Christmas Hope and the Women in Jesus' Family Tree
Nov 26, 2021 · Courtney Jacob
Have you ever struggled to get into the Christmas spirit? Maybe you feel too sad or broken. We live in a culture that tends to idealize and romanticize Christmas, and when our lived reality doesn’t match up to our expectations, it’s understandable to not feel like celebrating Christmas. But the Bible offers hope.
The gospel of Matthew begins with a long list of names detailing Jesus’ family tree, and in this genealogy, we find the names of five women—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba), and Mary. Through the stories of these women, we hear the message that no matter how much the world says we don’t belong, no matter how broken we feel, Christ came into our world to offer God’s love and belonging to all. It is the very meaning of Christmas!
Join Groundwork as we study the stories of each of these five women in our series “Christmas Hope and the Women in Jesus' Family Tree.” Together, we’ll come to better understand why it’s unexpected, yet significant that Matthew includes these women in Jesus’ genealogy and we’ll discover how these stories provide us with hope that will encourage our faith at Christmas and always.
The Christmas Paradox
Many of us expect Christmas to be a happy time of year. We expect to feel warm fuzzy feelings of joy and contentment. We imagine giving perfect gifts, welcoming families, and building rich traditions. We “deck the halls” with garland and holly and display adorable manger scenes in our front lawns.
However, in reality, for many of us pain, sadness, grief, and brokenness are woven through the season and often feel more acute at this time of year. It might make us uncomfortable to think and talk about pain and sorrow and trauma at Christmas, but these realities are not scrubbed from the Bible, nor Jesus’ family tree. Humanity’s pain and sin and brokenness are the reasons Jesus Christ comes into our world.
The season of Advent is a time of waiting. It’s a time when we remember Christ’s birth, his first coming into our world, and also a time when we anticipate his coming again. It may be tempting to skim or speed read Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1, but I encourage you to slow down, recognize the names, and recall with us their stories. As you remember the story of Christ’s birth, you’ll also remember that in Christ, there is a place for the broken, the traumatized, the outsider, and the imperfect.
I invite you to dwell on the real meaning of Christmas with us through our Groundwork series, “Christmas Hope and the Women in Jesus’ Family Tree”:
- Christmas Hope: Tamar - Matthew 1:1-3, Genesis 38, and Romans 8:35-39
- Christmas Hope: Rahab - Matthew 1:5, Joshua 2, James 2:25-26, and Romans 5:8
- Christmas Hope: Ruth - Matthew 1:3-6, Ruth 1-4, Luke 16:10, and Micah 6:8
- Christmas Hope: Bathsheba - Matthew 1:5-7 and 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25
- Christmas Hope: Mary and Christ's birth - Matthew 1:15-25, Galatians 4:4-7, and Ephesians 3:17b-19
...and together we’ll let God’s word surpass all our human expectations and reveal the full richness of God’s love and faithfulness this Christmas.