February 7

Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts… Luke 2:44-46 (NIV)

How astonishing that Jesus’ mother and stepfather could have overlooked Him for a whole day! But then they missed Him, and set off to search for Him. They overlooked Him because they assumed they knew all about Him; their hearts were not troubled, and they assumed He was where He should be. So they continued in their daily routine for a day before they missed Him. Then they began searching, and they spent three whole days without understanding how and where they should find Him. How long can we continue in our daily routine, even of prayer and Bible reading, before we suddenly sense that He is not in it in that unmistakable way? Suddenly, we long for Him. This is a sign of love, for it is only those who love Jesus who miss His Presence. We ache for that something that only His Presence can supply. This is not the aching sense of lostness that engulfs the sinner – it is the ache of a heart that longs for the loving touch and affirmation of our great Friend. There is no word to describe Him; He is closer than a friend, yet He is Master too. He is majestic in His authority, and yet He washes our feet with a positive kindness that does not shame us, but makes us believe we can be like Him. Come, Lord Jesus, I long for you.