Daily Devotion for January 4, 2014
Eleventh Day of Christmas
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Old Blue Eyes really does a nice job with a very religious Christmas song.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, let me live this day as the gift it is, for You have truly blessed me to live it. And if I may suffer, I will carry with me the certainty that one day I will see You face to face, a day when all things will become clear and my pain will be made whole through the grace of Christ, my God. Blessed be you, oh Lord my God, and blessed be the day you have given me.
A Prayer by Anne Bronte
My God (oh, let me call Thee mine,
Weak, wretched sinner though I be),
My trembling soul would fain be Thine;
My feeble faith still clings to Thee.
Not only for the Past I grieve,
The Future fills me with dismay;
Unless Thou hasten to relieve,
Thy suppliant is a castaway.
I cannot say my faith is strong,
I dare not hope my love is great;
But strength and love to Thee belong;
Oh, do not leave me desolate!
I know I owe my all to Thee;
Oh, TAKE the heart I cannot give!
Do Thou my strength — my Saviour be,
And MAKE me to Thy glory live.
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
Luke 2:41-52 (ESV)
My Father’s Business
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Notes on the Scripture
This famous story of Jesus' youth is the only real information we have about him between the tumultuous events of his infancy and his maturity. It is, first, a single snapshot of his adolescence. It is a mixture of normal life and a remarkable event, which will come to characterize Christ's final three years.
It is a very human story. We get a snapshot of Jesus' family as part of normal Hebrew society; one might call them “solid citizens”, but not community leaders. They make an annual trip to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with a group of friends and family. Although humble, they were able to afford the time off and the cost of the trip; and it shows a degree of religious devotion. They had become socially integrated into Nazareth, a place they had moved to avoid trouble from Herod in Jerusalem.
(There were actually three pilgrimage festivals which Jews in Israel were obligated to keep each year, by traveling to Jerusalem to worship in the temple: The Festival of Matzah (Passover); the Festival of Weeks, or Pentecost, 50 days after Passover; and the Festival of Booths in the Fall, at the time of harvest. (Exodus 23:14-17)
Like so many teenagers, Jesus runs off to “do his own thing” without telling his parents. When they discover him missing, they become very anxious, and when they eventually find him, they scold him for not letting them know his whereabouts. Sound familiar?
Against this backdrop of normal middle-class life, we have the remarkable spiritual revelation, when Jesus makes the famous statement, “I must be about my Father's business.” This parallels the remarkable events of his birth, although in this case, the remarkable events are Jesus' words, rather than events that happen to him or around him. We are once again reminded that this is the Son of God; he has not come to learn, but to teach, for his knowledge does not come just from what he has read and heard, but from what has been revealed to him by God the Father.