To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
In you, O my God, I have trusted;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Let none who hope in you be put to shame;
but shamed are those who wantonly break faith.
O Lord, make me know your ways.
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
for you are the God of my salvation.
I have hoped in you all day long.
Remember your compassion, O Lord,
and your gracious love,
for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth,
nor my transgressions.
In your gracious love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.
A Reading from Matthew 1:1-17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king.
David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.
After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations.
Reflection: Pictures of Advent
Last Christmas, my wife, Ann, put together a photo album for two of our recently married nephews and their wives: pictures of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Some of the photos were taken more than a hundred years ago.
With every page, the nephews and their brides asked questions about our family. They wanted to hear the stories (again) about where our folk came from and how they got here. Now starting families of their own, this fourth generation understands that the story in these pictures is their story, that the values and beliefs we hold come from the people in these images.
Today’s Gospel is Jesus’ “family album.” While the accuracy of Matthew’s chronicle of Jesus’ lineage is dubious, the point is that Jesus is the fulfillment of a world centered in compassion and justice, a world God envisioned from the first moment of creation. This vision includes desert nomads and kings, shepherds and farmers, craftsmen and peasants, saints and sinners, men and women. This vision transcends geography and culture and status—and even time itself.
And this vision includes every one of us. If we are parents, it includes our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren. In the Christian understanding, God called Abraham and his descendants to make a “highway” for the Christ. God now calls us to prepare for the reappearance of Christ, each day and at the end of time.
So take some time during Advent and Christmas to remember and celebrate your “genealogy.” Share memories of the “saints” of your family. Tell the story of where you came from—and keep in mind that the love of God is the thread that weaves every family together.
Deacon Jay Cormier
Jay Cormier, a deacon serving in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, is author of The Deacon’s Ministry of the Word, The Advent Wreath: Blessings and Prayers for Families and Households, and editor and publisher of Connections.
Most materials in this Daily Prayer resource are from Give Us This Day, December 2020 – a prayer resource for the Church.