Christmastide 2: Psalm 146, 147 & Luke 2.41-52

From Scotland Huber

“But they did not understand what [Jesus] was saying to them.” (Luke 2:50

I’ve been there. I’m tempted to leave my reflection to that simple verse from Luke. Yes, of course there is a lot of context to this statement, but at its root it’s not an unfamiliar sentiment to the disciples and witnesses to Jesus’ later ministry. And as a follower of Jesus in the 21st century, I’ve related to it a lot recently.

This Advent season I’ve found myself asking a lot of hard questions about our world, about my own nature and sins, about the Church - and honestly sometimes the answers have not come easy. I want the easy answers. I want to understand and to assert my opinion so I can control my situation. I want to understand so I can be at peace. Ironically, understanding is not necessarily what Christmas or Advent is about.

I’m not saying that Jesus doesn’t want us to understand Him, or understand what He’s doing in us or around us, but that knowledge can easily become my idol. I must understand why such evil exists, why my heart still so easily slips into sin, why my circumstances are the way they are, why the political and religious leaders around us say the things that they do. If I don’t, hope is lost.

Christmas has been exposing that idol to me this year. The impossibility of the infinite in the finite, of our God in a baby, helps me recognize the limits of my understanding. I need to remember as Psalm here reminds us, that “His understanding has no limit.” (Psalm147:5b) My hope is not in my comprehension, but in the Truth that has been revealed, in the God that became man. My hope is not in me, in our next (or current) president, or in the success of overcoming my own anxieties and failures. My hope is in this impossible yet real Child of God.

Whether I am walking in a moment with or without understanding, may I walk in faith with an amazement that those people felt when they heard Jesus speaking as a child in that temple in Jerusalem. God grant us this blessing: “I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:2)

I am a husband, community health advocate, photographer and amateur music curator living in Dorchester. If I could eat a donut every day, I would.