Misfits and Miscreants

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Matthew 1:1 (NIV)

For many kids the story of a certain red nosed reindeer is as much a part of the Christmas season as Santa or even (dare I say it?), Jesus Himself! (Gasp!) Rudolph is the story of a particular reindeer in the employ of Santa that didn't quite fit in with everyone else. The problem: he had a red nose. One that glowed so bright you could even say it glowed (like a lightbulb!) (you know you were thinking it.) He was an outcast. No one liked him and he didn't fit the status quo. But then opportunity struck. A problem arose that he was uniquely qualified to help with, and boom! He became a hero.

Interestingly enough the genealogy of Jesus reads in a similar way. You probably don't know because genealogies are the parts of the Bible we skip over when reading, but it contains its own share of outcasts. People who didn't fit in. People who didn't live life the right way. You would think the genealogy of Jesus would be a list of kings, heroes, and all of the righteous people that existed. And it has those elements. But what's surprising is that the birth map for God also contains sinners and outcasts; people who didn't always live the right lives or live the right way. People who didn't seem to be "chosen by God."...at the time.

The genealogies of Christ tell a different story: God did choose them.

The story of Christmas is one of hope because it's not just about a baby, a couple that raised Him, some shepherds, or some wisemen; or how they played a part in Jesus's story, or in God's great plan. It's a story about how anyone can! It's a story about how God uses even the outcasts. And even in His greatest works! 

Everyone makes mistakes. We may not have red noses but all of us at some point have had red faces; done something we're embarrased about, ashamed of, or hope no one ever finds out about. Sometimes the consequences of our mistakes, or the guilt of making them, leads us to believe we're not good enough. That God couldn't, or wouldn't want to, use us.

Christmas says otherwise.

Sometimes people might be given to wonder, "Why include genealogies in the story of something so magnificent at all? What with all the drama; a virgin birth, a marriage in jeopardy, angels showing up, long awaited announcements, a mad king, mysterious wise men coming from a far off mysterious land (and disappearing just as mysteriously), prophetic announcements and fulfillments; why include a genealogy at all? Just seems to slow the story down and take away from the action...except the genealogy tells an incredible part of the story.

The genealogy is not a slow, boring addition to the Christmas Story. The genealogy is God screaming to us from heaven, "I love you! I want to be with you! I don't care that you've made mistakes. They don't take away from your value or worth to me. I've moved all of history and time to be with you and no mistake you could make could stop me from loving you!"

This Christmas as your faced with your mistakes; the consequences from them; the guilt of them; this Christmas when the world whispers in your ear, "God doesn't/couldn't love someone who has..." Remember with hope and joy, not only did God not reject some of those very same people, but He actually used them in the greatest story ever told, and the greatest thing that's ever happened.