I am sure we all have crazy stories of some time where you or someone you know forgot something incredibly important. I know a couple people who have gotten to the airport ready to take a trip out of the country only to realize the ONE thing they needed to leave the country, their passport, is still sitting at home. We all have those moments where we are kicking ourselves for forgetting the thing that we needed most.
Thankfully, I've never had a moment like Jesus' parents in Luke 2. The family goes to Jerusalem for passover and when it's time to go, Mary and Joseph leave with the group. It took a full day to realize that they forgot twelve year-old Jesus back in Jerusalem. The story is familiar and ends after a three day search with Jesus being found in the temple talking with the Jewish teachers asking his parents why they didn't know he would be in his Father's house. I can't imagine the feeling of looking for your young boy for three days and then finally finding him.
But the irony of the story with its setting always intrigued me. The forgetfulness of Mary and Joseph happens during the Passover. Passover was the feast that God instituted for His people to remember how He rescued them from slavery in Egypt!
“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. - Exodus 12:14
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. - Exodus 13:3
After a miserable life of slavery and oppression in Egypt, God delivered and rescued His people. He did it powerfully and miraculously. And He never wanted His people to forget it!
Throughout the Old Testament and the New, the Passover is the ultimate call from God to us to REMEMBER. God knows how distracting this world is and how forgetful we are. One of the themes of the Bible is how God calls His people to OVERCOME the distraction and forgetfulness and REMEMBER who He is and what He has done! God gives His people markers in their calendar so that they will never forget who He is and the great things that He has done! This was the reason for the Passover. Even up to Jesus' last night before his death, we see him and his disciples observing the Passover and remembering what God had done!
And its here, right after Mary and Joseph finish REMEMBERING they show their FORGETFULNESS. The picture that God is painting for us couldn't be clearer! Mary and Joseph get caught up in the crowd, assume all is ok, and forget their own son! The faithfulness of God as remembered in the Passover is put in stark contrast to the forgetfulness of people. There was a reason for the Passover and all the other festivals and feasts. And its the same reason that we must find those markers for us as well!
It would be hard to say that the world is not more distracting today that it ever has been. Information is coming at us from everywhere and millions of dollars are being spent figuring out how to grab our attention every minute. The need for markers like the passover are as great as ever. We must continue to remind ourselves and each other of the great things that God has done.
This season that we are in now has the opportunity for both. Are we going to get caught up in the business and distraction of the holiday season? Or are we, by God's grace, going to OVERCOME the distractions and answer His call to remember His goodness, There are a lot of things to fit in this time of year, but this Christmas season lets make sure we set some time to spend remembering...
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. - Galatians 4:4-5
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! - Psalm 118:29