It must have been the longest and, by far, the worst three days of their lives. Thousands of people had left their towns and had converged on Jerusalem for the Passover Festival which was followed by the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For many of the country folk, it was a seven-day stay in the big bustling metropolis of Jerusalem.

Joseph and Mary are now returning to their ever so humble home in Nazareth. One can only imagine the chatter of the relatives, neighbours, and acquaintances heading home – talking about all the sights of the city, the events that took place and perhaps the spiritual significance of the ancient annual feasts.

“Joseph dear – I can’t believe He is not with you. I just assumed He was traveling in the male section of the crowd. I was chatting with all the women and smaller children. When was He last walking with you? Were you so absorbed in your discussions that you failed to notice your son was missing? After all, He’s only twelve. You should have been more careful.”

“Now Mary dear, you’re the mother and for some reason, I just thought you’d be looking out for Him. Don’t be so quick to blame me. We’re both responsible for letting an entire day pass without noticing he was missing and not with us. Are you sure He’s not in the crowd somewhere – perhaps talking with other relatives and friends?

“Joseph, He’s not here anywhere. We’ll have to turn around and retrace every single one of our steps. We must look down every lane on our way back to Jerusalem; and, when we get there… Oh, Joseph, how will we ever find Him? It’s such a big city compared to Nazareth.”

“Dear, we will leave no stone unturned until we find Him. We’ll knock on every door and walk every street in that city until we find Him. I don’t care about our carpentry business anymore. The most important thing in our life right now is having HIM back in our immediate presence again – the center of our lives. Life can’t go on without Him.”

“…supposing him to be in the group, they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him…” Luke 2:44-46

It took them one day in their journey to notice they were missing the joy of His presence. They did a 180 and started to retrace their steps. One day to lose Him. Three days to find Him. And you can be sure – they didn’t stop until they had Him back in the center of their lives.

Have you noticed that you are missing the joy of His presence in your Christian life the last little while… or the last long while? True, we can’t lose Him as our Saviour – but we can lose the joy and the communion of His presence as we crowd-up our lives with other things on the busy highway of life.

There’s only one way to have Him returned to the center of our lives. We must forget about all the other things took on exaggerated significance in our lives. Others may keep-on forging ahead. But we must stop, turn around and search the lanes and alleys of our lives. Where could I have lost the joy of His Presence? What choices did I make that have contributed to the distance I feel as I read this Bible Bite today?

For each decision that contributed to my spiritual demise and distance, I must specifically confess my sin and cry to the Lord: ‘restore to me the joy of Your salvation.’ Psalm 51:12

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

Micah Hackett – Not Afraid to Die at 19

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