Luke 2:4 NIV
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.“
Because he was of the house and line (or lineage) of David…As I read this verse today, just one word dropped in my heart: family.
And I know that at Christmas time especially, the thought of family can evoke all sorts of emotions. Whether it be wonderful, comforting memories, or whether family touches some very tender places in our hearts and perhaps even conjures up feelings of pain or hurt. In most cases, it’s probably a mixture of the two.
There’s parts of family we would say resemble the bright colorful packages wrapped under our trees. But then there are parts of family there are more like a lump of coal. Some of us may be looking forward, with great anticipation, to spending time with family over the holidays. And others may be panicking, while anxiously coming up with a 3-step program of how to make it through some of those family visits. (I kid, I kid.) Whatever the case may be, there’s probably aspects of family we would never change, and there are others we wish looked completely different.
But here’s what I felt led to focus on today: When God chose what family line to birth Jesus into, He didn’t look for perfection. It wouldn’t have existed. He was okay with choosing one that was woven with seemingly conflicting threads of color. Dysfunction and godliness, failure and success, love and hate, loss and redemption. (And that’s what ours look like too, right?) But yet He intentionally chose to “move into the neighborhood” as the Message Bible says (John 1:14), to come and dwell with us right in the middle of it all. And not only that, but when the time came for Jesus to be born, God actually used the family line Joseph came from as the very thing that would move him into position – exactly where he needed to be – at just the right time, so that Jesus could be born where He was supposed to.
God sees our family lines through a redemptive filter.
Regardless of what it’s been comprised of to this point, regardless of what it may even appear to look like right now. And I think this holiday season, whether our family situation is good or on the edge, we can all afford to adjust our vision a bit and ask God to help us see things the way He sees them – redemptively. And I believe that as we do that, as we choose to draw out and focus on the good instead of the bad, and maybe even stir up a new level of hope for what can be, it will redefine our experience and it will reshape what family looks and feels like this Christmas.
There probably will be times our thoughts are tempted to keep going back to old patterns, but I leave you with what Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Friend, take comfort in knowing that God is and will be right there in the middle of it with you. And consider – He may be using something like your family line to get you exactly where He needs you to be.