In this icon we see Jesus as a twelve-year old boy listening and asking questions of the teachers of Israel. It is at this point that Jesus Himself, for the first time, refers to God as His Father. Every stage of human life is sanctified by our Lord. Jesus is shown taking care of His Father’s house so that we may realize that He is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life!" The elders depicted in the icon with the twelve year old Jesus seem to be asking, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?"
It has been said many times that the: "Young people are the Church of tomorrow!" It is disturbing to hear Orthodox Christians make this statement because nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that our "young people are the Church of TODAY!"
At a very young age our children participate in the Holy Mysteria of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Holy Eucharist. They are full members of the Body of Christ — the Church! In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism a person is established with the life of the crucified, resurrected, and glorified Christ.
We include our children in the sacramental life of the Church, but too often neglect to teach them to live the Faith in a holistic manner. Children, too, can be taught to be stewards of the Church by the giving of their Time, Talents, and Treasure.
As a young person grows from childhood to adulthood, and participates in the life of the Church, their personal response becomes crucial. Keeping our lives focused on Christ, we unite ourselves to Him through prayer and sacrament. In this manner we learn to give in return and become true Orthodox Christian stewards!
See: Luke 2:41-50; John 7:14-29
To learn more, visit the Department of Stewardship.