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Luke 2:41-52

41 Now every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found Jesus in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Jesus were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 Jesus said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 Then Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.




Please pray with me this morning, church:

Caring God,

You make your home here with us,

And in doing so, you choose us.

Help us to create spaces of affirmation and belonging.

Guide us to foster rich conversations

About your abundant mercy, hospitality, and love.





Merry Christmas, church!

Did you have a joyful celebration? Nice time with family?

Anyone get gifts this year? Anyone get coal…? Be honest…


What was the most meaningful gift you received or gave this year?


It’s not rhetorical, so if you want to respond, please do. If not, maybe just write down the question there in your bulletin, and you can revisit it later.

What was the most meaningful gift you received or gave this year?


Throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas, and onto Epiphany, we’re sticking with this series from A Sanctified Art called Close to Home. In this Christmas season, the focus shifts a bit from the longing after God that we explored during Advent, and into engaging questions of the difference that it makes for us that God chooses to make God’s home here with us.

Like what difference does it make…how are you different…knowing that God dwells herewith you…with us…in our midst…and in our world?


Where do you find God these days? Where do you see Jesus?


Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple this morning. Before this, they leave Jerusalem without Jesus and don’t realize it…kind of a 1st-century Palestinian version of Home Alone. They’re in Jerusalem for the Passover, they leave, they know Jesus isn’t with them but they assume he’s with some of their friends…they travel a full day’s journey before they decide maybe they should probably look for him, they don’t find him, go back to Jerusalem, and ultimately find Jesus in the temple having theological discussions with all the rabbis and scribes.


Now, I will grant you that it’s probably not the same kind of blockbuster that Macaulay Culkin and Catherine O’Hara bring…but…I’d probably watch it…for, like, a little bit… I’d at least preach on it…


There are homes we are born into, homes we are invited into, and homes we create—for ourselves and for others. Jesus has found a home, of sorts. Not forsaking his parents and the home he’s born into, but rather discovering a kind of chosen home. “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that surely I would be in God’s house…in my Father’s house…in my heavenly Parent’s house…?”


How can New Hope be a place that those who are seeking choose?

What kinds of rich discussions about God are being fostered here?


I mentioned in my Christmas Eve sermon about 2 remarkable gifts that were given to New Hope last week. Church, we must not squander these gifts and this opportunity. In that sermon I also lifted up what New Hope has historically been to this neighborhood and this community, because I firmly believe that this is our way forward. The gift and opportunity we have been given is to further bless and do good and fight for justice and equality in our community.


And doing this work will necessarily invite people to wonder about you.

Why do you do what you do? Why does your church support people like this? Why do you care so much about the downtrodden and cast aside and those that are thought of as less than? Tell me more about this God who loves me just as I am, regardless of who or how I love, regardless of any name or label that our world uses to divide. Tell me more about this incredible gift of grace…


Friends, if we want people to seek and find, we need to be doing something worth seeking out. We have been given an opportunity, and that opportunity means that there is work to be done and lives to be changed, and I need your help to do it.


African-American pastor, poet, and civil rights leader Howard Thurman writes a lovely poem for this post-nativity time we now find ourselves. It’s one of my favorites that I share often on the first Sunday after Christmas. It’s called The Work of Christmas, again by Howard Thurman.

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the the kings and the princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flocks,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among [siblings],

To make music in the heart.


The work of Christmas begins, church.

To continue building God’s home of love and acceptance here.

What an incredible gift it is to be called to this work.


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