December 17th the Advent season begins to focus on the infancy narratives, New Testament readings taken from the gospels of Matthew and Luke that deal with events immediately leading to the birth of Jesus. For the next week, they’ll prepare us for the celebration of the Christmas feasts.
Matthew and Luke do more than trace his Jewish ancestry back as far as they can go. The evangelists want to show to their gentile and Jewish readers that Jesus has worldwide roots; he’s not just a Jewish Messiah, though David the King is there. His ancestors were exiles in Babylon as well as part of successive Jewish dynasties in Palestine. He had foreign blood from women like Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba, all of whom have something questionable about them. Tamar became a prostitute to win Judah’s favor; Ruth honored many gods, Bathsheba was sexually involved with King David.
In his humanity, Jesus did not come only from Jewish royalty; he’s rooted in all humanity; he has the blood of saints and sinners. He shares our DNA. He has “taken to himself our humanity, may he be pleased to share with us his divinity.” (Collect)
“Behold, the Desired of all nations will come, and the house of the Lord will be filled with his glory.” (Communion antiphon)