Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Some people are very interested in genealogy. I don't happen to be one of those people. One of my family members, though, has been able to trace some of the lineage of my family back about four centuries. It was an impressive bit of research that she did!
This question summarizes my apparent lack of interest in my lineage. What needs to be remembered? Truly, what have my ancestors done that is worthy of note? Sure, some have doubtless been notable characters, some positive and some negative. Some of them have been good leaders in their families and communities. Some have not. Some made fortunes, others lost fortunes. Most stayed somewhere in between. The memories and the direct relevance become weaker generation by generation.
The Christian must remember, though, that God remembers all of the particulars about our family. In their own way, they are all important. But this doesn't mean we will necessarily be thinking about them.
In our Gospel reading from Luke 2:1-14, Joseph and Mary, his pregnant fiancee, went to Nazareth in order to participate in the census. They were commanded to appear due to the imperial order that a census should be completed. We know relatively little about this little family, but here are a few important pieces of information that we know.
Mary is pregnant. I already said that, and it's a very solid part of the traditional Christmas narrative. A Christmas play with a non-pregnant Mary wouldn't make any sense at all. She's going to have a baby when they are on the road. We don't know how quickly the baby comes after they arrive in Nazareth, but you don't get the idea they were there terribly long before Jesus' birth. They still seem to be in very temporary quarters.
That's another thing we know. This little family didn't seem to have the means to buy luxury. They weren't thundering around in carriages. They didn't stay with rich and powerful people who always kept a guest room for them. No doubt there was some question, at least at times, where they would end up staying.
It probably rarely crossed the mind of either Joseph or Mary that they each had a line of direct descent from King David. They would have known it, because Israel was very concerned with lineage. But really, David's kingdom was a thousand years ago. What their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents did was probably much more significant to them. David's a distant figure.
God brings the promises to David to pass through Jesus, born of Mary. He doesn't bring Jesus' birth in a place of wealth and influence. God the Son joins with our sinful humanity in a humble place. He is unassuming. But he is God with us. He is the one who will redeem sinful humanity from the curse of sin. God takes what is distant and may often be forgotten, and he makes it the present reality. His purpose in this is to break the curse of sin, once and for all. He is able to do even that, in the humble place, a seemingly obscure town, where it is His pleasure to bring peace to earth.
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