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12.20.15 Jesus Could Be Your Son Luke 2:8-20 Sermon Summary

by on December 21, 2015

If your family is imperfect, I have good news. The gift Jesus brings is for all people, including and especially you.

The message of the Gospels is that in Christ, God has given a gift for all people, which is especially good news for those of us who come from imperfect families. Over the past several years I’ve had to explore deeply—in counseling, study, prayer, and meditation—the effects of my childhood and upbringing. It wasn’t perfect, to say the least. But my hope and strength through this often painful and confusing pilgrimage come from the assurance that God is with me in Christ.

Even before his birth, we’re told that Jesus’ gift is for all people. The genealogy included in the Gospel of Matthew includes people of questionable and low status, most notably four women unlikely to be included in a proud ancestry list. These include

  • Tamar: a Canaanite woman who (justly?) deceived her father-in-law Israel into having children with her (think your family is complicated? Just read Genesis 38.)
  • Rahab: a Canaanite prostitute who rescued the spies of Israel as they reconnoitered the Promised Land before the invasion
  • Ruth: a Moabite widow who marries the much older Israelite Boaz
  • Bathsheba: a Hittite wife whom King David steals from her husband Uriah

What Matthew is telling us by including these women, Mary notably being the last woman in the list—also with a challenging reputation as an unwed pregnant teen—is that no one can count themselves out of this gift.

We get the same message at the scene of Jesus’ birth. First of all, there are Mary and Joseph, an engaged couple who are nonetheless pregnant. They find themselves in something of a “refugee status” in Bethlehem, having arrived too late to secure a proper room. Then they actually become refugees in Egypt when King Herod threatens the Christ child.

And there are the shepherds, poor, disadvantaged men who are marginalized social outcasts for any number of reasons. It is to these shepherds that the messengers come. They are the first non-family to hear the Gospel. They are the first non-family family of Jesus.

And here is the point: That invitation extends to us and to all, regardless of one’s family history.

In other words, Jesus wasn’t born into a perfect situation, into a perfect family. He was born to Joseph, to Mary, to the Shepherds. He could be born to you. Jesus could be your son.

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