Christmas Trees and Family Trees

pexels-photoWe forget, I think, what a scandal the arrival of Jesus was.

Not only did He come to unmarried teenaged parents.

He came in poverty, instead of royalty.

It was the noises of a stable which welcomed Him, not an orchestra.

What has struck me this week, however, is those verses at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel which we all too often skip past.

The list of Jesus’ ancestors which, if I’m honest, I’ve never paid much attention to before.

It’s like a who’s who of the Old Testament – but not necessarily for the right reasons.

It’s astounding, not least because it contains women, but because it’s far from a tidy family tree.

There’s Jacob, who stole his brother’s birth right and had to flee.

Judah who slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar.

Bathsheba who the text notes had been Uriah’s wife – a reminder that even the royal King David’s story was marred by murder and adultery.

It’s not the pure and holy family that we might have chosen for the Son of God to be born in to.

And yet it tells us so much about the God we serve who would send a baby as His rescue plan for the world.

This God who defies all expectations and works through the meekest and most unlikely of men and women.

Through the worst of us, God reveals His grace in the most glorious of ways.

Our place in heaven isn’t dependant on our family tree. It isn’t dependant on us at all.

It’s dependant on a man born as a refugee baby who doesn’t let us down and doesn’t let us go.

Who waits for us to recognise Him as He calls our name and asks us if He can come and abide in us.

Ann Voskamp writes:

“Christ comes right to your Christmas tree and looks at your family tree and says, “I am your God, and I am one of you, and I’ll be the Gift, and I’ll take you. Take Me?””

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