Once again it is that time of year! Hard to believe that another year has passed, and we are once again celebrating the Christmas season. A wonderful, and yet frenzied season. In the midst of the hustle and bustle we as a church hope to add to the true meaning and significance of Christmas with our upcoming Advent series that Pastor Myers and I have entitled, The Women of Christmas: Grace, Mercy & Hope in Jesus’ Family Tree.

            When you think of the Christmas Story from the Bible, you are accustomed to it starting like this, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had…”.  This passage is from the Gospel of Matthew, but that is not where Matthew begins his Gospel. He does not begin with the birth of Jesus narrative, rather Matthew begins in this way, “The book of genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” That’s right! Matthew begins with a genealogy, a long list of names. There are probably no more skipped-over parts of the Bible that the genealogy sections. What can we learn from them? Well, actually we can learn quite a lot.

            As you read the list of names there is a few names that we are familiar with like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Hezekiah, and lots of names that we know very little like Perez, Zerah, Hezron, Ram, etc. But sprinkled into the list of names is the name of five women – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba), & Mary. Why does Matthew highlight these women? It is very unusual for women to be mentioned in ancient genealogies, so why does Matthew specifically call out these five?

            That is the question we hope to investigate further this Advent season. What we will discover is that that though Jesus was the Holy Seed, his family tree was anything but pure and holy. There is sin, and scandal, and intrigue throughout; there are outsiders that are brought in; and very dark day where the covenant promise seems to be almost extinguished altogether. In other words, Jesus family tree (or family story) looks a lot like our own. Yet God in His infinite wisdom and mercy was faithful to His covenant promise to bring redemption and His purpose through unlikely means of ragtag sinners…and He is still doing the same through us!

            These women and their stories are hallmarks of God’s redemption and grace that He is working out within the world – to bring a lost human race into His redemption and amazing grace. It is only fitting them what He is doing throughout the world, is also what He has already done within His own son’s family lineage. These women are not the exception but rather the norm for what God has and will do in saving lost sinners to Himself. Hope you will join us for each and every one of these amazing ladies, very much used of God to point us to the true meaning and significance of Christ coming at Christmas.

            In addition to our Advent sermon series we have an Advent devotional available to you this year. The church has bought almost 100 copies of Sinclair Ferguson’s book, When Love Came Down at Christmas. It is a Christmas devotional with daily readings that looks at 1 Corinthians 13, and applies it to the story of Christmas. I highly recommend that you pick up you own copy and use it in your personal devotions, or devotions with your spouse or family. It would be wonderful to have much of the church setting their hearts and mind on the same truth everyday through the Christmas season. You can pick up your copy in the back of church for a donation of $5 to offset the cost of purchase.

            I hope that this Christmas your contemplation of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be sweet, deep, and thought provoking as we once again stand in awe of God’s redemption of sinners by sending His only begotten Son.  On the behalf of the Myers and Smit family, we hope and pray that you and your family may have a very merry Christmas. God blessing to you all!     -Pastor Joel