Advent Reflection - December 1, 2019
A record of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Aram. Aram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asaph. Asaph was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Joram. Joram was the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amos. Amos was the father of Josiah. Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers. This was at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Achim. Achim was the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary—of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ. So there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the exile to Babylon to the Christ.
This Thanksgiving, I spent the holiday like I always do. I flew to Oklahoma City to spend time with 50 of my closest relatives. It is the longest standing tradition in my family. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE comes to Oklahoma City for Thanksgiving Dinner. Leading up to Thanksgiving day, my grandmother always likes to brush up on her family history. This year when I walked in her front door, she greeted me with as big hug while she shouted in my ear, "MY WORD, DID YOU KNOW WE HAVE A MURDERER IN THE FAMILY?" All I could do was smile, laugh a little, and shake my head "no." Then I asked her to tell me all about it. This is how Thanksgiving week always starts. My grandmother opens the door and begins revealing the messy and rich history of my family. My family's Thanksgiving is peppered with stories that are mixed with salty stares as another family secret is shared. I love sitting around that table and soaking up these stories. For me, these moments are magic and these memories are my favorites. They are my favorite not because they are perfect, but because they are real. They are messy. They are human. They are holy. They are broken, and they are beautiful. This Advent we begin our journey into the beauty and the mess. The story of Jesus' birth is as beautiful as it is messy, and I think the author of Matthew understands this. The author gets that people, families, and societies are both messy and beautiful. This gospel chooses to open with a lengthy genealogy. The author of Matthew winds his way from the beginning to the end, walking us through fourteen generations of faithful people. With each carefully chosen name Matthew invokes their whole person, and the whole story of their life into the lineage and family history of Jesus. By calling in the stories of all these messy, faithful people, it reminds us that Jesus' family is just as fractured and broken, messy, and beautiful as our own. This is good news. Friends, Jesus is on this journey with us, helping us to make sense of the beauty and the mess, and we will journey together all season long. Thanks be to God.
God of glitter and glue,
The world is a mess, and we don't know what to do. In this advent season, be with us in the sparkling mess of Your creation. Open our imaginations, and cultivate the creativity within us to see something new. Help us to remember that you stick to us like glue, and that you are with us in all we say and do. Amen.
Get to Know Essie
Essie was first introduced to Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church as a summer intern back in 2016. She loved this community so much she found her way back this fall and joined the staff here at DMPC, and it has been such a joy being back! This time she is joined in Maryland by her partner Eric and their dog Bentley. They currently live in North East, and are enjoying all the delicious seafood. If she's not working, you can find probably find Essie at a coffee shop, sipping on a lavender latte and reading a good book.