In this message we talked about how Christmas is a time for family. Usually that’s good, but we all have those “crazy” relatives who seem to come out of the woodwork during the holidays. The students shared some funny stories about “that” person who just seems out of touch with the rest of the family.
Then I talked about how the Christmas story really starts in Matthew with a genealogy. This is one of those sections of the Bible that we usually skip because we can’t even pronouce half the names. But I explained to the students that we were going to take a look at the list to see if Jesus’ relatives were all upstanding believers.
We quickly discovered that wasn’t the case. Jesus’ family tree was a bit dysfunctional: pagans, murders, adulterers and others made the list. Four, however, stand out. Matthew lists four women, which is a bit odd for a patriarchal society.
- Tamar: fooled her father-in-law into having sex with her
- Rahab: prostitute
- Ruth: pre-marital sex (That whole, “uncover” his feet thing? A euphemism. We can agree to disagree, but I don’t think she was as pure as most think. You can read more here.)
- Bathsheba: committed adultery
It’s almost as though Matthew is highlighting the fact that Jesus had some messed up relatives. But here’s the point: if Jesus’ family didn’t define him or disqualify him, then our family situation doesn’t either. More than our family, our own brokeness and shortcomings don’t disqualify us. Though each of us are broken and we need God to restore us, none of us are damaged beyond repair.
That’s what the Christmas story is about: our brokenness. It’s about Jesus coming to earth as a baby to provide a way for us to receive healing and restoration. And once that process begins in us, He wants us to then go and be agents of life and restoration to the world around us. Christmas is our reminder that God cared enough to reach out to us, now we must go and do the same for others who are in need.