You know I have to confess:
I’m not ready!
I’m not ready to deal with a twelve year old Jesus!
It’s December 27th the turkey and ham is barely digested! We are still eating the left overs and the lectionary wants me to deal with a 12 year old Jesus!?
I’m not ready.
My cousin posted on Facebook that she only had 3 more sleeps until she was able to start buying hot cross buns.
Really? Hot cross buns? I’m having enough trouble coping with how 12 years passed us by in 2 days.
I am not ready!
The lectionary hurtles us forward at a frantic pace and we are given the glimpse of Jesus as a boy
growing up. One glimpse of his childhood!
Baby, glimpse and then ministry this is all we get.
But today 2 days after Christmas I’m not ready.
I wonder how often in your life you have felt like this that you are not ready, that life has passed you by too quickly.
“I’m not ready” say the kids confronting the first year of school or high school, or young adults about to start Uni or Tafe or their first real job.
I’m not ready for the arrival of my first child, or the second, or more.
Where did those years go?
I’m not ready to be in my 30s, oh no I’m in my 40s then my 50s, how did 60 come around so quickly, 70, 80, 90!
I’m not ready to be this old.
I’m not ready to say goodbye to friends and family as they die: my mother, my father, my brother, my sister, my child, my friends.
I’m not ready for time to go so quickly.
I’m not ready for death which sometimes crashes in unexpectedly early or creeps up on us slowly.
Why then does the lectionary hurtle us so quickly from Jesus birth to his 12th year?
Maybe because this is life.
It passes us by in the blinking of an eye – we are transient and momentary beings.
But here’s the thing Jesus, the12 year old boy that he was, growing in wisdom and stature as he was is God among us – experiencing life and time as we experience it.
I’ve often puzzled over Jesus self-awareness concerning his relationship with God but in this little glimpse of him as a boy I do get a sense that he was encountering time as we do and that he was going through the processes of change in life as we do.
In the ancient world in which he lived, Jesus, at 12 years of age was on the cusp of being recognised as an adult.
The Jewish bar mitzvah takes place at age 13 after which time he would have been held accountable for his own actions.
I wonder did he feel ready for this. Did Mary? Did Joseph?
The scriptures hint to us that just as we go through processes of learning and growth so did Jesus. He has to get ready too.
Life goes quickly.
Often it does not feel like it does but when we look back over the years and experiences we know this to be oh so true.
This it reminds me what we used say when played hide’n’seek as kids “ready or not here I come”.
Here comes life!
How can we live in this frenetic life? How do we slow the pace? How do we live more intentionally?
I don’t think there any easy answers to these questions, the Bible is not a simple 12 step self-help book.
But I do think knowing that God shares this existence and experiences the passing of time and the changes it brings means that we can take heart.
We are probably never going to be completely ready getting ready is a process that we are always engaged in.
But I do think that Paul’s encouragement to clothe ourselves with love and let the peace of Christ rule within us can help us live richer lives. To live focussed on what is important.
So I may not be ready but ready or not here comes life.
12 years passed in two days for us who are following the lectionary but how often do we start a sentence with “It only feels like it was yesterday” when we are speaking about thing that happened a life time ago.
Maybe the good news today is as complex and as mysterious as the notion of the incarnation itself, life is a gift that we are given, albeit a momentary one, but within the fragility of our days God is with us and God cares for us as we constantly get ready and feel unprepared for what God is preparing for us.
So, ready or not let us live in the light of God’s love.