The Women in Christmas
This is a particularly busy season for us Christians. We talk about celebrating the birth of Jesus and preparing our hearts during the season of advent. We busy ourselves decorating and wasting money that we don’t have to show others how much we love them. We use cute phrases like “Merry Christmas” and “Jesus is the reason for the season.” We stand firm and shake our fist to proclaim that this is our season as Christians. We demand that the rest of the nation knows this is our time of the year. We must “Put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas!” Is this really how Jesus wants us to celebrate the holiday commemorating His birth? I think not.
Let’s start with the bigger picture...something we usually skim over in the Bible. Luke and Matthew both bring us the genealogy of Jesus. There is much debate about why they differ, the literal blood line versus the adoptive lineage, who was left out and why, but I’m not getting into that today. Today I want to focus on Matthew’s account. While the genealogy in both gospels is patrilineal, Matthew brings a twist. He intentionally names five women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. The women he selected have incredibly powerful stories. While they may not all be traditionally hope filled stories, we learn that they are Jesus’ ancestors. Each of these stories have a sexual immorality component. What bigger hope could there be?!?! 1 Corinthians 6:18 reminds us that “All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” Essentially, a sin against your own body is a pretty big deal. The fact that the genealogy of Jesus would include a prostitute, a woman who pretended to be a prostitute in order to get pregnant by her father in law, a woman who was essentially forced to have sex with a king (power rape is all over the news right now but it’s been happening a long time) and a woman who is led by her mother-in-law to “seduce” a guy (loosely used here for lack of a better word) in order to be able to keep the estate of her deceased husband offers an unparalleled hope to those of us whose lives now are filled with injustice, mistakes, sins, sexual immorality, etc. These stories bring them a sense of no matter how bad the situation is God can redeem it into something amazing!
I challenge you to reflect on this small portion of Jesus’ genealogy I’ve shared here today and how you have treated a “sinner” or outcast in your life. What does God have planned for their life? How different would their understanding of Jesus and Christianity be if you simply loved them like Jesus would? Maybe they were created to change the world but don’t know the true God. Maybe their only exposure to Jesus is you. Are you sharing the real reason for the season?
Let’s put CHRIST back into our personal CHRISTianity. Remember that our daily life is what impacts people, not how many times we correct someone who chooses to say “Happy Holidays”. Let’s really make this season about celebrating Jesus’ birth, life and death for our sins. Remember that it is only because of God’s Prevenient grace that we do not suffer the eternal consequences of our sins. Let’s have a Mary Christmas. Sit at the feet of Jesus this season and enjoy His presence in your life. He doesn’t want you busting your butt in the kitchen to prepare a perfect feast or exchanging a hundred gifts...He is the gift. Open it and share it with everyone you know.