It is not just the urban cowboy who is looking for love in all the wrong places.
And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. – Luke 2:43-44
What they did not know was that, in looking for Jesus, they were looking for love Himself.
Mary and Joseph were desperate. You know the feeling. You assume your child is with you and then discover that he is missing.
They were not negligent. They lived in an “it takes a village” time and community. Everyone looked out for each others’ children and there were few dangers posed by child snatchers and their ilk.
There was a lot of noise and confusion and everyone was traveling in a large band. The adults walked and talked together and the children played with cousins and neighbors as they traversed the journey.
It was a grand time. But then, Jesus was missing.
And the parents looked in all the logical places. The problem was, He wasn’t in any of the logical places.
They were looking for Jesus in all the wrong places. Have you ever done that?
Have you sought Him in words that you thought might justify your own assumptions, prejudices, and wishes?
Have you sought Him in forms that suit your tastes or people to whom you are attracted only to discover that He is to be found among the distasteful people and styles that you deem repugnant?
He is in “the least of these.” He is in the unlikely art forms and literature, buried deeply in the subtleties.
He is in lesser places and the unattractive settings that everyone has abandoned.
And He is present among those who earnestly and deeply seek truth. In this case, it was with the rabbis. At other times, it was among tax collectors and sinners.
But so often, we look in the wrong places.