“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” I have always loved this quote from Lilo and Stitch; it’s so perfect and beautifully stated. This should be true for all families, but this, sometimes, is simply not the case. There can be real pain and deep hurt that comes from the brokenness of our families. We are sinful, messy people who try to love other sinful, messy people. The result of our imperfection is divorced parents, estranged siblings, and distant grandparents. This is embarrassing and emotional to talk about, but please know that you are definitely not alone. Everyone has a messy family. So how does this even remotely relate to Advent and the coming of Christ? I am so glad you asked! Looking at the genealogy of Jesus’ family and the extreme brokenness and mess that it was, we will see how God was faithful to this lineage despite the sin. We are going to focus specifically on the women who are in Jesus’ genealogy because women were traditionally never included in the lineage. However, Jesus’ lineage includes not just one woman but five women. To fully understand the perfection of Christ’s birth, you have to look at the brokenness of His family.
“and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar” (v. 3)
In Genesis 38, we find Tamar being tossed from marriage to marriage. As Jewish custom, when a woman’s husband dies without a son, she must marry the brother of her husband to conceive an heir. Tamar’s husbands were wicked, so they continued to die. Tamar was left with no husband and no son, which meant destitution and shame in her time. Judah was the father of the men she had married. In order to conceive a son, Tamar prostituted herself to Judah and had twins. This is pretty messed up, if you ask me; but, it is through Tamar’s son Perez that Jesus’s line continued.
“and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab,” (v. 5)
Rahab was from Jericho, the city that Israel destroyed by walking around it seven times. Rahab was the city prostitute (Joshua 2). That was her job and how she survived; but she had kept the Jewish spies safe when they were in Jericho. Therefore, God spared her when the city crumbled, and she became a part of the family of Israel. She went on to marry a man named Salmon, and they had a son named Boaz.
“and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth,” (v. 5)
Boaz married a widow named Ruth. They met when Ruth was gathering wheat for her mother-in-law and her to eat because they had lost everything. Ruth was from Moab and had married a Jewish man. Her husband and most of his family died during a famine. Ruth was left with her mother-in-law to provide for and love. She moved to Israel, trying simply to survive in an unknown land. Then she met a man who cared for her, and she boldly asked him to be her husband. He said yes, and she entered into the line of Jesus.
The Wife of Uriah
“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah” (v. 6)
Although not mentioned by name, we know from 2 Samuel 11 that Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah. This is the woman who committed adultery with King David. This led to the death of her husband and the child who had been conceived in sin. She ended up marrying King David and having another son. This son was Solomon, one of the greatest kings in all of Israelite history and in the line of Jesus.
“and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.” (v. 16)
This leads us to Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was just a young girl who trusted God to keep her safe when she became pregnant outside of wedlock. This was a sin punishable by death in Israelite society, but she chose to have faith instead. This resulted in the birth of Jesus.
Why are these women included in Jesus’s genealogy? To show us that He esteems and values women; to reveal that every family has brokenness but that He offers restoration and redemption. Tamar prostituted herself to her father-in-law, but God gave her justice for the sin committed against her by giving her two sons. HE heals our hearts. Rahab was a prostitute by profession, but because of her faith, her life was spared and she entered into God’s family. HE gives us life. Ruth was an outsider and a beggar, yet God provided her food and a godly husband. HE is our sustainer. Bathsheba slept with a man who killed her husband and resulted in the death of her first born, but God blessed her with another beautiful baby boy to love and hold. HE is our lover. Mary was a small town girl with a lot of faith, and God gave her the gift of carrying Jesus. HE is our Savior.
These stories and these women are meant to paint a picture. We are messy. BUT God loves us despite our mess. He used broken, imperfect people to bring the Savior of the world to Earth. His family’s sin made His perfection shine so much brighter, and Jesus is the only One who can bring true healing. During this Christmas season as you have to deal with crazy relatives, rest in the grace and redemption Jesus offers you. Live as a redeemed woman. Give Him your family issues and stresses. Let Him restore you and fill you with hope. He loves to work through the mess.
Father, You know how messed up my family is. You know the hurt and pain that I have experienced. You know how hard it can be around the Christmas season to love my family. I know that You had a messy family too. You understand me. Only You can heal my heart and bring healing to my family. Help me to cast my burdens on You. You love me so much that You sent Jesus into this messed up world to save me. Thank You. May You be glorified through my messy family.