The Family Tree
by Elaine Pierce
My parents had a large, ornate (I remember the gold-edged pages) Bible that had a place of honor in our house on the living room credenza. The first several pages had room to record our family's history: births, marriages, children, deaths. I remember how excited I was to see my name recorded in it when I was old enough to read. But I wasn't allowed to write in it. My dad had a special pen that he and he alone used to add names and dates. Yes, it was a beautiful Bible.
As I read through this list of names in Matthew 1, it reminds me of my family Bible. It's easy to skip over these names, isn't it? Who are these people? I haven't heard of most of them. They are obscure, lost to history. And yet, each one is part of the line of Jesus. Look at verse 1:
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
And then at verse 16: and Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
So many generations in between. But they start with Jesus, and they end with Jesus. Well-known people are included - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. People we have never heard of are included: Amon, Jeconiah, and Shealtiel are certainly not familiar names. Non-Jews like Rahab are part of Jesus' family tree. (Not only was she a gentile, she was a prostitute AND a woman. I'm not sure which of those things is the most shocking!)
Best of all is this: we can add our names to this list. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are grafted into this family tree. Your name is in the book of life. What reassurance and joy we can take from knowing this. You don't earn your way onto this list. Jesus paid the price, and he is longing to reach out to you and enfold you into his family.
I don't know what happened to my family Bible, but I am certain that my name - and your name - has been added to this list in Matthew. Your family tree might contain names of people who have gone before you who walked with the Lord - take some time and thank God for your spiritual upbringing. You may have come to faith as an adult. Thank God for those who brought the good news to you. However, you have arrived at faith, rejoice in this gift, which will last for all eternity.
Lord, it's a new year, and I thank you for the opportunity to start afresh. Thank you for those saints who have gone before me. Help me each day in 2023 to find ways to serve you and bring joy to others. Amen.