Prepare (Advent 2014 devotional) – November 30


Today, Sunday, November 30 begins the season of Advent. This is a special time of year that we prepare our hearts to receive and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Each day up until December 24, we are taking a journey to travel along with Mary, Joseph, the Magi and many others to witness and be part of their story so this journey also becomes our journey to and with the Messiah.

Today, we begin with the genealogy found in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 1:1-17 “A record of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Aram. Aram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asaph. Asaph was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Joram. Joram was the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amos. Amos was the father of Josiah. Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers. This was at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Achim. Achim was the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary—of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ. So there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the exile to Babylon to the Christ.”

This may seem like a strange way to begin to prepare our hearts; but there is actually a richness in this passage. In the ancestral line of Jesus, we find murders, adulterers, prostitutes, women (which was very uncommon in the Jewish culture to record women’s names), kings, etc.

We should also see ourselves in this mix of names. Have you ever felt like you were not worthy of Jesus Christ? This list of names should help you and I realize that God saw worthiness in the genealogy and wanted to show the world that God’s plan and vision doesn’t always include the “best” people; God’s plan more than not includes people who are messed up, who think too highly of themselves, who feel worthless and resort to other sins. God can bring good out of any situation (Romans 8:28), we just need to have patience and allow God the time and space to work.

You are valuable to God. He has a plan for your life. Trust him. Let’s take time this Advent season to get to know God, to know we are valuable and Jesus Christ came for you and me.

Merciful God, you brought life out of the chaos of the waters at the beginning of time. May we be willing to allow you to bring new life out of the chaos we call life. We anxiously, but patiently, wait for the coming of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus who is the Christ. AMEN

Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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