Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Family Tree

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.... and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. Matthew 1: 1, 16 NRSV

One of the most skipped parts of the Bible is probably the lists of ancestors. Matthew's beginning is no exception. But while it may seem dull, it is important to see that Matthew traces Jesus' ancestry through Joseph. It is Joseph after all who must return to his family's town for the census. Tracing the bloodline to David involves looking at Joseph's, rather than Mary's, family tree.

You see, Joseph is far more important than we tend to give him credit for.

We often see Mary as the one with the important role in Jesus' beginnings. But Joseph must have played a much stronger role in Jesus' life than we tend to give him credit for. Because of the connection with Joseph, Jesus is born in the same city as King David. It is Joseph who keeps King Herod from finding the baby Jesus. Because of his work as a builder, Joseph is able to travel - to Judea and to Egypt. For someone to be able to embrace God as not just Father but Daddy, Jesus must have had a wonderful relationship with Joseph.

We have much to be thankful for in the fatherhood of Joseph. Beyond sharing his ancestry, Joseph had an important role in raising the son of God.

God, we thank you for Joseph who often gets overshadowed by Mary, the shepherds and the wise men. Help us to be thankful for our own earthly fathers, even when our relationship with them may not have always been the best. Thank you for being our loving Heavenly Father! Amen.

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