We all know the basic elements of the Christmas story.
Mary and Joseph visited by the angel Gabriel. Jesus in a manger. Wise men and shepherds. The escape from Herod. Heaven’s song, and the Star of Bethlehem.
But today, I want to highlight the one part we usually gloss over.
Matthew 1 begins with a genealogy, Jesus’ family tree. Fourteen generations between Abraham and David, fourteen up to the Babylonian captivity of Israel, and fourteen to Christ on Earth. The disciple Matthew evidently thought this was an important way to begin the story of Jesus’ birth. And historically, Jews who read the New Testament recognize this as a familiar way to begin every story since they saw their identity tightly connected both to their ancestors and to their offspring.
But many of us today might wonder why. What’s the real purpose of having a list of names? Why not just jump into Jesus’ birth, the story of Christmas?
Today, God revealed something beautiful—a nugget of treasure in this recorded
As I read each name aloud, the Holy Spirit whispered...
“Each of these people had a purpose beyond their natural life. Likewise, you are more than what is before you and behind you. You are part of the family of faith, connected to the Infinite One, and with Him there is always more.”
Each of these people, from Judah and Tamar to Boaz and Ruth and Rahab to the shepherd king David lived their lives not fully realizing that their main claim to fame was something beyond the years they’d be alive on Earth. They each struggled and suffered, wondering at times if God was using them at all or if they were fulfilling a divine purpose, and yet each of them was part of the lineage of Christ Himself, the son of David! The Son of the God who specializes in raising royalty from sheep pastures and stables.
Several verses later, when the angel Gabriel visited Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, God called out to him as “son of David.” Not the son of his father Jacob or the grandson of Matthan, not Joseph of Bethlehem. God was calling Joseph to step up into Heaven’s Plan and leave earthly plans behind, and so He called the humble carpenter by his royal lineage, his destiny. Something Joseph had probably never sought out within himself.
Joseph likely viewed himself based on externals. His parents, his trade, his town. Dealing with Rome's taxes. Making enough money to get by and support a wife one day. But these days, Joseph was dealing with something supernatural and invisible within his bride to be. So, God called to the same place in Joseph—the invisible, hidden royalty of David. God had put it there and so only God knew how to draw it out.
In order to walk out the plan of Jesus’ Birth, Joseph and Mary would have to walk closer to God Himself.
And that’s what He desires for each of us!
So, if you’re feeling a bit stranded as we close out this year, wondering if you’re actually fulfilling your purpose, wondering if God is even watching your humdrum everyday… let this be an encouragement, “a sign unto you” this Christmas.
There is a purpose beyond what you can see. Beyond your parents, beyond your children. Something both your ancestors and descendants are part of. Stand and shine because your Light has come, and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you (Isaiah 60:1)! His Light transfigures us, taking us from glory to glory and helping us represent Him here on Earth.
And His Hand is always moving in all the hidden places you wouldn’t expect!