Friends, today we read the opening lines of Matthew’s Gospel—the first words that one reads in the New Testament. They are a listing of the genealogy of Jesus, the forty-two generations that stretch from Abraham to Christ. If the Word truly dwelt among us, then he was part of a family that, like most, was fairly dysfunctional—a mix of the good and bad. And this is such good news for us.
Let me highlight just two figures from Jesus’ family. First, Ruth, who was not an Israelite but rather a Moabite, a foreigner. Some of you reading this feel like outsiders, not part of the “in” crowd, looked at askance by others. Well, the Messiah came forth from Ruth the foreigner and was pleased to be her relative.
Then there is Rahab, a prostitute living and working in Jericho. Are there people reading these words who feel like Rahab? Who think that their whole lives have been sunk in sin? Well, the Messiah came forth from Rahab the prostitute, and he was pleased to be her relative.
The good news of Christmas is that God himself pushed into the dysfunctional and ambiguous family of man.