Advent: Included

Who knew the genealogies of Jesus (Matthew 1:2-17; Luke 3:23-28) would remain with me for more than a week?  When I began these Advent reflections I figured I’d write about the women included on Jesus’ family tree and move on.  I should have known better.  Lingering with a text, reading and rereading the words, and allowing my heart to wander and wonder over what I have read gives the Spirit space and time to reveal ways the ancient story connects to life today. If you haven’t read the earlier posts, see Advent: BlessingAdvent: Missing, and maybe even Advent: Where to begin?.Salmon extended family

Only five women are included in the ancestry of Jesus as recorded by Matthew (Luke names none).  Each is an outsider of sorts.  Three were certainly Gentile not Jew:  Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth.  One was married to an Hittite:  Bathsheba (aka the Wife of Uriah).  And then there’s Mary.  None are the usual daughter, wife, and mother.  Nevertheless they are remembered.

Every clan has members like them.  Individuals who don’t quite fit the mold but who make life more memorable.  Unique human beings who add texture to the family story.  Unexpected people with different points of view.

When we let them, they show us other ways of seeing the world.  They help us better understand the human condition.  They may even teach us how to love more deeply, laugh more often, or live more authentically.

I invite you to think about your extended family.  Not just the relatives by blood or formal adoption.  But also the friends who are often like family.  How have they enriched your life?

Look around again, perhaps beyond the circle of family you have named.  Who doesn’t fit the mold but could use an extra friend today?  Is there some small way you can include them this holiday season?

With gratitude for family, Teressa

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