First Sunday after Christmas: Lost at Home
Luke 2:41-52 New International Reader's Version 
41Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. 42When Jesus was 12 years old, they went up to the feast as usual. 43After the feast was over, his parents left to go back home. The boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But they were not aware of it. 44They thought he was somewhere in their group. So, they traveled on for a day. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45They did not find him. So, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courtyard. He was sitting with the teachers. He was listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at how much he understood. They also were amazed at his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were amazed. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried about you. We have been looking for you everywhere.”
49“Why were you looking for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he meant by that.
51Then he went back to Nazareth with them, and he obeyed them. But his mother kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. 52Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.
Visual Aids: All cookie cutter shapes.
Cookie shape: Larger gingerbread man shape to suggest growth from baby to boy (Click here to download PDF template.)
The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – don’t tell us very much about Jesus before he was grown. We have a lot of stories that we have shared throughout the past few weeks about his first coming and being born in a stable, but then the Bible stories move past his childhood and into his almost teenage years. The only story that we have in our Bible about Jesus as a child comes from the Gospel of Luke. It is a story that has a scary middle, but it does have a happy ending.
Have you ever been separated from a parent in a large crowd? Maybe you were in a big store and turned around to discover mom wasn’t right there next to you? Perhaps you were at the mall and with all the hustle and bustle of shoppers, you discovered that dad wasn’t as close as you thought? How did you feel? (Allow children to answer.) Today, we are going to learn about a time Jesus’ family didn’t know where he was. That’s right; even Jesus’ parents felt that fear of being separated from their child. Every year, Jesus went with his family and a large group of neighbors to the city of Jerusalem to celebrate a special holiday that honored God. When Jesus was twelve years old, his family went as they did every year to Jerusalem. They traveled in a large group, and I am sure the kids would have walked together and played games as the adults talked. Have you ever traveled together in a large group? What was it like? Maybe it was a family reunion get together. (Allow children to share their stories.)
When the holiday was over, Jesus’ parents went back home with the large group. They thought Jesus was in the group playing with the other children, but he wasn’t. Show me on your face how you think Jesus’ parents felt when they couldn’t find him. (Pause for their facial expressions.)
Jesus’ parents went back to Jerusalem. Guess where they found him? They found him in the Temple, where people went to worship God. Jesus amazed the teachers in the Temple. He was only twelve years old. And he could talk with them and answer their questions with amazing wisdom. They couldn’t believe how much he knew about God. When Mary and Joseph found him, he told them why he was in the Temple. He told them that he had to prepare and learn so that he could grow up and do what God had planned.
Think about what you want to be when you grow up. How must you prepare to get ready and learn for the jobs you want to have?
Jesus knew exactly what he was going to be when he grew up. He was going to show all people how much God loves us. So, when he was twelve, he wanted to spend lots of time with God. He did know a lot already about God, but he wanted to learn even more from the teachers. The best way for him to prepare for his future was to spend time in God’s house learning from others.
When Jesus’ parents found him, he knew he had some more growing to do. He went home with them and obeyed his parents. The Bible says that he became wiser and smarter from learning from his parents and teachers. He became stronger by growing bigger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.
Which cookie cutter shape do you think demonstrates the growth of Jesus? (Allow the children to choose.) That is right. The larger gingerbread man represents Jesus. Jesus grew bigger as he grew older. He also grew wiser and became more pleasing to God and all the people who were shown God’s love. Jesus grew up and obeyed his parents. He wants you to do the same. This week as you prepare, bake, and wait, think about these thoughts with your family:
- I wonder as my body grows how I can also grow in wisdom.
- I wonder as I grow in wisdom, how I can also become more pleasing to God.
- I wonder how I can learn more about God, so that I can teach others.
Prayer: God as my body grows, help me grow in wisdom as well. Help me to know you better, so that I can show and teach others about your amazing love. Amen.