(CNN) -- No image is more central to the story of Christmas than that of baby Jesus in the arms of his mother, Mary. It was painted and sculpted over and over again, by such artists as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. It's a picture of tender mercy and boundless love between a mother and her son. But these first gentle moments (even experienced in the humble environs of a manger) are perhaps the easiest of any parent-child relationship.
The story that would develop for Jesus and his mother, as presented in the gospels, was complicated, and not very unlike what happens in many families: a tale of enchantment, then disenchantment, of resistance and reconciliation.
The first scene in the Gospels after the Nativity occurs when Jesus is 12, on the cusp of adolescence. The boy accompanies his family to Jerusalem for Passover week. After the celebrations, his family leaves -- failing to notice that Jesus has been left behind. Searching for three frantic days, at last they find him in Herod's great Temple, among a group of elders, who are amazed by his knowledge of the scriptures. When Mary questions him about his behavior, Jesus replies somewhat testily: "Why did you come looking for me? Didn't you know I must be about my Father's business?"
Okay. He was smart, perhaps a bit sassy. As the only glimpse we get of Jesus before the age of 30, it's a telling instance, however.
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A complicated relationship? That is an understatement, I would say...
Even readers of the Bible are given the idea that all was not always ideal between Mary and her "child of Promise." But then, what relationship of any parent and child is totally without conflict? The fact that Jesus happened to be --not only a human child -- but also a developing Son of God incarnate only served to make this primary relationship even more fraught with potential conflict. And far from being the kind of near-divine personage that Mary is made out to be by the Christian churches, The Urantia Book portrayal of this pivotal figure in Jesus' life is that of a normal, human mother of a normal, human child. Like many of her time, Mary herself entertained doubts and worries, right up the the time of Jesus untimely death.
Mary and Joseph alike experienced seasons of doubt, hope, disappointment, and all of the other parental challenges that human parents go through with their offspring. The fact that they were entrusted with the care and upbringing of this remarkable child lends an air of drama that is unique, but any parent of a child can identify with the worries and the challenges of parenting in general, and all parents will be able to sympathize and understand when the disagreements come up.
The Urantia Book chronicle of Jesus' life between the Biblical stories of his birth and the times of his being lost in the temple are filled with details of the life he lived as child being raised by these two stalwart and chosen caretakers of the Son of God. And after the death of Joseph, The Urantia Book gives us numerous details of the kind of relationship that Mary had with her son as he began to "be about the Father's business."
Here at TruthBook, we have several studies about Mary, taken from The Urantia Book and colllated for your ease of enjoyment. It is easy to follow the progression of Mary's attitudes regarding her son - from loving and anxious mother - to bewildered with bruised feelings nearer the end of Jesus life and ministry, to sorrowful and devastated, grieving the incomprehensible murder of her eldest child. In the end, we see Mary just as she was - a devoted and loving mother doing the best she knew how.
Please see our study of Mary HERE