An account of the genealogy* of Jesus the Messiah,* 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, 3and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, 4and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,* 8and Asaph* the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,* and Amos* the father of Josiah, 11and 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 Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.* 17 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)
So, have you ever read those verses? Or have you just skipped over them to get to Joseph’s dream and get the show on the road? Have you just skipped over them to get to the beginning of the story? Oh, drat…you missed the beginning of the story! The writer known as Matthew is so careful to include it, so careful to bring all that came before into the story so that there is no doubt who Jesus is. More importantly, there is no doubt who these generations upon generations of God’s children are. Jesus did not just drop out of the sky like some sort of divine UPS package. God did not come into the world as Emmanuel, as “God-with-us”, separate from who we are. God came into our midst—not our beginning—our midst. God came into the midst of who we are. God came into our messy and chaotic lives and made a home. God came to Abraham and to Aram; God came to Aminadab and Boaz; God came to some guy named Salathiel, a no-name Bible character that had a life, that followed God and worshipped and got up and went to work to support his family so that Zerubbabel, who we also don’t know, could have a life. God came to Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel and Tamar and Ruth and Mary and about 36 other women because regardless of whether or not the Scriptures named their name, they were called and responded and walked the journey that we continue.
This story, this story of God and how God came to be in our midst is our story. And though we often spend a good part of Advent looking ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting, the story has been happening all along. Advent reminds us that we are not waiting for the story to happen but rather entering a story that is and will be forevermore.
I have a certain fascination of my ancestry. It is a way of connecting to who I am. It is a way of discovering who I am meant to be and what it is I am called to carry for a while and then hand off to those that come after me. I have not been fortunate enough to have children of my own (except a couple of black labs). But these lines of generations are not single strands. They are awkward and messy and unwieldy and sometimes hard to read and follow. Perhaps God made them a little murky so that we would be reminded that we are all connected. We are all children of God, walking our leg of the journey until we cannot walk anymore. And in that moment, God picks us up and carries us home. We are not the story but the story is incomplete without us. God called Abraham…and on and on and on…and then God called you.
THIS Advent, be reminded not just of what happened 2,000 years ago but rather the story that would not be complete without you, the story of God in your midst.
Home is where your story begins. (Annie Danielson)
FOR TODAY: Pray for those that came before you. Pray for those that will come after you. Be the story. Tell the story.
Grace and Peace,