The 6th Advent Reminder
“The Most Unlikely Collection of People”
December 2, 2022
The biblical story of Christmas includes a most unlikely collection of people – angels, a teenage girl, her betrothed husband, magi, shepherds, a wicked king who slaughtered innocents, Caesar Augustus ruler of the Roman Empire, a priest and his wife, and many others. (See if you can write down a list of all the “Christmas” characters noted in the Scriptures.)
Then there are the four women from Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus who themselves are very unique to the story (Matthew 1.1-17). Think about them.
Tamar (v.3) She seduced Judah (her father-in-law who had deceived her) into having a child with her – she did it to yield her life to God’s protection to provide for her.
Rahab (v.4). She was a harlot from Jericho (a foreigner) who trusted God and risked her life to His protection when she hid the spies and then lied about their whereabouts. She marries Salmon and gives birth to Boaz who later marries Ruth and becomes part of the lineage of king David and then Jesus (Matthew 1.5).
Bathsheba (v.6). While her husband was at war, she had an adulterous affair with David, king of Israel, and later married the king after the king had her husband murdered.
Ruth (v.5). Ruth also was a foreigner (a Moabitess) who watched her husband die and then by faith turned her back on her own people to follow her mother-in-law into the foreign land of Bethlehem because she trusted God.
Foreign women and women with broken histories. Think about that. They were each women of faith - just not in the traditional expectant way.
Then I think of me. I was an enemy of Jesus and I was a foreigner. I have a flawed history. I am a sinner saved only by grace. Apart for Jesus I have no place to stand on my own for any justification.
And Jesus came for me? And Jesus embraced those four women just like He embraces me?
That’s Christmas. That’s why Jesus came. He came for sinners. A broken people.
We are a flawed society, a flawed people. We as a country have turned our backs on a God-ward life. We as a people have rejected the hope God provides in His Word – the story of Christmas. At this Christmas season we are still trying to recover from a world that is still trying to recover from the alienation and isolation disseminated by Covid and evils of dominating despots that few could have imagined.
Just as in the genealogy of Jesus, Christmas is a time to reach out to those who need Christ this Christmas. Will we reach out to foreigners? To the homeless? To sinners? To enemies of Christ? To those broken by the harshness of life? To those whose lives have been broken by Covid and Covid variants? To those whose lives are separated by political and economic adversity in our world?
Why is it, then, that so much of our Christmas celebration is centered on ourselves – our families and our closest friends, when the truth of Christ’s Advent is that He did the exact opposite – He left heaven and came to earth for sinners – to redeem us? Who can we reach out to in our world who are so different from us?
If Jesus was here in our world in His human boy, I think He would say the same thing He said to His world in the days in which He lived.
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest"(Matthew 9.35-38).
It’s all by grace. In the strength of Christ, let’s purpose to reach outside of ourselves and include others in our Advent celebrations in 2022. Will we go? How will we live that way this Christmas season?
Happy 6th Advent Day 2022.