The world breaks, families fracture, bodies suffer, hearts shatter. It’s all around us and it doesn’t stop at Christmas. Shootings. Diagnoses. Miscarriage. Abandonment. Job loss.
And yet God doesn’t stay far off, distant from our pain. He enters it with us.
The wonder of Christmas is that Jesus left heaven to enter this fractured and hurting world.
The spectacle of Christmas is that the fractured and hurting is right there in Jesus’ family tree.
When we turn the last pages of Malachi, through the silent centuries and to the first pages of the New Testament, it starts with Matthew and Matthew starts with – a list.
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A list? We’re tempted to scan these kinds of lists of “begets” and “sons of” to get to the good stuff. But this is the good stuff.
Stick with me because Matthew brings us to the Hope of Christmas in the women of Jesus’ family tree.
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
It makes sense that Matthew, wanting to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, would start with the Son of Abraham and Son of David.
All the way back in Genesis 3, God had promised the seed of a woman who would crush Satan’s head. But which woman? God narrowed it a bit more when He called Abraham from his pagan family to Himself, promising a descendant of Abraham, when Abraham was childless and Sarah long past childbearing years, would bless all nations on earth.
Centuries later God narrowed it even more. God put David on the throne and promised He would establish the kingdom of his throne forever.
So through 41 generations, Matthew proves Jesus is a descendant of both Abraham and David.
Job done. Enough said.
But Matthew says much more.
Because in a list chock full of patriarchs, Matthew names five women.
Look at Matthew’s list:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Turns out Jesus has quite a HERitage.
Matthew could have listed Sarah or Rebekah, matriarchs in their own right, but instead he lists Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.
A widow who played the prostitute.
A Canaanite prostitute.
A Moabite widow.
A widow pregnant by another man.
And a young girl pregnant before marriage.
Yes, Jesus has quite a HERitage. Quite the family tree.
Jesus, born into this hurting and fractured world, came from a long line of hurting, fractured women.
But hurting and fractured isn’t the end of their stories!
As we prepare for Christmas, we’ll take a look at each woman and see what she teaches us about the Hope of Christmas.
Let’s push pause today and let our hearts settle on the grace that Jesus would come not only TO hurting women but THROUGH hurting women.
Pain is never the end of our story. Jesus changes all of that forever.