I vividly remember six months later as the Christmas season neared, thinking about Mary and how she gave birth in Bethlehem, possibly with only Joseph there to help her, in un-sterile surroundings. I thought about how she wrapped Him in torn cloths and placed her newborn in a manger, in a place designed for feeding animals. And I thought, "Did Mary wonder what God was thinking? His Son, born in such a lowly place?"


Could Mary have possibly seen the Big Picture of what God was trying to show through such an event? I wonder.


Now fast-forward 12 years. Jesus is nearing an age (13) when He will become "a son of the commandment," an era of religious duties and responsibilities. He has traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover festival with His parents, their family members, friends, neighbors, and entire townships of the country of Israel.


Millions of people are there and this little boy, almost-man, is but one of them. Passover is done and the family begins their trek back to Nazareth with the rest of the Nazarenes. At the end of the first day, Mary and Joseph discover to their horror that their eldest son is not with them.


Have you ever temporarily lost a child? I did once. When my daughter was about three years old she "hid" from me while we were shopping in a department store. Even at an early age she was quite the comedienne, and when I finally found her, she laughed gleefully at her accomplishment. As I picked her up I said, "I don't know whether to spank you or hug you!" I hugged her...followed by a good talking to!


I imagine Mary felt pretty much the same way, only worse. After all, I'd lost the daughter of Dennis. She'd lost the Son of God! (Can you visualize this?) When Mary and Joseph finally found their son -- three days later and in Jerusalem's temple -- they said to him: "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."


"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2: 48-50)


But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Note that last line. "They did not understand..." Mary wasn't seeing the Big Picture.


Advance the reel about 20 years. Jesus is now an adult, has left his occupation as a Nazarene carpenter (stone mason) and has begun running around the country with a rag-tag band of disciples, calling Himself the Messiah. While ministering to the throngs of people, He is told that His mother and brothers have come to see Him, but can't get to Him because of the crowd.


It has been argued by theologians (and I have to say that THIS mother's heart agrees with them) that perhaps Mary and the Lord's male siblings (whether half or step doesn't matter here) were there to ask Jesus if He'd totally lost His mind...or what!