Sunday, December 10, 2017

2nd Sunday of Advent - In the Family ~ Advent 2017

"The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac... Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah." Matthew 1:1-16  





As for Jesus, his ancestoral lineage has been recorded, according to the custom in ancient times, and this provides great historical documentation. The first chapter of Matthew gives us the "genealogy of Jesus the Messiah." Many find reading the detailed list laborous, but it is quiet remarkable, including five women, which is uncharacteristic of "ancient patriarchal societies" says Timothy Keller in Hidden Christmas. Many of those listed are flawed individuals, both Jews and Gentiles, both men and women, labled by various kinds of immoral deeds and deceit and dynfunction.Today, we can read this ancient list of names, even the failures and outsiders, and know them to be included in the family of Jesus. 

Today science provides a way for the everyday, ordinary person with the opportunity to take a personal DNA test that can determine ancestry. Family records with names and places and occupations can be found via ancestry.com. In our searches, we find flawed ancestors, perhaps a thief or a murderer, just as we discover soldiers and missionaries, explorers and farmers. Each of us is a mixture of genetics from the decades and centuries passed, each generation influenced by their cultures and societies. Keller says a genealogy is saying, "This is who I am."

In thinking about the ancestors of Jesus, what meaning is there for us? Keller says, "First, it shows us that people who are excluded by culture, excluded by respectable society, and even excluded by the law of God can be brought in to Jesus' family." Looking around the world today, we see situations where power corrupts and hate excludes; we see dysfunction and immorality. We can break the cycle of our past... or present; we can choose to live a different way. Timothy Keller reminds, "It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God." When we place our faith in Jesus, irregardless of our sinfulness, we, too, can be included in the family of Jesus. Without fear or shame, we can share the Gospel story by telling our story of grace. "This is who I am... in Christ!" -dho

**During this season of Advent, I am reading Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller. I will share some of his thoughts along with mine. May your Christmas season be filled with Light!