|Still from the film, "A Child Called Jesus"|
Let me rephrase that: He was redeeming the world, by doing "nothing special." We usually speak of being redeemed by Jesus' death on the Cross; and that is correct, but it isn't complete. Everything Jesus did was an offering to the Father - from His conception in the womb of Mary (Heb.10:5-7) right through to His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension.
During the 18 "missing" years between when Mary and Joseph found Him after He stayed behind in the Temple, and sometime around age 30 when He was baptized by John, our Lord was redeeming family life and the daily grind.
What do I mean? In a way, Jesus' life on earth was a re-living of every human life chronologically before and after His own. Where we, in ways small and great, have failed to love God and one another in the course of daily life however, Jesus succeeds. He redeemed Israel's 40 years of wandering in the desert and surrender to temptation by his own 40 days in the desert withstanding the temptations of Satan.
He redeems our family lives, our daily lives of work and play by filling His days with the same activities with which we fill ours. He obeyed His parents, performed jobs around the house, dealt with neighbors who were a mixture of pleasant and difficult, subjected Himself to learning a trade, and experienced the inconvenience of things breaking around the house.
He kept the three times of daily prayer, praying the Shema and the Eighteen Benedictions. He attended the synagogue on the Sabbath and made pilgrimage to the Temple for the great feasts. Like me, and most of you reading this, Jesus was a layperson Who celebrated the liturgical year among life's many demands.
Our Lord did all of this with an abundance of love in His heart, taking the things that we refer to as "oh, nothing special," and making them acts performed by God - actions through which He loved the Father and the people around Him.
Despite what you might hear from occultists such as Edgar Cayce or Sylvia Browne, Jesus' "missing years" were not spent traveling to India studying among Hindu and Buddhist teachers. Those years were spent doing things that far more mundane, far more run-of-the-mill - and far more salvific!