Jesus spent His earliest years as an immigrant in Egypt, hiding from Herod. After Herod died, it was safe for Joseph, Mary and Jesus to move back to Israel.
They settled in Nazareth. Joseph worked as a carpenter, and Jesus probably helped out in His stepfather’s workshop.
Jesus had to spend the same amount of time growing up as each of us do. He experienced scraped knees and waiting for birthdays to come and being smaller than everyone else and listening to His half-brothers and sisters crying as babies. His legs didn’t reach the end of chairs. He had to deal with the pain of teeth coming in, then falling out, then bigger teeth replacing them. He had to learn to walk, and talk, and tie His sandals, and read, and write.
Every spring, Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. It was a very special time to remember how God had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. One year, when Jesus was twelve, Mary and Joseph were so wrapped up in preparing their family for the return trip, they completely lost track of their oldest child. With so many relatives traveling together, and all taking turns watching each other’s children, they just assumed Jesus was with an uncle, or aunt or grandparent.
But after a day’s travel, they realized He wasn’t with their group at all. They immediately returned to Jerusalem, which was a whole day’s journey back again. Now it had been two days. But where could Jesus be? They looked everywhere they had visited. The third day, they finally looked in the temple.
And there was Jesus! He was sitting with the teachers, listening and asking them questions. The teachers asked Him questions back and were impressed with His answers. Everyone was amazed that a child could have such a deep conversation about God.
Mary and Joseph had been terrified at losing Jesus, but Jesus was completely calm. He knew everything would be alright.
“Why have you frightened us like this, Son?” Mary scolded. “We were so worried about you. We were searching everywhere.”
“Why didn’t you look here, first?” Jesus asked. “Didn’t you realize I would be in My Father’s house?”
His mother and step-father looked at Jesus in amazement. They were so confused. They had, for a moment, forgotten that the child they had been trusted to raise was not just any boy. He was the Son of God, and would always be most at home talking about God and in the place where God is worshiped.
The family traveled back to Nazareth together. Mary kept thinking of all the amazing things that she was seeing with this child, turning them over and over again in her mind.
Jesus always obeyed His earthly parents. As He grew up, He became wiser and stronger. His actions were pleasing to God the Father, as well as to everyone who knew Him.