December 30, 2018

Enlarging the Boundaries

Passage: Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52

As Mary pondered at his birth as Mary treasured at his growth, so may we ponder and treasure at Jesus’ presence and wisdom in and around us. Amen.

We often hear the term that someone lives outside the box of who society believes they should be. They are clothed, as it were, in a different internal manner. We are to be clothed with Christ, we are to be enclosed, surrounded with his love and his compassion. When we pray for this change, when we enact such a persona the outside changes because of what has taken place on the inside.

Enter Jesus as a teenager. He has enlarged the boundaries of what he considers family; in doing so his parents are at a loss for what is happening inside him. He is being clothed with wisdom, he is being enclosed with God, he is being called to change. Our own families are often like this. Children grow, parents age, babies are born into an established way of being. Change is all around in families and nothing seems to remain static. We either accept or reject such changes; to accept is to enlarge our own boundaries and to reject is to remain unmoved. Either we grow in wisdom or we don’t.
Both Joseph and Mary are learning this lesson. They must make room for a son who is not all he seems to be. He is that proverbial teenager, exploring beyond the boundaries already in place within his family. And we too must make room for God to surprise us in unusual circumstances or we will not grow in either wisdom or in compassion. This is not the kind of living that is for the faint of heart, for opening ourselves up to God’s changes will drain the poison from our spirits, we will learn anew how to handle conflicts, we will become aware of how to respond differently with patience and with kindness. Growing in wisdom is an opportunity to deepen our relationship with both God and each other. Mary and Joseph had that choice. Jesus is oblivious to his parents and a decisive break has occurred. He no longer looks nor acts like the Jesus his parents have known. He is older in spirit, he is listening to what they do not understand, he is offering his parents the opportunity to grow as well. And what we discover along with them is God is found in the midst of difficult family times.

God is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be family and Jesus is responding to that push. Like Mary and Joseph we have the option of allowing God to surprise us in unusual circumstances that will eventually change us. There is hope for messy family moments and this is not Dr. Phil and his ‘Get Real’ motivations. This is about kindness and genuine love moving families into a different realm of wisdom and grace. Look around at both our homes and our towns. The Christmas trees are slowly coming down, wrapping paper has been put into recycling bins, manger scenes are put away for next year. Life is getting back to normal; but not for Jesus. He does not believe he is missing and he does not consider himself lost. How will we make room for Jesus when Christmas is over and the New Year has begun? Amen.

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