For busy people like us, we can spend a lifetime trying to find it. Jesus himself went through this same journey.
Where Jesus Found Happiness
The Gospels don’t tell us much about Jesus’ formative years. We know about his birth. We know about the last three years of his life . But the only glimpse of this we have is in Luke 2:41-52.
The Gospel reading presents Jesus at 12. When you read it, you might think of it as a cute story during his childhood. But it is about a Jewish boy at the cusp of manhood. It reveals the type of man Jesus would become.
The passage starts at the conclusion of the Passover festival. Families started making the long treks back to their homes. After a day’s journey, Joseph and Mary discover that their son was missing.
They rush back to Jerusalem. After three frantic days of searching, they found Jesus safe and sound. He was sitting at the temple among its teachers, listening, asking questions and learning.
Mary responded like any parent would in a situation like this. She said, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you” (Luke 2:48)
Jesus replied: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:29)
I can imagine Mary felt hurt. If I spent three days worrying about my son and heard my son say that, I would be upset.
As a parent, we try to provide our children what they need. We work hard to provide them food and water. We love on them; we teach them how to love. We build up their self-esteem.
At work, we strive to please our boss, so we may get that raise. We are patient when customers complain.
But Jesus wasn’t being disobedient at all in this passage. Jesus knew his parents cared for him. They gave him all his basic needs of love, food, water and shelter. But at the age of 12, Jesus “home” wasn’t necessarily back in Nazareth.
For Jesus, this home-away-from-home was formative in Jesus discovering his purpose in life. The scene gives us a glimpse into what drove Jesus as a man of God.
So Where Do You Find Happiness?
Jesus found his calling at the feet of teachers at the Temple. Where do you find your fulfillment? Where does your happiness lie?
Do you find it in worldly things like money or cars or a career? Things we might never achieve or find in our lives. Things that could taken from you. Things taken away that we work too hard for.
Or do you find it in heavenly things like a relationship with Christ? Things that no one can take from you. Things that give you strength in troubled times. Things that reveal God’s grace in your heart.
At the age of 12, Jesus knew he could never be happy as a carpenter his whole life. Nor would he be happy in Nazareth.
Jesus found happiness in his desire to grow closer to God every day.
Perhaps you should listen to the wisdom of a 12-year-old Jesus. Perhaps you too should make God’s house a home in your heart.