The Nativity is nearly upon us. There are two passages in particular I want to cover with this post. The first is the genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, 4 and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
What we can see from this list is there was a mix of really good, righteous people (flawed as they were), and some truly wicked people here. Some were great, and others not so much. All of which is meant to show that God can accomplish His will despite any seeming human obstacles. He can work greatness out of nothing, and can find a way to turn something evil towards the service of good. No human evil can overcome the Will of God, or interfere with His plans. That is one lesson, among many, to draw from the genealogy of Jesus.
Then we have the beginning of the Gospel of John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
There is a strong message of hope here- the darkness cannot overcome the Light. That should be of great comfort to us in the days ahead. I imagine that much darkness lies yet before us in the times to come. Whatever happens, the darkness cannot truly win.
At the same time there is a sadness. For it was through Jesus, the Word, that all things came to be. And yet that same creation did not know him. We human beings had become (and still are) so estranged from our Creator that we no longer recognize Him. Much of our work as Christians is to change this- to no longer be estranged from God but establish a lasting relationship with Him. The Nativity of our Lord was a chance for us to really do that- an opportunity to overcome the consequences of the Fall. Let us not waste the precious gift that was offered to us, and to instead accept Him full into our lives. For if we do so, then we shall become children of God.