An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah,fourteen generations. ~ Matthew 1:1-17
You are probably thinking that this is a funny Christmas reading.
Before Matthew gives us Jesus' nativity though the story of Joseph, he does something else. He introduces us to Jesus through his human family. He connects Jesus through Joseph to King David and to Abraham.
Generally in Matthew we get Joseph's version of the Nativity, and in Luke we get Mary's. Yet we also get something interesting of the feminine persecutive here in Matthew's lineage.
In the midst of all these men of Jesus' ancestry, we have four women listed: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary.
- Tamar: disguised herself as a prostitute to get her father-in-law to impregnate her.
- Rahab: A prostitute who assisted the Israelite spies to allow the Israelites to sack her home city of Jericho. She and her family avoided the massacre of her people.
- Ruth: A foreigner from Moab, an neighbor and sometimes enemy of Israel.
- Mary: pregnant, unwed mother.
These are the women Matthew thinks are important to list among Jesus' ancestors.
So perhaps when he is born not in a palace.
Not part of the empire,
but in a backwater town,
as an enemy of the King of Israel,
making his home eventually in Nazareth (where we are told that nothing good comes from)...
We won't be surprised.
We will remember that the birth of Jesus does not come in the shiniest, cleanest way.
It doesn't come to a family dressed in their Sunday best with 2.5 children and a dog.
It doesn't come with ribbons, packages, and bows.
Or even with Christmas Carols.
It comes in as surprising a way as possible.
This is where Matthew starts. This is where Jesus starts.
This is where we will start.
Our greatest blessing comes to us in a way we would never predict or expect.
Or choose for ourselves.
May your Christmas be blessed and may the unexpected capture you this season with the fullness of God's love.
Come Lord of All. Come and show us the true joy of your gift of love. Amen.