First published in the Bridge Magazine, February 2019
What have I got in common with David Cameron and Jesus’ mother Mary? Answer: we’ve all suffered the embarrassment of losing a child in a public place.
Back in 2012, the Camerons and their three children stopped off at a country pub. After a swift pint, the Prime Minister jumped into a car with his security team, and his wife Samantha followed with two of their children. Each assumed the other had eight-year-old Nancy, who was actually in the pub toilet. A panicked telephone call confirmed Nancy was okay, and her embarrassed Mum returned fifteen minutes later to collect her.
They have my sympathy because I did something similar in an Edinburgh pub back in 2009. A game of hide and seek, combined with a failure to do our normal headcount when it was time to leave, meant that it was only as I reversed out of the car park that my wife noticed the lost child’s bemused face staring at us through the pub door.
But when it comes to losing a child, Mary takes the biscuit. She lost the 12-year old Jesus for three whole days in Jerusalem. It was only at the end of the first day of the long journey back to Nazareth that she realised Jesus wasn’t off playing with the other children. Three frantic days of searching later, mother and son were reunited. Perhaps predictably Jesus was debating the scholars in the temple courts,
Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
He says to his Mum, before she presumably grounded him for a month.
I wonder if you have ever lost Jesus? Not physically like Mary did, of course, but spiritually. Christmas was a great time to reconnect with him. It’s relatively easy to find Jesus in a carol service or other special Christmas events. But then the hustle and bustle of January means we get distracted and take our eyes off him. Rather than depend on the one who is in charge, we get busy trying to organise and plan every detail of our lives. And ever so slowly, the truly important business of enjoying the presence of God in our lives as we read the scriptures and pray gets squeezed out. That’s what I mean by losing Jesus.
It’s a bit late for New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s never too late to find Jesus again. So why not set aside five minutes of every day, to meet with God in prayer? Talk to him about your worries, your hopes and dreams. A lot of people find a verse from the Bible can help with this: a website called verseoftheday.com will even email you a daily Bible meditation to help you focus your thoughts on Jesus. And as you do that, something remarkable will happen: God will come and meets with you, as what was lost, becomes found.