Luke 2:41-52

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; 43 and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." 49 And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" 50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 (Deutero-canonical)

For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. 3 Whoever honors his father atones for sins, 4 and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. 5 Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. 6 Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother.
12 O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; 13 even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him.14 For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you.

Meditation: How can families grow together in mutual love, harmony, and care for one another? When God made a covenant with his people, he taught them his way of love:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength - And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart - and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise" (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).

God the Father's love is a covenant love that binds people together as his beloved children. His love is the cornerstone that binds man and woman in one flesh in marriage, and in their mutual love for their children, and for their children's children for generations to come. God wants his love to be the center of all our relationships and all that we do. That is why God gives us his Holy Spirit so we can love as he loves us. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Jesus was born into a family devoted to the word of God
When God sent his only begotten Son into the world, Jesus was born into a human family as a Jew who was raised according to the teaching and wisdom of God's word in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament Scriptures) and the religious customs of his people. Jesus was born under the law of Moses (Galatians 4:4) and was circumcised (the sign of being a covenanted member of Israel) on the eighth day and given his name, Yeshua in Hebrew (Jesus in English) which means "God saves."

We know little about Jesus' early life at home in Nazareth. Luke in his Gospel account gives us a glimpse of Jesus' growth as a boy into young manhood. Luke tells us that Jesus was obedient to his parents - Mary, his mother and Joseph, his foster father. As devout and God-fearing Jews, Joseph and Mary raised the boy Jesus according to the Scriptures and Jewish customs. It was the duty of all Jewish parents to raise their children in the instruction and wisdom of God's word in the Scriptures.

"Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching" (Proverbs 1:8). "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

A home life centered on prayer and the reading of Scripture
Jewish home life was centered on daily family prayers, including the singing of the Psalms and the reading of the Scriptures. Every Friday evening, the family gathered for a festive meal with the lighting of the Sabbath candle and prayers of blessing over the bread and wine to open the celebration of the Sabbath holy day. Each Saturday morning the family attended the Sabbath service which includes a reading from the Torah (five books of Moses) and chanting the psalms at the local community synagogue. Older boys were sent to school on weekday mornings, called the "house of the book" (either at the synagogue or the rabbi's house), where they were given further instruction in the reading and study of the Jewish Scriptures. Every Jewish boy was required to memorize the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures (the Torah or Books of Moses) by the age of 13. They also learned to memorize and put into practice the wise counsels found in the Book of Proverbs (Wisdom of Solomon) and the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) which was another common book of instruction for Jews living throughout the Greek-speaking world.

Jesus' journey to the Father's house
Jews were expected to travel to Jerusalem for the high feasts each year (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles). Jesus undoubtedly traveled with his parents every year from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This eighty mile journey normally took three days. So families often traveled in large groups, for safety and comfort.

Luke records a remarkable incident which happened when Jesus went up to the temple at Jerusalem for his first Passover at the dawn of his manhood (usually the age of twelve for Jewish males). It was at this key turning point in his earthly life that Jesus took the name "father" from Joseph and addressed it to God his Father in heaven. His answer to his mother's anxious inquiry reveals his confident determination to pursue his heavenly Father's will. Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house? (Luke 2:49)

Jesus obeyed and served his family at Nazareth
While Jesus identified himself as Son of the eternal Father in heaven, he, nonetheless, submitted himself with love and obedience to Mary and Joseph. Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear (Godly respect) and wisdom of God. Luke tells us that Jesus grew as a man in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and with the people of Nazareth, his home town. He remained at Nazareth until the age of 30 when he was baptized by John at the River Jordan and anointed by the Spirit for his mission as the Messiah and Savior of the world. (Thirty was the traditional age when a Jewish man could become a rabbi who taught and formed disciples in the knowledge and wisdom of God's word.) Do you seek to love and serve your family and to pursue peace and harmony in your home, neighborhood, and community?

The Lord Jesus came to show us the way to our Father's house and family in heaven. Listen to his word and obey him and you will find great peace, joy, and favor in serving him now and forever.

Lord Jesus, you came to restore us to peace and friendship with the Father in heaven. Where there is division, bring healing and restoration. Where there is strife bring peace and forgiveness. May all families and nations on the earth find peace, harmony, and unity in you, the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world.

Psalm 128:1-6

1 Happy is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways.
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6 May you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel!

Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Jesus' humility shows us his divinity, by Bede the Venerable, 672-735 A.D.

The Lord's coming every year to Jerusalem for the Passover with his parents is an indication of his human humility. It is characteristic of human beings to gather to offer God the votive offerings of spiritual sacrifices, and by plentiful prayers and tears to dispose their Maker toward them. Therefore the Lord, born a human being among human beings, did what God, by divine inspiration through his angels, prescribed for human beings to do. He himself kept the law which he gave in order to show us, who are human beings pure and simple, that whatever God orders is to be observed in everything. Let us follow the path of his human way of life. If we take delight in looking upon the glory of his divinity, if we want to dwell in his eternal home in heaven all the days of our lives (Psalm 27:4), it delights us to see the Lord's will and to be shielded by his holy temple. And lest we be forever buffeted by the wind of wickedness, let us remember to frequent the house, the church of the present time, with the requisite offerings of pure petitions." (excerpt from HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 1.19)