When I was growing up, I used to love lists like we see in today’s Gospel. Genealogies, family trees, all sorts of charts that showed how everything and everyone fit together. I used to especially love to look at the charts of the Greek gods–how Zeus, Cronus, Aphrodite, and all the others were related. I knew that was myth, but it was still amazing to see how it all fit together. Today’s Gospel gives us a chance to see just that–to look at the birth of Jesus, and see how it fits together with everything else that has happened.
The genealogy here is a bird’s eye view of salvation history, starting with Abraham. Not all the parts are pretty. The genealogy reminds us that Solomon’s mother had been the wife of Uriah–whose murder was one of David’s great sins. There are moments of beauty, too–Ruth is utterly devoted to her mother-in-law Naomi, even though Ruth was not a Jew. All of it is taken together, and in comes Jesus. In our own lives, there are moments of great devotion to God, and moments when we act pretty low. When the chaos of Christmas hits next week, we will certainly be aware of the messiness of our lives alongside the joys. But all of it will be taken together, and in will come Jesus.