First Sunday of Christmas: Week of December 26, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: God of nurture, you guide us through an unsteady and changing world. Teach us to find you and to share your love with others. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is LEARN. Can you remember when you first learned about God’s love, or about Jesus? When was it? What did you learn? Who taught you what you learned?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Luke 2:41-52
Reflect: This is the only glimpse we have of Jesus’ childhood. Here on the cusp of his teen years he is branching out and, as often happens, causing his parents to panic. “I’m in my Father’s house” he tells them, as if that explains it all. Finding our home in God can be like that, it is both a comfort and a step outside of where we have been. Home can be many places, but essentially “home” is where we are loved. Home is where we find the way we can grow into ourselves. Home is both a nest and a launching point. Our home in God is that as well. A place we can be safe and secure as well as one where we are pushed to be brave and challenged to try new things. This passage ends with a note that Jesus continues to grow in wisdom. From Jesus’ home he had learned that he had a place in God’s house. From that knowledge he was able to absorb wisdom, to discern what God would have him do. Each of us is constantly learning these lessons of wisdom, through conversation, experience, contemplation, and trial and error.
Respond: Where is your home? Jesus had learned that not only did he have a home with his parents, he had a home where God is. Home is where you are loved. One of the places that was home to me was my grandmother’s house. We baked cookies, swam in the pool, and canned tomatoes. It was a special place, and I learned many things there. Jesus learned things from God and shared them with others. It was a way to share God’s love with others. You can do that too! Pick something you have learned and share it with someone. Do you sing? Record the song and share it. Draw? Mail your picture to someone. Run fast? Make a video and share what you love to do. Maybe even bake some cookies and share them. Put something that reminds you of home in your special place.
- Linnae Peterson
Adult and Elementary
Read: Luke 2:41-52
Reflect: A 12-year-old walks into a place of worship. We do not know if he snuck off or ran away. Perhaps he just got distracted. Jesus saw the temple and thought, “Oh, that’s a place where they talk about God and God’s Word. That’s where I want to go.” He wandered in and after a while starting talking to people there. He started sharing his thoughts and understandings about God. And the surprising thing is that people didn’t say, “Who does this kid think he is? Why is he up there talking to us adults about adult things?” Instead, they were amazed. This kid knew stuff. Amazing stuff. Important stuff. God stuff. And so they listened and they learned.
Respond: Adults, invite the children in your life to be your teachers for the week. They could be your own children or the children of relatives. They could be the children of close friends. Or children of those you know well in your church community. Ask them to teach you how to do something they know how to do but you do not. That could be how to play a game or how to do a craft, for example. Ask them questions about things. What things do you love? What do you know a lot about? Tell me more about those things. Show special interest in new things that you are learning from them. You might learn some facts about dinosaurs or space. Who knows? Be open. And thank them for teaching you.
- Patrick Kangrga
Adult and Youth
Read: Luke 2:41-52
Reflect: In this passage, we get to see Jesus asking questions of those in the temple. Young Jesus is curious and sharing his wisdom with those who are willing to listen. We see a clear connection between Jesus and the Father, reminding his parents that it would be obvious where he could be found. A reminder of where Jesus can always be found.
Respond: Grab a piece of paper or a journal and write your thoughts about this prompt: In what ways are you open to learning more about God? How do you find the goodnews in learning? Allow yourself to learn from others and to be surprised by how God shows upin those conversations.
- Luz Montes
Adult and Adults
Read: Luke 2:41-52
Reflect: On one level; this is a funny story about a sassy child. He is taken to this big multi-day party and stays behind while his family leaves. When they realize they forgot they spent three days looking for him. Once they find him, they say: “what the heck? You scared us so much.” He replies in a smart mouth way: “well, you should have known I’d be here with my real dad.” It’s fun to imagine that Jesus maybe raised his eyebrows and rolled his eyes in a dramatic fashion.
There’s a lot of learning going on here. Not only is Jesus learning from the teachers in the temple, but Mary is also taking all this new information to heart. Jesus is talking and asking questions with the teachers in a way that is impressive to say the least. It’s like a middle schooler talking about quantum physics to a physicist; it’s mind boggling, really. Here Jesus is beginning to understand his unique connection to God.
Respond: During this time, sons took up their father’s business when they got old enough. Jesus’ earthly father was Joseph and we see him take up carpentry, but when he turns thirty, Jesus takes a life of ministry. This story is the beginning of him learning of his heavenly father’s job: “being God.” Journal or write about these prompts: If you had to take up the career of one of the adults in your life as a child, what would it have been? What sort of schooling, training, or practice would you have to go through? Put yourself in Jesus’ shoes. If Jesus was here today, what kind of schooling, training, or practicing would society demand of him? What would Jesus have to learn to do the things he needed to do?
- Erin Sample