Here we are less than a week from Christmas day. This week I always re-read the story of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Both accounts have some great stories. Luke has the story of the shepherds staggering toward Bethlehem half blinded by the glory of the Lord and with ears ringing from a multitude of the heavenly host. No sound guys to blame there. Then Matthew tells the story of the Magi bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and then hightailing it out of Dodge before a murderous Herod could catch up to them.
But Matthew always seemed the slower starter of the two. Luke starts his gospel, and within a couple of paragraphs you have an angel telling old toothless Zacharias to go buy some pampers – and they wouldn’t be for him. But Matthew, out of all the ways he could start his account, starts with a 42-name genealogy. I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite 16 verses in the Bible.
But as I read them this year I started thinking. All 42 fathers held a baby in their arms and looked at their little face. I wonder what they saw. Did dad #28 see even a glimmer of the divine? Did he ever think once that he was a player in the most important drama the world has ever had? Every child was a link to the divine. Only Joseph had even the slightest clue that God was up to something.
I’m not a patient man. I answer emails immediately. If I come up with a plan, I want it done yesterday. I bought a Christmas gift for my wife a couple of weeks ago. Waiting until Christmas to give it to her may make my head explode.
The gospel of Matthew begins with a 42-name genealogy. I’m not sure how the 42 felt, but I would guess that some of them wondered if God was ever going to do anything at all. They couldn’t see him. They couldn’t feel him. But Matthew lists them all by name as links to the birth of Jesus the Christ.
You may feel like God has gone dormant. You desperately want God to do something in your life today or at the very latest tomorrow. You can’t see him. You can’t feel him.
Here’s a thought. Maybe you’re #28. God is doing something. It’s bigger than you think. God involved 42 generations of fathers and mothers and children in the greatest gift the world has ever received. And now he’s involving you. God delights in surprising people by using them in ways that echo throughout all eternity. Today you are that echo whether you can feel it or not.