The prayer asks God, “... that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity ...” and in that prayer, we hear ourselves wanting to be what we cannot be and also recognizing that this manger child was more than just another baby, but was both human, and divine, a condition mankind has always sought, but could never obtain.
Many kings proclaimed their divinity, and were worshiped by their subjects in acts of obeisance, currying favor. The Caesars were famous for it, and had statues of themselves made and erected where people could worship and seek favor by praying to their effigies. Kings and queens and other rulers have been honored with God like qualities, but all have died and been buried as any other human, none were really divine, except this child, Jesus. And the Child grew in understanding, and in the knowledge of who he was and who his father was.
With direction from God, the child was protected by Joseph, and taken to Egypt where Herod could not harm him. Even after Herod’s death, when it was safe for Mary and Joseph to return to their own country, they chose to go to Nazareth, in the district of Galilee, a small remote city in the North, a good journey from Jerusalem. This assured them of some protection from the son of Herod, and new King, Archelaus. And the child grew as any child would, safe in the family of Mary and Joseph, who loved him and nurtured him.
Every year these parents went to Jerusalem to the festival of Passover. It was their custom, and that of their friends and neighbors. When the festival was over, as a group, they began their journey back toward Nazareth. After a time they discovered Jesus was not among the group. When they did not find him they went back to Jerusalem. After searching they found their twelve-year old son in the temple, sitting among the teachers. All who heard him were amazed at his answers and understanding.
These parents were, as parents of any human child would be, irate over Jesus actions; and they berated him for his actions. But Jesus, in some divine knowledge of who he was, answered their anxiety by saying, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my father’s house?” They did not understand. All went to Nazareth, and Jesus was obedient to them, and increased in years and wisdom, in divine and human behavior. AMEN
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.