The First Christmas Reading

[Confused what this is? See our introductory post here]

Matthew 1:1-16

The Genealogy of Jesus

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, 4 and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

First Meditation

Our first reading leads us into the darkness of unknowing. A darkness that, while it is difficult to walk in, leads into a new dawn. Enter the stories of the four women listed in Matthew’s genealogy.

Tamar

Rahab

The wife of Uriah, Bathsheba

Mary

All part of a scandal. All felt the darkness of unknowing. Tamar, widowed two times by Judah’s wicked sons, was left on her own by Judah because of his fear his third son, too, would die if he married her. Tamar had little choice without husband or children in her culture, and was left in a terrible, shameful situation by her father-in-law. So she tricked him. She disguised herself as a temple prostitute, slept with her father-in-law, took his seal and staff as collateral, and became pregnant by him. Judah learned Tamar was pregnant three months later, but did not know it was her who he had slept with. He was enraged that the unmarried widow of his two sons would be pregnant. He called for her to be burnt to death. Tamar, before being executed, show Judah his seal and staff. Judah was ashamed. And Tamar gave birth to twins, one of which, Perez, continued her lineage to Jesus. (Genesis 38)

Scandal. Darkness. The lineage of Jesus Christ.

Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho, a traitor to her people, but savior to the Israelites. (Joshua 2) “The wife of Uriah,” Bathsheba, with whom King David had an affair while her husband was on the battlefield. David, using his power and wealth, slept with Bathsheba and attempted to have her husband killed to cover his tracks by sending him to the front lines. She gave birth to Solomon, heir of the throne. (2 Samuel 11)

Scandal. Darkness. The lineage of Jesus Christ.

And Mary, a young woman engaged to Joseph. A woman, who God called favored. A woman from a nowhere kind of place, poor, yet prepared for God’s Word and receptive to God’s work. She became pregnant through the Spirit’s overshadowing. Pregnant, young, poor, unmarried.

Scandal and darkness. This is the lineage of Jesus Christ.

It is in the darkness and scandal; the strangeness and inexplicable; it is here that Christ longs to be born.

 

When have you been in darkness? When have you experienced unknowing? Can you dwell in that place as the night comes?