And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon Him. (Luke 2:39-40)
Eventually it was all over. Jesus' birth, circumcision, presentation—done. The visit of the wise men—done. The flight into Egypt (which Luke doesn't mention, but Matthew does), the time living as refugees, and the return to Jewish soil—done. Now it was finally time to go home to Nazareth—to get settled in to ordinary life—to pick up the threads of family and work and community.
We don't know much about those years when Jesus was growing up in a small town in Galilee. We know about one family trip to Jerusalem, and that's it (see Luke 2:41-52). And there's plenty of ancient fan fiction—what the scholars call "pseudepigrapha," which makes for interesting extra-biblical reading.
Chances are good that the reason we have nothing written about Jesus' early years is because they were pretty ordinary—no miracles (see John 2:11), no strange family arrangements, no bus tours to "come and see the wunderkind of Nazareth!" As far as we can tell, Jesus worked in Joseph's carpentry shop, helped Mary around the house, went to Hebrew school, and did all the things a normal boy does. It was a long, quiet time.
And that's good, isn't it? Because by that point, the whole family needed some quiet time. They needed time to just be with each other—time to live, work, play, worship. They needed the ordinary life that would serve as Jesus' launching pad when He was 30 years old and ready to burst into the incredible years of His public ministry.
Quiet times can be gifts from God, as anyone knows who is not experiencing one—and wishes to be! If that's you, hold on and trust God. But if you are in a quiet time in your life right now, ask the Lord to use it to strengthen you—to help you to mature in your Christian faith and life. Crazy times will come again, no doubt—but now is a great time just to breathe—and to spend time with God and the people you love.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, watch over my life and make me strong in Your Son Jesus, regardless of what comes to me. Amen.
* Can you think of a quiet stretch in your own life? When was it?
* Are you currently in a rough stretch or a quiet stretch, and why?
* How does God use the quiet times of your life to bring you closer to Him?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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