The True Joy Of Christmas
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Christmas is that time of year when our thoughts turn to our families. Families are one of God’s great gifts to mankind, however, they can sometimes be messy. Much has been written recently about disfunction and the deterioration of the nuclear family. Every family seems to have a black sheep. Does yours? Maybe you or I are, or once were, the black sheep in the family. Christmas brings hope, peace, and healing from past wounds. I invite you to read more.
In the early years of television, many of the families were presented as near perfect families. Shows like Ozzie & Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, My Three Sons, The Brady Bunch, and The Waltons all tried to portray idealistic families.
All in the Family ushered in a brand-new view of family life. Sex, politics, race relations, women’s liberation, bigotry, and bias all made there way to the screen. The depiction of dysfunctional family life was set in motion.
The late 70s and 80s made one final attempt to give us some semblance of what was considered normal family life with shows like, Eight Is Enough, Family Ties, and The Wonder Years. Racial diversity appeared with shows like the Jeffersons and The Cosby Show, which attempted to portray black family life. In time, we saw even more racial diversity with families of all ethnic backgrounds.
Eventually, Hollywood pushed family life into a whole new frontier with shows like Roseanne. Soon shows like The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Modern Family were dominating the ratings. Nothing about these families bears a resemblance to the pioneer families of television.
So, with all of these shows to choose from, which one most accurately depicts “normal family life?” Is there such a thing as normal family life? Which one of these shows most resembles a Biblical family? More specifically, which one looks most like Jesus’ ancestral tree? Finally, which one looks like your family tree?
We don’t have to look any further than the beginning of the New Testament. Chapter one of Matthew’s Gospel gives us the genealogy of Jesus. I can assure you that many of the characters in His genealogy look more like the those depicted in The Modern Family than those depicted in Ozzie and Harriet.
Jesus’ family tree reveals a long line of dysfunctional people. Tamar was one of Jesus’ more scandalous ancestors. In Genesis 38, she dresses up as temple prostitute and seduces Judah, her father-in-law, to sleep with her and he fathers a son.
Rahab was another of Jesus’ interesting relatives. Her story has similarities to Tamar’s except she didn’t have to pretend to be a prostitute. She ran a brothel in Jericho. And of course, we all know about the antics of King David. Not only did he have an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, but he sent her husband to the font line of battle to be killed.
Human dysfunction is vividly displayed throughout the Bible, in fact, it was amazingly evident in Jesus’ family tree. Normally we try to distance ourselves from the black sheep in the family or if they were people in the past, we pretend like they didn’t exist. Matthew, on the other hand, put dysfunction front and center. Why do you suppose he did that?
Before I answer that, let me add my own story. Just a few years ago, I tracked down my biological history through Ancestry DNA. I was not surprised to find some broken limbs in my family tree. There was plenty of family intrigue going on. In full disclosure, I have added my own share of mistakes to that history. I have struggles and sins littering my past. In fact, this ministry was born out of my brokenness.
Why have I spent so much time highlighting family dysfunction? Because it is part and parcel of the human experience. If you have caused or experienced discord and dysfunction within your own family, then Christmas should be a time of hope.
Matthew’s Gospel gave us a litany of broken individuals, but it doesn’t end there. He rapidly shifts the focus to the birth of the Christ Child. To experience the true joy of Christmas, we also need to shift our focus to the Messiah! Jesus is the pure white, unblemished lamb, who came into the world on that first Christmas Day. God gave us the gift of His Son to save us from our past. He is also our source of comfort when family strife exists. That is where our thoughts should be as we kneel before His manger on this Christmas day.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son. You saw all of this dysfunction in the human family and you knew we were incapable of saving ourselves. You gave us your only Son on that first Christmas Day. Lord, I place my faith and belief in Him as my Lord and Savior. Amen!
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
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Thank tou Brian. I loved the Messages. Hoře that you had a wonderful Christmas and your new year is filled with the blessing of joy
Thank you for your post.
Thank you Brian for putting our dysfunctions in the enduring human context, even that of Christ’s family.
Brian; This was an especially interesting letter and very appropriate for this time of the year. I wish you and Mary Beth a very Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Regards! Jim Meersman’s
Thank you for your post and kind thoughts. May you and Kathy and your family be blessed with the joy of Christmas. Hopefully we will be able to see each other in the New Year.
Thank you for your steadfastness to this ministry and your love for Him and sharing the Word with the world… the Lord has and continues to use you in a mighty way! We love you and His work through you. Blessings to you and Mary Beth this Christmas and to your family and flock.
Doug and Susan
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Doug you are, and have always been, a great example to me of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. You are a true Christian husband, father and friend. Thank you as well for your commitment to share the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am blessed by your friendship.
I read your article in the Dec Catholic News & Herald titled, Divide et impera and have been reading your blog since. Thank you! Your words are so relevant this Christmas season.
Thank you for your post and for your readership. I wish you a Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas Brian to you and yours!!
Christmas Blessings on you and Mary Beth. Maybe 2021 will be a good year to see you both again. If not know that you are in our prayers for good health for you so you keep up your ministry, you are s weekly blessing to us.