Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daily Advent Devotional for Nov. 29 2011

Each year I begin my Advent Celebration with daily devotions for a trusted source. I want to share these with you to enhance your Christmas Season. I hope you will join me often during the next 27 days as we share our daily Advent devotionals:

Your Daily Advent Devotional
November 29, 2011

The Genealogy of Jesus

Matthew 1:1-17

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah....

My Great Aunt, Celia Belle Yoder, keeps our family history. She's ninety-five years old but sharp as a tack and shows no signs of slowing down. I went to visit her a few weeks ago. We spent an hour together as she walked me through our family genealogy. She's a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she can trace our family history back at least four hundred years. She tells me of well-known circuit-riding preachers who started churches a hundred fifty years ago, about Civil War soldiers, and about pioneers on the Oklahoma prairie. She wants me to know who I am and where I came from.

We begin this book of reflections about the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus precisely where Matthew begins the story--with the genealogy of Jesus. Scholars agree that Matthew does not give us a complete genealogy. He gives us just the highlights that he thinks are important. I've included only a portion of the genealogy above, but I would encourage you to read all seventeen verses. Most people just skim them when reading Matthew, but there are important things to notice.

Here are a few of them: First, Matthew's genealogy is a summary of nearly the entire Old Testament, from Genesis 11 to Malachi 4, capturing the stories of the patriarchs, the Israelites' slavery in Egypt, and the exodus from Egypt to the promised land; there is David and Solomon and the divided kingdom, the destruction of Israel and the exile of Judah, and finally the return from exile. Here's the point: Jesus' birth is the climax of this entire story of God's relationship with Israel. Jesus is the end to which the entire biblical story was moving.

It is also often rightly noted that Matthew's account of Jesus' genealogy is nearly unique in that it includes five women. Putting women in a genealogy was not unheard of in the first century, but it was unusual. Who are these women, and what do they tell us about Jesus?

Tamar, the mother of Perez, played the role of a prostitute in order to have children after her husband died. Rahab, listed as the mother of Boaz, was a prostitute when she first entered the biblical story. She was also a foreigner. Then there was Ruth, who, like Tamar, was a widow and, like Rahab, was a foreigner. Bathsheba is mentioned next. She was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, which means that she may have been a foreigner, and she was an adulteress (or the victim of rape) at the hands of King David, after which David had her husband killed. She too was a widow. The last of the women mentioned in the genealogy is Mary, a peasant girl whose life we will examine in greater detail in the next reflection.

When my Aunt Celia Belle tells me our family's history, she describes pioneers, soldiers, and preachers. When Matthew tells Jesus' genealogy he lists two prostitutes and an adulteress, women who were outsiders. Matthew is, in this genealogy, pointing us toward Jesus' identity and mission. Jesus would bring hope to the widow, mercy to the sinner, and good news not just for the Jews, but for all humankind.

Lord, thank you for your love of those whom others see as second class. Thank you for showing mercy to the sinner and compassion to the brokenhearted. As I begin this season of Advent, help me to see you more clearly in the stories surrounding your birth. Amen.

Excerpted from: The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem - Devotional Book
by Adam Hamilton

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trunk and Treat 2011 Revisisted

On Monday October 31 we held a revised version of Trunk and Treat at our church. Due to the bad weather we were able to move the event into our Worship Center. Special appreciation to Pastor Jordan and wife Alana for making this such a great event. They enjoyed "skating" around during the time with the children.

I also enjoyed watching Jacob Hartsell display his artistic abilities as he took request from children and then carved the pumpkins to their design.

Of course he needed some assistance from three great guys to "hallow" out the pumpkins and prepare them for carving.

I thought you would like to see some of the final work:

Not all of the work was a little "spooky" Someone made a special request. Can you guess what it represents?

You got it!! Pumpkin Pie!

I was amazed by the Mickey Mouse



What I did not get pictures of was the bounce house and the tables filled with candy and chips. In the foyer a great team of workers came to provide food for the parents. Dave Cogan made a great display of hot dogs with condiments. Mike Stroupe was there with the popcorn machine working overtime. Rodney Rhoades arrived early and the Connection Cafe' provided coffee, cider and other snacks. This event was blessed by many people giving their time and efforts - Thanks!

A man came up to me in the foyer and noticed his young daughter smiling and having a great time. The man commented how much he appreciated the fact that when other churches in the area cancelled their Halloween alternative events, he was so glad that we held such a great and fun event. I am so thankful for those in our church who consistently display a servant spirit.