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Saturday, December 17, 2005

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Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Psalm 72
Matthew 1:1-17

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decorating the family tree

"A family record of Jesus Christ..." —Matthew 1:1

Many people have now set up their Christmas trees and have displayed them in a prominent place, visible to all. They carefully decorate the tree, filling in the thin spots so as to present a beautiful and attractive tree. The Church, likewise, begins its Advent grand finale by setting its Christmas "tree" in a prominent place. This tree is Jesus' family tree. However, the Church does not hide the ugly spots in this tree.

Jesus' family tree has prostitutes such as Tamar (Mt 1:3), adulterers like David (Mt 1:6), murderers like Manasseh (Mt 1:10), fools such as Rehoboam (Mt 1:7), and many nondescript unknowns. Jesus, however, does not hide the black sheep in His family. He loves His "family record" (Mt 1:1), and does not omit a single person. The Lord makes a statement by beginning the New Testament with the names of His family members. It's as if He can't wait to introduce His family to us, so precious are they to Him. This long list of names may not mean much to us, but every one of these individuals is precious to Jesus. And why should this surprise us? Don't many of us pull out the picture albums and family tree records at our Christmas gatherings?

Rejoice! Once you were no people (1 Pt 2:10), but now you have been "grafted in" to Jesus' family tree (Rm 11:17). You are adopted into His family (Rm 8:15). Every time you see a Christmas tree, think automatically of Jesus' family tree, and how you are the "branches" (Jn 15:5). Be a fruitful branch (Jn 15:8), and bring honor to your family name, the name of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, You have included me in Your family! Use me to bring many thousands of people into our family.

Promise:  "In Him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim His happiness." —Ps 72:17

Praise:  "O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, You govern all creation with Your strong yet tender care. Come and show Your people the way to salvation."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

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