As a kid, it was all about the presents. OK. It still is, a little.
But as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the weeks leading up to Christmas. The time that is commonly referred to as Advent.
Last year, I made Jesse Tree ornaments and placed them on a wreath (you can read about that fiasco here!) and each night in December, we talked about the story behind each ornament. We are way behind on that this year, but I still like the Jesse Tree concept because it focuses on the way the entire Old Testament leads up to the birth of Christ. How we see prophecy given and then fulfilled in Jesus. I love how it’s teaching my kids how we fit into God’s redemptive plan.
But this year, I’ve been struck by the importance of family.
Messed up. Broken. Crazy. Family.
Have you ever paid attention to the fact that in both Matthew and Luke—the two Gospels that give us the Nativity story—we get the family legacy first.
In Luke, we start with the off-beat cousin, John the Baptist. No matter how you slice it, that guy was out there. He ate bugs. ‘Nuff said.
In Matthew, we get the whole gang. From Abraham to Joseph. If you know anything about the Old Testament, the names that pop up in this genealogy are not exactly a Who’s Who of Who Got It Right. We’ve got moon-worshipers, liars, thieves, adulterers, and murderers for dads along with foreigners, adulterers, and prostitutes for mothers.
Have you ever heard the saying that “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family?” That’s usually true, but guess what?
God could. He could have chosen anyone and he chose people who had screwed up—BIG TIME—to carry the promise into the world.
A messed up, broken, crazy family. He claimed them. All of them.
And then He did something truly extraordinary. He claimed the entire naughty list and said, “I want you. I love you. I died for you. Come to Me. Join my family.”
No matter what condition your earthly family is in, you have access to a family like no other. A family full of misfit toys made acceptable though Christ. A place where the broken, banged up, and forgotten become the whole, cleaned up, and beloved.
Not because of anything we have done, but because, a long time ago, a baby was born into a messed up, broken, crazy family.
His name is Jesus.
Matthew 1:21 ~ She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (ESV)