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Tamar, Esther, James, Jude, Simon- Joseph of Nazareth and his wife, Mary, we're blessed with six loving and dutiful children. All we're special in their own way, but there was a unique bond between James and his older brother Jesus. They had a love, an understanding, a connection that defied common sibling relationships. Throughout their lives, even when they drifted apart in ideals and beliefs, the bond between James and Jesus held.

James always knew that there was something special about his older brother. Being with Jesus made him feel peaceful and happy. James was a shy child and his reticence was often interpreted by others as unfriendliness. But when Jesus was around the extraordinary bond they shared let him feel fulfilled and appreciated. Both boys helped their father in his carpentry shop but while James was clumsy working with the fine tools, Jesus found that his mind was constantly wandering. Carpentry didn't really interest him. What intrigued him most we're Gods laws that all Israelites must obey. This quest for knowledge drove Jesus in ways that his family, except perhaps James, simply couldn't understand.

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Devout Jews we're required by Gods law to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at least once a year for Passover. It was an 80 mile trip from Nazareth and was usually a three day journey. At twelve, Jesus was finally old enough to be considered ready for such a tremendous undertaking. James was only six and was left with his siblings in the care of a neighbor while Jesus joined his parents on the trip to Jerusalem. The festival of Passover lasted for many days and then Joseph and his family joined a caravan for the return trip to Nazareth. Traveling was risky in the ancient world and caravans provided security from robbers and bandits. Between the large numbers of people, camels, donkeys, and carts, great confusion often accompanied these groups and it was not until night on the first day that Mary and Joseph realized Jesus was missing.

Oblivious to the panic that was engulfing his parents, James could hardly wait for his family to return from Jerusalem. They had been gone for 10 days and the tedious wait was almost over. James longed to see his big brother again, to hear his peaceful breathing at night and feel the security of his big hand holding his little one. There was no way to know exactly when his family would return so James decided to take watch in the cliffs overlooking the road as it crossed the Plain of Esdraelon. He was a patient child, but as the hours passed that day he started to realize that something was wrong.

By the time the afternoon sun had begun to dip toward the nearer ridges of Mount Carmel his thin, intense features we're showing signs of worry. As the shadows lengthened beneath the moving caravans, they showed desperation. His eyes did no wandering now; they only clung to that white ribbon of highway, kindling hopefully as each approaching mass of shapes resolved itself into the distinguishable outlines of donkeys and camels and patient, plodding individuals. The groups of pilgrims we're becoming fewer now, scattered sparsely like broken beads along a chain, for in less than an hours time the dropping of the sun behind the long ridge of Mount Carmel would mark the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. If they did not come today, they would have to stop over somewhere, and to endure this aching suspense for another day and two more nights-

As the sun slowly set over the horizon, James hope turned to despair and he knew that his family would not be coming that day. When they finally returned James was full of questions and refused to let Jesus out of his sight. Others from their village had made it home on time- why had his family been delayed?

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Posted in Churches/Faith/Religion Post Date 12/06/2022


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