“And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem ; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey ; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.” Luke 2:43-45
The service of the temple being ended, they return home to Nazareth, Religious duties are not to be attended to the prejudice and neglect of our particular callings. God calls us, as well from his house as to his house. They are much mistaken, who think God is pleased with nothing but devotion : he that says, Be fervent in spirit serving the Lord, says also. Be not slothful in business. Piety and industry must keep pace with one another ; God is as well pleased with our return to Nazareth, as with our going up to Jerusalem.
Observe farther. Though Joseph and Mary returned home, the child Jesus, unknown to them, stays behind. Their back was no sooner turned upon the temple, but his face was towards it ; Christ had business in that place which his parents knew not of. They missing him, seek him in the company, concluding him with their kinsfolk and acquaintance. From whence we may gather. That the parents of Christ knew him to be of a sweet and sociable, of a free and conversative, not of a sullen and morose, disposition. They did not suspect him to be wandering in the fields or deserts, but when they missed him, sought him among their kinsfolk : had he not wanted to converse formerly with them, he had not now been sought amongst them. Our blessed Saviour, when on earth, did not take pleasure in a wild retiredness, in a froward austerity, but in a mild affability, and amiable conversation ; and herein also his example is very instructive to us.
William Burkitt, “ST. LUKE”, Expository notes, with practical observations, on the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ : wherein the sacred text is at large recited, the sense explained, and the instructive example of the blessed Jesus, and his holy apostles, to our imitation recommended
This is simply an excerpt from a study bible by William Burkitt (1650-1703), an English “churchman”. Today we consider the word, missing. Jesus as a young lad went on a journey to the temple in Jerusalem with his parents. On the return trip, he was discovered to be missing, in part due to the inattentiveness of his parents, but was found, three days later, safe in the temple, talking to the scholars (verses 46-47). One of my greatest regrets as a parent was ignoring my toddler-son at a yard sale and then being told he’d crossed the street on his own. He was safe, but I felt awful. There are many stories which do not have such happy endings, where people may unnecessarily rack themselves with guilt with doubts as to whether they could have done this or that differently.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we pray for all of those who are missing someone now. Ease the conscience and comfort the soul of those who are waiting for a returned loved one. We know that rain falls on the just and unjust and we pray that you would re-unite all those who are waiting for someone to return. AMEN.
Go to one or both of these sites, read about their concerns, and think of ways you can pray, sympathize, help where you can, and cast them on the Lord:
National League of Families POW
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children