Today, the Church begins the Christmas story in the Gospel of Matthew. Incidentally, today is also the birthday of Pope Francis. Happy Birthday, Holy Father! The use of the O Antiphons begin with evening prayer this evening, as our Novena for Christmas begins.
Each day from now to Christmas, with each Gospel reading, we will draw nearer to the account of the birth of Jesus. Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy of Jesus, beginning with the Patriarch, Abraham. Matthew calls Jesus the “son of David, the son of Abraham.” (1:1) because Jesus is the anointed one, the son of man and the son of God.
As we read this ancestry of Jesus, it becomes readily apparent that Jesus has quite a cast of characters in his background. I don’t know about you, but this gives me great hope! For me, today is a great opportunity to give thanks for my own family, and all of my ancestors. In the person of Jesus, “all the tribes of the earth are blessed.” (Psalm 72) This includes my family and each of yours.
Likewise, the psalmist prays that his (the Lord’s) name be blessed forever. This is our task today, to bless the name of Jesus. How fortunate I am to be a part of a family who has recognized our many blessings in Christ, and remain faithful in blessing his name. I’m so grateful for being a part of God’s family, the family of Jesus. I am also grateful for the human family that is such a blessing in my life.
If your family is at a difficult crossroads, know that there were such moments in the heritage of Jesus. Know that each of our families have challenges. It is especially in these moments that we are to invite the presence of God, who humbled himself to take on our human nature. God is near. God is always with us. Let us welcome him once again into our hearts, our homes, and each of our families.