December 17 / Third Monday of Advent
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.~ Matthew 1:1
We look back at the tidy pattern of our family’s generational history, neatly delineated on the genealogy dot-coms, and it all looks so restrained, so civilized, so orderly. But as we start to probe into the actual stories and escapades that lie beneath the array of names, things get a bit more complicated. There is a rogue great uncle here, a wayward grandmother there, a second cousin once removed whom no one ever talks about. So it is with the genealogy that Matthew lays out in the opening chapter of his Gospel. His carefully crafted iteration of names conceals a richly textured variety of stories, with plenty of malfeasance to go around. Take this stately declaration: “David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.” Sounds innocuous, until we realize that certain facts are left out, namely that King David committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba; that he then arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle; that the first child produced out of this illicit union died; that their second child, Solomon, the boy who lived, was not the nominal heir to David’s throne but attained it through his mother’s machinations. And yet out of the welter of misfits, black sheep and skeletons in the closet God brings the ultimate good: “Jesus who is called the Christ.” So much does God love us that he willingly wades into the messiness of our lives and works there. He is not fooled by our puny attempts to assume the appearance of order. Rather, if we will but allow him, he will take the mud and muck of who we are and transform it into good.
O God whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation, accept my thanks today for your willingness to meet me with your loving embrace amid the confusion and complication of my life.Amen.