Homily for Christmas Eve – “A God who keep His promises” - 2018
Dearly Beloved, like many of you, I still have memories of Christmas while growing up and one figure that stands out from my childhood Christmases was my Dad. There was this tradition we followed; after school goes on recess and exam scores are given out, whichever of my siblings who was top of their class, received the “drum-stick” of the chicken killed on the 25th and 26th. After the 26th, we would travel to his village to see family and celebrate the New Year. Many of the family members who lived in the cities would all come to the village. It was a yearly routine. Among other things, the occasion brought the extended family together. I grew up knowing many of my cousins. Those families who were quarrelsome and those who were peaceful. Different individual characters yet the same big extended family. How about you, what’s your family like? Who are the ones you like and who are the ones you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with ever again?
Dearly Beloved, through the gospel of Matthew, the family tree of Jesus is presented to us. Matthew writes this genealogy to prove to skeptical Jewish minds, and most importantly our generation, that Jesus was truly a legitimate descendant of Abraham and David. The Messiah, Emmanual – God who has come to save the world.
You might think that Matthew, a good and devout Jew, would do his best to paint the best picture possible of Jesus’ ancestors, to show that not only was he the coming king, but that he came from good stock. However, the names in Jesus’ ancestry, represent a cross section of humanity, in all its glory and shame. Behind every name is a story. Some did great heroic things, some did despicable things, some did both. But you know something? We’re all like those people in Jesus’ family tree: some good, some bad, and most in between.
• Abraham twice lied that his wife was his sister so that he would not have to fight for her.
• Isaac did the same thing, saying that his wife was his sister, and then was caught snuggling up to her.
• Jacob was a flat out cheat and swindler, his name even meant “He struggles.” He lied to his father, cheated his brother, and ripped off his father-in-law.
• Judah sold his own brother into slavery and slept with his daughter-in-law, thinking that she was a prostitute.
• Rahab was a prostitute.
• Ruth was a Gentile from a despised country.
• David committed adultery and then had the husband of the woman killed.
• Solomon allowed his wives...and he had a bunch... to worship false gods.
• Rehoboam split the nation of Israel in two with his harsh ways.
-Manasseh, even sacrificed his own son to an idol, among other detestable things.
All of Jesus’ descendants were very human with very human weaknesses, some worse than others. I’m sure that every family has skeletons in the closet that you would like to keep there, but in Jesus’ case, their deeds are right there in scripture for all the world to see. • It shows a God who worked through ridiculous people to save you. Learn not to resent the people in your life. They are part of God’s plan bringing you to your destiny. I, therefore call on you to rise and reach out to anyone who, for some reason, regardless of what happened, or who is at fault and are not in good talking terms, be connected to somebody you have given up on a long time ago. Things may never be the same, however, you need to maintain peace with all others.
Consider all that these individuals; Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Mary etc., had to go through in their days. Yet God used all the events in their lives to honor his promise. • It shows a God who worked through ridiculous circumstances to bring about his plans for your life. Learn not to grumble and give up when your life gets tough for you. God is able to use every event in your life to accomplish his great plan.
Again, look at the number of generations before this promise came to be fulfilled. • It shows a God who was willing to go to ridiculous lengths of time to keep a promise. You may be thinking, time is not on your side considering what needs to be done for you to live the life of your dreams. Learn to trust in a God whose time is always the best. In the fullness of time, He sent his son born of a woman.
Beloved, Christmas is a time of great hope. A time of great faith in God to do what He has said He will do. Take a moment to be proud and happy that you serve a God who keeps His promises no matter what!
Friends, let us celebrate. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”