Christmas 1 C 2021 Home Alone
One movie that I like to watch during the Christmas Season is the movie “Home Alone.” The movie is about a family who jets off to Paris for Christmas only to discover too late that they had left their youngest child behind.
The question I aways have is how could a family leave the house, ride to the airport, board a plane, and only then, midway over the Atlantic, realize that a child is missing? I do enjoy the moment when the mother realizes her son is missing and yells out “Kevin.”
How could this happen? It all does seem a little far-fetched. But, if one would ask this question in front of Mary and Joseph, I bet that they would immediately look down at their feet. And they probably would shift their weight a little to the side in discomfort.
After all, they too left their Son behind and traveled a full day before they realized that their Son was not with them. I can just see Mary now, when she realized that they had left Jesus behind. I wonder if she yelled out, “Jesus.”
And to make matters worse, think about it, they left behind Jesus, the Son of God, in a city that was large and dangerous and full of dark alleys and strange people. This was not the place where one would be happy to leave a twelve-year-old boy all alone for three days.
I wonder, does it get any worse than to be trusted with the Son of God and you lose Him? Our text today does provide a different picture of Mary than the one we typically get from the Bible.
One thing that is interesting about our text today is the contrast between the agony of Mary and Joseph and the calm response of Jesus when they found Him. After frantically searching for Jesus for three days, Jesus simply says to His parents “Why are you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
If I said something like that to my dad when I was 12 years old and I was in a similar situation my dad would probably respond “Don’t get smart with me young man.”
But that is the important question in the text today. The text invites us to wonder why Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus in all the wrong places.
Had things become so ordinary that they forgot who Jesus was? Or maybe Mary and Joseph were well aware of who Jesus is but figured it would be several years before their Son would begin His ministry. In any event, the point is that Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus in all the wrong places and then in desperation looked for Him in the Temple.
How about us? Have we too looked for Jesus in all the wrong places? When one stops and thinks about it, we can spend not only three days but our entire lives searching for Jesus in all the wrong places.
Sort of reminds me of the country song “Looking for love in all the wrong places. You know the words. I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places. Lookin' for love in too many faces. Searchin' their eyes. Lookin' for traces of what I'm dreaming of. Hoping to find a friend and a lover. I'll bless the day I discover, another heart. Lookin' for love.
And the point is this… If we fail to understand who Jesus is and what His mission was and is, we can end up searching for love (for Jesus) in all the wrong places.
And this can happen so innocently. We skip church to play basketball or soccer or take care of important business. We neglect to take God’s Word seriously and ignore Luther’s teaching to fear and love God and make God number one in our lives.
The list can go on and on. But think about it. If Jesus has not promised to be there, why are we looking for Him where He has not promised to be?
My friends, the Good News for us on this First Sunday after Christmas is that, like Mary and Joseph, our search has ended. We know where Jesus is.
Today Jesus can be found whenever two or three are gathered in his name. And Jesus can be found whispering to you through the pages of Holy Scripture. This morning Jesus can be found addressing you through the preached sermon.
On Sunday Jesus can be found in the bread and wine of Holy communion. And Jesus can be found when the Pastor says to you “In the mercy of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for His sake God forgives you all your sins.”
In the church Jesus can be found in the love and fellowship you experience with other Christians. And Jesus can be found in the neighbor you serve.
Yes, I wonder if it can get any worse than growing up in the church and then losing Jesus because one went on a wild goose chase and looked for love in all the wrong places.
Today Jesus still asks “Why are you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
During this Christmas Season it is my prayer that we will not find ourselves flying high above the Atlantic Ocean or some other place in this world and suddenly realize that we have left Jesus behind and find ourselves calling out in a frantic voice like Kevin’s mother shouting “Jesus.”
But if we do find ourselves in this situation, may we remember the promise that Jesus made to us all when He said that He would never leave us or forsake us and that He will be with us till the end of this age.
Let us pray: God of might and mercy, you bring us to new life each day, and nurture us in your tender love. Keep us far from all sinfulness and help us to see your Redeeming Activity in our world today. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.