¹ The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
² Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, ³ and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, ⁴ and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, ⁵ and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, ⁶ and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, ⁷ and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, ⁸ and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, ⁹ and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, ¹⁰ and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, ¹¹ and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
¹² And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, ¹³ and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, ¹⁴ and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, ¹⁵ and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, ¹⁶ and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
¹⁷ So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
For many people, Christmas and family go hand in hand. We enjoy traditions. We share meals. We embrace loved ones as we gather to celebrate. Matthew starts his Christmas story by talking about families. His goal is to demonstrate that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham, our great-great-great-etc.-grandfather. But as we trace the lineage from Jesus to Abraham, we notice something unique. In the midst of a sea of men (whose names few of us can pronounce), we find five women.
The presence of these mothers’ names is unique and is intended to draw our attention to the kind of family Jesus has come to rescue. Tamar was mistreated by men who loved her body but refused to honor her dignity and soul (Genesis 38). Rahab worked as a prostitute in Jericho to support her family. She and her family were spared during the destruction of Jericho in return for the help and protection she provided for the spies of Israel (Joshua 2). Ruth was a Moabite widow. The Moabites were born out of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his own daughter (Genesis 19:30-37). In the midst of tragedy, Ruth became a follower of the God of Israel (Ruth 1). Bathsheba, Uriah's wife, was wrongfully taken by King David and bore him a son named Solomon. David ended up ordering the murder of her husband to cover his own tracks (2 Samuel 11). Solomon would go on to build God a temple.
"...the Christmas story is a good news rescue story for the forgotten, the neglected, and those that the world despises. These are the ones that Jesus came to rescue and embrace as his family."
This leaves us with Mary. Like the other four women, Mary found herself in the midst of a messy situation. She was a betrothed virgin, and yet she was pregnant. The optics were bad, to say the least. But just as God had worked in the lives of the other women in this passage, he was at work in the midst of Mary's mess. These women may have been overlooked and discarded by the men of this world, but they were precious to God. Without them, we don’t have a Christmas story. And this serves as a powerful reminder that the Christmas story is a good news rescue story for the forgotten, the neglected, and those that the world despises. These are the ones that Jesus came to rescue and embrace as his family.
Praise be to our rescuer, redeemer of messes, tamer of mayhem!
Where the world may see a useless, discarded person, you see a whole and precious human, made in your blessed image. Where the world sees a wasted life, you know that it’s never too late for your saving power. For if the lives of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary were not too decimated for you to restore, surely ours aren’t either.
For if you have the power to create everything from nothing, you are beyond any earthly authority!
We confess that we live as if this were not true.
We look to our culture to tell us our worth.
We look to earthly relationships to define what love looks like.
We look to money, possessions, and accolades to secure and protect us.
And when living this way leaves us shattered and empty,
We look to the world to save us.
Lord, change our hearts to free us from our own tyranny!
Refresh our assurance in your infinite might.
Let us look not to the world to bring us hope, but to the cross.
We come to you crushed and empty, crippled by weights we aren’t designed to carry on our own. We come to you hungry, hopeless, shivering, depraved, discarded. You embrace us, welcome us in, invite us to thaw ourselves in your perfect radiance. You heal us, fill us with your light and give us a seat at your table.
Our haven and stronghold, we find shelter under your wing as the torrential storms beat down around us. In you, the destitute find abundance, and in your presence the rich are made aware of their scarcity.
Oh gracious refuge, warm our hearts to your drawing us near, more every day until you return or call us home.
Christmas Eve at Coram Deo
You are invited to join us on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 4, 5, or 6 pm for one of our candlelight services. Together, we will sing Christmas carols, hear the Christmas story proclaimed from God's Word, and, of course, light candles to remind each other of God's light shining into the darkness through the arrival of His son, Jesus Christ. Children are invited to join their parents for these family-friendly services and no child care will be provided. We hope to see you there!