Are you in clean up mode lately?
Pulling out boxes, putting up the tree and decorations, and finding closets to store all of those Christmas goodies until next year.
After the energy and excitement of the Christmas season, it kind of ends with a dud. We are drawn back to normal stuff after the New Year celebrations fade into the background. My apartment becomes a little less colorful and a little more plain (minus the toy apocalypse that somehow rages across our living room each day). Sometimes, I get a tiny bit tempted to want to extend Christmas a bit longer… but seriously, it would end up feeling more like a Christmas-Frankenstein beast than anything authentic.
It just gets quiet in January.
Last night at the pub, we talked about Jesus’ missing years. You know, this is that black hole in the Bible where Jesus goes from 12 years old to 30 years old without a word, description, or hint. Luke 2:52 at least tells us this – “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Talk about the ultimate, somewhat useless summary. A biographical author could write that line about a lot of people, especially if you didn’t know much about their upbringing or formative years. It feels a little quaint.
Did he learn carpentry from his father? Did he get into fights with his siblings? Did he have a crush on any girls in his village? Did he have growing pains? Did he hear God’s call and wonder what he was supposed to do with his life?
Maybe the missing years aren’t missing – maybe they were just normal. Maybe he went to the temple like everyone else did, learned the Torah by memory like his peers, worked as hard as he could, made lots of friends with farmers, fisherman, rabbis, and others, and knew that someday, when he was ready, his life would take a new direction.
Or alternately, Jesus could have gone to India.
It’s easy to love Jesus when everything is fantastic and beautiful and meaningful, but the real test can be when things are just darn normal. That’s when you realize Jesus was just a person, like us, and more. Maybe Jesus’ quiet years are just like our quiet days. That’s a good thing, right?