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Jesus, it’s time to get up!

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

The Jacobson family had a morning “ritual,” like many families. The first to stir was usually the father, who would stoke the fire and then tend to the various livestock. Soon, the mother arose, checking on her children and then beginning the preparations for the first meal of the day. It was a scene repeated in numerous households of that day, and our days today.

Perhaps before the sun had risen above the horizon, as the few streaks of the impending dawn appeared, the children would be called to awaken and begin their day. Sleepily, with resident groans and protestations, the parental ears would be assailed with their progeny’s pleas for more time in “the arms of blessed sleep.” Such was not to be, as the burgeoning day called for not only an awakening in their physicality, but also in their intellectual pursuits.

If as a parent, or the child of a parent, this all sounds a bit familiar…it should. Each of us is comforted by the familiar; albeit the rituals which surround us are infinitely adaptable. Even with the most objectionable paths of our youth, we are given solace by pleasant snippets of remembrances of these rituals. The smells from the kitchen, a familiar word, a return to a familiar locale, each brings a peculiar satiation to our souls.

Jesus, son of Jacob, (as known to those in his youth,) would have been in such a family. Surrounded by siblings and caring parents, we may be well assured the relationships were not always a placid “serene pond.” As a family, there were chores to do, food to gather, temple to attend, and work to be done. This particular family was proficient in carpentry, so there were orders to obtain, apprenticeships and orders to complete. Then, as now, there was much to do.

We now know this young fellow as Jesus, the Christ. Other than the Nativity Story, and the time at age twelve in the Temple, we know very little of his youth. In our yearning for knowing more, our efforts have given us the impetus to interpret the many lines of the Holy Bible, beyond the literal page. In our days, some two thousand years later, there is a vast industry of efforts to redefine and explain what may be, inexplicable. So goes the folly of mankind.

“Jesus, it’s time to get up!” Whether or not Mary, Jesus’ mother, needed to use this command is not the point. Rather, it is our curiosity about it at all. Our predilection for this biblical minutia is most curious. 

So, let’s say there is some importance to the question. We have to clarify a few points. First did our Savior sleep alone, or with others? Likely the latter. Was the bed against the wall, or were the sides open? Don’t have a clue. Was there even a bed, at all, and did he sleep on the dirt floor?” Ouch.

We may occupy our time with theological minutia, giving our egos an ersatz boost of pharisaical juices.  God sent his Son to us, he told us about the New Covenant, related what’s necessary for salvation, he then died for our sins and rose into Heaven to await our joining him and God, our father, forever. He then sent the Holy Spirit, as the living spark of God within us. This is about as complicated a message as it gets. What makes it complicated is us. In our “modern” world, which has seemingly gone on for a very long time, we seem to get lost in the “bed” things. It makes no difference what side of the bed we arose. It makes no difference what side of the bed Jesus arose. It is the remarkable reality that God had Jesus and ourselves arise from the bed at all and then, miraculously, gave us the day to do His work.