceivably could have been in either group, and both Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus was with the other one. But when the caravan left Jerusalem, Jesus stayed behind, absorbed in his discussion with the religious leaders.
At the time of the Passover, the greatest rabbis of the land would assemble to teach and to discuss great truths among themselves. The coming Messiah would no doubt have been a popular discussion topic, for everyone was expecting him soon. Jesus would have been eager to listen and to ask probing questions. It was not his youth but the depth of his wisdom that astounded these teachers.
Mary had to let go of her child and let him become a man, God’s Son, the Messiah. Fearful that she hadn’t been careful enough with this God-given child, she searched frantically for him. But she was looking for a boy, not a young man who was in the Temple astounding the religious leaders with his questions. It is hard to let go of people or projects we have nurtured. It is both sweet and painful to see our children growing into adults, our students into teachers, our subordinates into managers, our inspirations into situations. But when the time comes we must step back and let go—in spite of the hurt. Then our protégés can exercise their wings, take flight, and soar to the heights God intended for them.
This is the first mention of Jesus’ awareness that he was God’s Son. But even though he knew his real Father, he did not reject his earthly parents. He went back to Nazareth with them and lived under their authority for another 18 years. God’s people do not despise human relationships or family responsibilities. If the Son of God obeyed his human parents, how much more should we honor our family members! Don’t use commitment to God’s work to justify neglecting your family.
Jesus’ parents didn’t understand what he meant about his Father’s house. They didn’t realize he was making a distinction between his earthly father and his heavenly Father. Jesus knew that he had a unique relationship with God. Although Mary and Joseph knew he was God’s Son, they didn’t understand what his mission would involve. Besides, they had to raise him, along with his brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55-561), as a normal child. They knew he was unique, but they did not know what was going on in his mind.
The Bible does not record any events of the next 18 years of Jesus’ life, but Jesus undoubtedly was learning and maturing. As the oldest in a large family, he assisted Joseph in his carpentry work. Joseph may have died during this time, leaving Jesus to provide for the family. The normal routines of daily life gave Jesus a solid understanding of the Judean people. (NLT)
Luke 2:41-52 – Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was with friends among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him. He was in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, discussing deep questions with them. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son!” his mother said to him. “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “You should have known that I would be in my Father’s house.” But they didn’t understand what he meant.
Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them; and his mother stored all these things in her heart. So Jesus grew both in height and in wisdom, and he was loved by God and all who knew him.
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
OBEDIENCE, OBEY: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/obedience-obey/
PERFECT, PERFECTION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/perfect-perfection/
SCRIPTURE, SCRIPTURES: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/scripture-scriptures/
CONFLICT, CONFLICTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/conflict-conflicts/
SECURITY, SECURE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/security-secure/
RESTORATION, RESTORE, RESTORED: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/restoration-restore-restored/
HURT, HURTING: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/hurt-hurting/
COMPASSION, COMPASSIONATE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/compassion-compassionate/
EXPECTATIONS, EXPECTED, EXPECTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/expectations-expected-expects/
ACCEPT, ACCEPTABLE, ACCEPTANCE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/accept-acceptable-acceptance/
1 The residents of Jesus’ hometown had known Jesus since he was a young child and were acquainted with his family; they could not bring themselves to believe in his message. They were too close to the situation. Jesus had come to them as a prophet, one who challenged them to respond to unpopular spiritual truth. They did not listen to the timeless message because they could not see beyond the man.
Matthew 13:55-56 – “. . . He’s just a carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. What makes him so great?”
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