Christians set aside Advent as a season of preparation to welcome Christ coming to us in the birth of Jesus, in Word and Spirit, and in final victory. This Advent, let a journey into the legacy of the Holy Stranger prepare you to join in God’s work of radical welcoming.
We root this series in a closer look of Matthew 1:1-17, a genealogy of Jesus the Messiah. The Greek word from which we get "genealogy" is genesis, and so we see in these ancestors of Jesus the Messiah the genesis, the beginning of God's saving work. We see God at work in the lives of immigrant ancestors like Abraham, Judah, Rahab, and Ruth, among others, whose legacy prepares the way for the Holy Stranger who comes to us in Jesus.
Throughout history, ancestry and bloodlines have been used as a tool for harm, oppression, power, and separation. This often-overlooked text shows that Matthew turns this tool on its head: if the world uses genealogies to prove pedigree, status, and proof of blood purity, Matthew makes sure to include details that show the pedigree of the Messiah subverts convention, lifts up the less powerful, recognizes the power and faithful leadership of women, and welcomes the foreigner.