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New Year's/New Life Priorities! - Monday, January 6, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is Luke 2:41-50, where the Bible says,  

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.


About this time every year the power of our propositions and resolutions starts to wane. All the bravado of facing the new year with our new priorities and our new commitments begins to run into a wall of reality --- the day to day challenges that we still face. These obstacles seem relentless and, in the face of them, our strength seems to last only for a time. It’s not long before we are right back in the confusion and chaos that seem to define everyday life no matter how much money, time, or leisure we have.

That’s a bit like what’s going on in the lesson today, at least from the standpoint of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ mother and step-father. They were doing what they had always done. They were participating in the yearly celebration of the feast of Passover with a host of their relatives. After the festival was over, they were on their way back to the day to day challenges of life. But this time their normal routine was suddenly changed. Jesus was missing! Chaos ensued for a couple of very long days. Finally, the family found him in the temple. When they questioned Jesus, he was surprised that they didn’t look for him there sooner. After all, He was in His heavenly Father’s house.

In the Father’s house! It’s so straightforward, so simple. Amidst all the ups and downs of the day, Jesus prioritizes what is essential to it all. One’s relationship with God is what life is all about. The festival that Mary and Joseph attended was about being connected to the God who loved them. The challenges in life they had, and the one’s we have, call us to seek the power of God for our lives. Whatever work we do should honor the God who gives us the skills and abilities that we have so that we can give Him glory and serve our neighbors in His name. As you charge into the new year, follow the example of the young boy Jesus; prioritize being in the house of your heavenly Father! There you will find wisdom to face life head on; there you will find comfort to endure the challenges of the day; there you will find purpose for your work, for your leisure, and for your life; there you find the mercy and love of the God who makes all of life worth living. A new year with new life priorities -- let those be our enduring resolutions together!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, even as a young boy You led us by example. You taught us to prioritize our relationship with God as the most important thing in life. Then You died and rose again so that we might indeed have that relationship by grace through faith. Give us power to follow Your lead! AMEN.



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