When someone in the family celebrates a birthday, how fast time flies is brought to mind. Recently our grandson turned 21, and the memories of his early childhood brought a smile of wonder to my face. How fast time goes by!
As we enjoy the beginning of a new year and we read the gospels in the post-Christmas liturgies, our focus turns from the birth of our Savior to his public ministry. Scripture tells of Jesus reading from a scroll in the synagogue, healing many people of illnesses, teaching crowds, feeding thousands with only five loaves of bread and two fish, and even walking on water. What a jump from an infant lying in a manger to a 30-something adult teaching and working miracles!
What can we learn from this transition? For one thing, it is important to remember and celebrate milestones. The birth of the Christ child was an unprecedented breakthrough in history. God became visible on earth in the person of a human being! If he did not come as a human comes, how would he grow to be a 30-year-old rabbi? He experienced years of humanity with all its ups and downs, with its desperate challenges.
Jesus was taught how to pray, to work, and to be responsible; we hopefully teach our children to do those things as well. As an adult, Jesus ministered to the multitudes, but often used time away to pray. Prayer is an important part of proper growth. If we want to continue to grow spiritually, we must pray. We pray to keep up with life events as they speedily present themselves to us. Prayer helps us to keep up the pace.
Mary and Joseph were resilient. They responded to challenges with faith-filled action. They had to adjust to Jesus’ being born in a stable. They had to flee to Egypt for safety when Jesus was an infant. Travel was not easy or comfortable, but they did it. They did not have a network of family and friends to help them in their journeys. They trusted God to give them strength and hope.