holiday

This One is for Christmas

This Christmas I decided to look a bit into the different Christmas accounts in the Gospels and rediscover the miracle of the baby Jesus. From what I learned, the family of Jesus tells us so much of who God is. For example, I already did a post some time ago about the women listed in the genealogy of Jesus, but again looking at his less than perfect relatives, we recognize that he came from a godly¬† lineage, although their actions at times proved otherwise, yet redemption undeniably dripped heavily throughout their stories. Therefore, we shouldn’t get hung up on the skeletons and embarrassment in Jesus’ genealogy, but rather the allowance of God’s work in their lives; they may not have started well and had some rough patched in the middle, but they ended in good standing.

When we consider and apply this for our lives, we must remember that for God to work in our lives, we can’t just do what we want and think He will bless us. To receive the blessings and miracles God wants for us, we must humble ourselves and have a surrendered life to Him; he blesses our obedience and promises to exalt us as we live in humility.

Thus, it only makes sense to consider who God chose to be the earthly parents of His Only Son. Yes, God can make somebodies out of nobodies, but it’s those things that are done when no one else is looking that make the difference. To protect His Son, he had to be able to trust the woman who would be his mother and the man who would be his father. Most of us hear of the purity of Mary, which we can see in her tone and her interaction with the angel when she learned she was pregnant with the Son of God. Though ordinary, Mary was deemed worthy to birth the Christ child. Thus, it raises the question of who was considered worthy to be the head of the home in which Jesus would live, so we must look closer at the character of Joseph, Mary’s husband, Jesus’ earthly father.

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In none of the Gospels do we find any words spoken by Joseph, and some say that Joseph died before Jesus’ ministry. Nonetheless, the account of Joseph in Luke tells us all we need to know. First of all, God demonstrated his intent for the family structure being that the angel appeared to Joseph, the head of the home, telling him to keep his family together and not divorce his wife, then to leave for Egypt, and then to return home. Subsequently, not once did he ask questions or second guess, but he trusted and revered the Lord enough to do immediately as he was mandated.

Though it applies to both men and women, I think it speaks more to women. People often diminish all of what marriage is and the impact it has on one’s life as a whole, for one reason or another. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder if there were other worthy women to have carried the Christ-child but their husbands could not be trusted. How loudly does that speak to us? We have to be very selective as to who we choose to lead us, cover us, and protect what the Lord is birthing and growing inside of us. If we entertain the wrong man, get impatient, and or marry too fast or defile ourselves with someone who is not our husband, we run the chance of killing the baby inside of us, or at least delaying the miracle he has for us. If Mary’s husband was disobedient or didn’t move immediately after the angel appeared to him the second time, then who knows if they would have made it out of Bethlehem alive. And if Jesus died as a baby…

On the other hand, I can’t help but consider why we were not given more interaction with Joseph, or at least his words. My only and immediate thought is that the Author did not want to overshadow who Jesus’ Father really was, the Living God of the universe. Luke expresses his manhood and Mark tells of his servanthood, but in the same manner, Matthew expresses him as the King and John deems him as God in human form.

During Christmas, we celebrate his arrival as the foretold Messiah, but we mustn’t forget the awesomeness that this tiny baby is the soon coming King, that he is God. It’s truly the miracle of Christmas, all of eternity of heaven and earth came consumed as a tiny baby, brought in by the most ordinary but worthy man and woman of God. As we strive to be ourselves for a purpose, we must ask if the Lord would find even our ordinary, our surrendered life, to be worthy to bring forth his miracles to change history.

 

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Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, & Mary – Imperfect on Purpose

When you look back in Biblical times, it was a very patriarchal society. Women had very few rights and or privileges; they were seen and not heard. Even still, being Christmas, looking at the life of Christ, he gave purpose and value to women – woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, and so many others. Nonetheless, one of the things I found most interesting and intriguing is found in the very genealogy of Jesus.

Looking through Scripture, in nearly all of the genealogies listed in both the old and new testament, there are rarely women listed. It’s mostly “the son of…” However, in the very lineage of Christ given in the first chapter of Matthew, there are five women listed…Yes. Five. What’s even crazier is that these women, or families they represent, are everything but perfect. They got some serious issues.

First on the list is Tamar (Matt 1:3), found in Genesis 38. The story of Tamar is a story of tamarincest. Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah – Jesus was to come from the tribe of Judah. To sum it up, Judah had three sons and before it was over, none of them produced any offspring for the tribe to continue. Thus, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and slept with Judah and got pregnant, inadvertently preserving the line of Judah.

Second on the list is Rahab (Matt 1:5) , found in Joshua 2. This is a story of a prostitute, not even a Jew, who protected the spies of Israel as they were preparing to demolish her city, Jericho. As a result of her sacrifice, she and her family were protected. rahabThird on the list is Ruth (Matt 1:5) who happens to have a whole book in the Bible dedicated to her, Ruth. Ruth is the story of family and companionship and selflessness. Ruth as well, was not a Jew. She was from Moab, a pagan society. Moabites were some ruthwicked polytheistic people, the total opposite of the Jewish culture. Nonetheless, Ruth set on a journey as a widow, alongside her mother-in-law, Naomi, a Jew, to go back to the land of her people, the Israelites. Long story short, with the guidance of her Naomi, she found herself a husband, the kinsman redeemer, and found a spot in the lineage of Christ.

Fourth on the list is Bathsheba (Matt1:6), found in 2 Samuel 11. Although she is presented as “Uriah’s wife,” her story is far from unknown. Her story is one of betrayal, adultery, sorrow and bathsheba1murder. While married she committed adultery with the very King David and got pregnant. As a result, David had her husband killed, and like clock work God took the life of their son.

Last on the list is Mary, the very mother of Jesus – a young girl minding her business, when an angel of the Lord came and interrupted her life, so much in so she was pregnant before she got married. Back then, that was a social no no.mary-and-gabriel

The point in sharing these stories is one, to see the significance and value of a woman. On the other side, I want to give a brief insight in to how messed up Jesus’ family was. Still, God chose the least of these, to bring forth His precious son. So when people think Jesus came from a generations of water walkers, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love Jesus so much more because of this. He had issues in his family just like everyone else; it identified him, but it didn’t define him. Although Jesus came from all of a dysfunctional family, he didn’t let that take his focus off of his mission here on earth. He was born to die. So let that be an encouragement to you as it is to me, that whatever background or family we come from, it may identify who we are, but it doesn’t have to define who we are. We can rise above and become all that God would want us to be.

As we celebrate this season, remember Christ. He was real, so real he chose imperfect people, on purpose, to bring His only begotten into the world. God can choose and use anyone he wants. He chose me; He chose you. He can take all your mess and create a miracle that will change history, as he did in the lives of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.