Luke 2:48-51 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." 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?" And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them;

Today is the feast of the Holy Family, part of the great mystery of Christmas. For the first part of the mystery is how God became man, and we may never understand how this could be. The second part of the mystery has to do with God becoming man, beginning at the beginning, and going through all the steps. Jesus as an infant needed to be cared for and nurtured, and Mary and Joseph provided this care, and love, and nurture. It is important because Jesus needed to know all the things we go through in growing up, so he could provide for us and have mercy on us, and give us what we need when we need it. But more than that, we all know that growing up is not always easy, and we needed to have a good role model, for one of the hardest things in growing up is to honor our father and mother, not provoking them to anger, but being gladly obedient, and holding them in love and esteem. It is never easy to hear and obey, for we often have other things in mind, which seem more important. Sometimes the trouble lies in that there is another way we would rather do it, and we may even have good reasons why. And in those times when we may be tempted not to hear our parents, or not to do what they have told us, we are reminded of Jesus own example.

For when Jesus found out that his parents had been anxious about him, and that they couldnít seem to understand why he had staid at the temple, what did Jesus do? He went home with them and was obedient to them. Why, in part because he was going through that thing called growing up, at least according to his human nature, and part of growing up is being obedient to your parents, loving them serving them and honoring them, and their wishes. And the other part of growing up is that parents are teaching the children all the things they need to know.

Now it is not easy being a parent. For on the one hand it is necessary to teach right from wrong, and to teach about God and his will for our lives. This kind of training is called discipline, and it sometimes unpleasant, for parents donít like to punish their children, but it is part of how we teach right and wrong, and children need to know that wrong acts have consequences. Its hard to be a parent, because at the same time as you need to teach them right and wrong, you also want to love them and be loved by them. For one of the great things about families is love and affection.

Children soon learn that they can, as it were, get even with their parents, when their parents punish them. They learn how to embarrass parents in public, and they learn how to withhold love and affection. This is why God created a 4th commandment, for when parents are training their children in the way they should go, they are doing the work of God, who has given this work to parents, and will hold parents accountable for the training of the lives entrusted to their care. In a very real sense, parents are ministers of God for our good, and so they should receive the honor that is due the station, and we should respect them, and love them and cherish them, and willingly serve and obey them, as Jesus himself did. You see, we are not born full grown, and neither was Jesus. God has a plan for families, and part of that plan is to teach us that we are never alone, that there are always people watching over us and guiding us, directing us and praying for us. For we shall always be children, and our parents will always be parents. Why is this important? Because it is good for us to have people to turn to when we become parents, whom we can turn to for advice and counsel.

Now the final part, although Jesus stayed in Jerusalem, and his parents were anxious about him, as they did not know where he was, and while they may well have been embarrassed by their lost child, it was not willful disobedience, Jesus did this without sin. Jesus tried to explain to them what he was about, but when they couldnít understand, what did Jesus do? He went home with them, and was subject to them, and they remained a holy family until the time came when Jesus was about 30 years old and began his public ministry. And thatís the hard part, for we know a little about his birth, and a little about the first few years, and then we donít hear of him until heís twelve, and after that, not until heís about 30. Yet this was written for our edification, and we give thanks.