This weekend I will be teaching from Luke 2, the event of the boy Jesus in the temple, at one of the sessions of our church’s Family Camp. This story closes the section in Luke’s gospel on the infancy and childhood of Jesus.
Something has always fascinated about this story. Or maybe I should say not this story, but that there are no other stories. I am fascinated by the fact that this story stands alone as the only event in the life of Jesus, from after his birth, until he is thirty, in all four gospels. Nothing else. We don’t hear of his friends or enemies as he grew. We don’t hear of him overcoming insurmountable obstacles in his childhood. We don’t know if he won the school spelling bee, or starred in the school play, the Littlest Sheep, or was the school’s best chariot racer or boxer or most famous debater. We don’t know what he built as a carpenter, what he liked to do on the weekends, or what was his favorite food. Nothing.
Why? I don’t know, but I do know that writers in the first few centuries invented stories because they thought there was a need for some good material on Jesus. There is some pretty fantastic stuff about him. They saw a lack of material and a need for more.
As for me, I am glad there is no material in Scripture on the childhood of Jesus. Why? One word, comparison. Can you imagine what it would be like for a child – Why aren’t you good at sports, Jesus was. Or why do you like sports so much, Jesus never did. Jesus was an A student, and all you get is C’s. Jesus went to public school/private school/homeschool, so that’s why we should do the same.
Comparison is such an awful thing for kids. Comparing one child with his or her siblings, or with someone else’s child, with the perfect child who can do no wrong. I wish someone would go dig up some dirt on the perfect child to expose him or her for who they really are, and then kid’s lives would be a little easier.
I am not against standards. Kids should have goals and standards, but the standards shouldn’t be other children. Each child is unique, special in their own way. They shouldn’t have to be someone they are not, because who they are is the best thing for them – created in God’s image and likeness, created in that way for the best reasons, the reasons that God has. Those are the best reasons.
So don’t make kids something they aren’t by comparing them with others, be used to help them to be what God has designed them to be.