The Christmas season is a joyful time where we are reminded to be merry in many ways. Our town centres look a bit different, with the Christmas decorations and the seasonal lights that brighten our path as we shop. All of these are to get us into a festive mood, but for some of us, we may feel that there isn’t much to celebrate or to be joyful about.
We see in the news the instabilities and divisions in our world, such as the protest relating to climate change, and the Israel and Hamas war. We also see the rise in the cost of living, deepening the poverty gap and anxiety in many households. In scripture, we are encouraged not to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6), and this isn’t because life’s pressures aren’t real, but rather because we have a faithful God.
As I read through the genealogy of Jesus leading to the story of His birth, I was reminded that Christ was born of a lineage with some ‘questionable’ characters such as Tamar and Judah (Matthew 1:1-3). Judah was jealous of his brother Joseph, and was involved in selling him as a slave to the Ishmaelites traders. Tamar was his daughter-in-law who tricked him into sexual intimacy by posing as a prostitute. As a result of this somewhat incestual union, was born Perez and Zerah. Perez was chosen to be in the lineage of Christ.
For a lot of us, we may prefer that the ancestry of Jesus would come from Joseph who was a man of wisdom, mercy, and love, but not so with God. God looked at the mess of Judah and Tamar, as well as many others and still honoured them to be in the lineage of Christ.
Similarly, if perhaps this year and the Christmas season isn’t as joyful due to many challenging issues in your life, remember the encouragement from scripture in Romans 8:26.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”.
May this truth strengthen your faith to trust in God’s goodness this Christmas season, knowing that with God, there is always hope.