I’ve been enjoying working through the Advent Devotional that we purchased for this Advent season at the church. You can pick up your copy of “God With Us” at the church in the Narthex on the welcome table. We have Advent devotionals for adults and families.

Week one opened with a reading from the Gospel of Matthew, the very beginning, which lists the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. There are 42 generations listed in this opening of Matthew from Abraham to the Messiah. The devotional invited us to reflect on where Jesus came from, the stories of those listed in the genealogy. “There’s Tamar, whose treatment by the family she married into was so unjust she restored to tricking them in order to survive. There’s Rahab, who was cast out by her own people and, in turn, betrayed them. There’s Bathsheba, who survived sexual violence and endured the loss of a child. And there’s Ruth, who left her home when it became a place of grief and famine.” There’s stories of struggle and scandal, and also stories of eventually thriving.

As we read these stories and reflect on this genealogy, we’re invited to hear our own stories within these stories of scandal, of struggle, and even in our home stories of joy. As I’ve reflected on this text and the questions the devotional invites us to think about, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary, the mother of Jesus. In what is called the Magnificat in the Gospel of Luke, often referred as Mary’s son, Mary sings that from now on, all generations will call her blessed. While Jesus had no children that we know of, as children of God, we are all siblings of Jesus. As Mary’s song names, we are part of the genealogy of Jesus that continues. We’re part of this story, and our stories are carefully woven into the stories of struggle, of scandal, and stories of incredible joy. There are so many others who stand in solidarity with us when we go through times of grief, struggle, pain, and in moments of joy. That brings me incredible hope in this Advent season, an Advent season in a world that’s broken. Maybe it can bring you joy and hope, too.