I love the above picture of the young child, Jesus, alongside his step dad, Joseph, learning the tools of the trade. We really don’t hear much about His childhood, except for His presentation at the temple as an infant and later as a twelve year old adolescent, expounding on the scriptures with great authority. The silence continues for 18 years. The years in between have been speculated on, but I wonder if it’s important for us to know. If God felt it was, He would’ve given a detailed narrative in His Holy Word.
As I recall the birth of my first child and the excitement and newness of it all, I can’t help thinking about all the important events I set down in the pink baby book. I was diligent about everything from the first doctor’s visit, to the first utterances, first steps, first everythings. I wasn’t quite as meticulous about listing all the firsts for my second child. I was preoccupied with other things, like caring for a newborn and a 20 month old toddler. By the time our third child arrived, I felt I had accomplished great things by putting her name, birth weight and a hospital picture within the covers of her baby book.
With each baby book, the entries became less and less as time went on. The busyness of living seemed to get in the way. I think that’s what happened in Mary’s case too. Those growing up years were soon consumed with actively participating in the life of the child – making sure they had clothes to wear, food to eat, and building character.
Our tasks as mom’s have changed over the centuries, but I believe we still hold on to the memories of our children’s early lives, within our hearts – rather than on the pages of a book. Mary was doing just that as she pondered all the amazing things that had been accomplished through this blessed birth. Having the “PERFECT” child had to be a challenge in itself. Siblings could have been jealous of the firstborn son of Mary. There are many scenarios we could use to fill in the blanks of those missing years, but our curiosity can get in the way of Jesus true mission.
The growing up process for Jesus, was like that of any human child. He undoubtedly went through growing pains, experienced puberty, His voice probably changed, He enjoyed playing games. He saw the state of poverty in which He was surrounded. He agonized over the plight of His family and friends. He bruised and blistered His hands as He worked alongside His earthly dad. He also became strong in spirit as written in Luke.
The Bible tells us in Luke 1:80, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.”
Because Jesus is God, He didn’t have to go through all the things that humanity endures, but because He is also man, it was necessary for Him to experience the things we do every day.
During these unrecorded years, Mary tucked the memories into her heart and would bring them to remembrance again, as her firstborn made His way to Golgotha.