Everyone has a story. The young are filled with fear that the story of their lives wonʼt be grand. The old are filled with lament because their story never worked out as planned. We all long for a great story, but it can never be guaranteed … or can it? Our story must become a part of Jesusʼ story.
In Matthew 1, the story begins with a genealogy. This not only serves to prove the historicity of Jesusʼ life, but also speaks to the shocking nature of his ministry. A genealogy was used in the ancient near east to prove worth and credibility. This was a royal résumé. It should paint the best possible picture of you. This genealogy is full of blemishes and reveals that the most unlikely characters are part of Jesusʼ story.
In the first six verses we find the following names: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba (Uriahʼs wife). This is a terrible start to the story. First, women were typically not included. They had no rights and were not taken seriously in this culture. Second, these were Gentile women, considered unclean and racial outsiders. Third, most of them have scandalous pasts – Tamar sells her herself as a prostitute to Judah, her father-in-law; Rahab is a prostitute; and Bathsheba commits adultery with David. How are they in the family? How are they part of the story of Jesus? Although itʼs shocking and counterintuitive, itʼs what makes Christmas good news! Once considered outsiders they are now included in the family of God. But we shouldnʼt be surprised. The Samaritan woman, the Ninevites, the Ethiopian eunuch, the man born blind, even the author of this Gospel (Matthew) are all part of the story! Jesus is the great reconciler and allows our story to be woven into to his.
Christmas announces that we all can have a new story, regardless of who we are or what we have done. Maybe youʼve always felt like you were on the outside. God wants you to be included. Jesus alone makes this a reality. His story can be your story!