In Part I of this series, we looked at the all too perfect Christmas play that focuses on the moment of the manger. The moment of the manger is where all gather in perfect harmony—Joseph, Mary, shepherds, wisemen, and a porcelain baby wrapped in a fleece blanket.
But we interrupted that idyllic setting to remind ourselves that the manger scene is really the story of the struggle of one family: Abraham, and the promise that through his family, all the families of the earth will be blessed.
So, it’s not surprising that the New Testament starts a new story with genealogy, the recounting of the generations to Jesus. If we stopped there, we might as well celebrate Abraham’s family for their achievement—the generations to Jesus.
But family is never an end to itself. It’s not just about a manger.
Jesus said it himself, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
What’s the point? We can elevate family to some wrongful position. Family can become our end. It can become our god—family as a fun, happy place where we all get our needs met. If that were the case—family as the chief end of man—Jesus might well have said, “The time is fulfilled, and my family’s time has arrived…”
But he didn’t. He placed the Kingdom as priority. Family fits into the Kingdom as an element of the Kingdom. It is not the Kingdom. Put differently, the role of family is to encourage and point the members of the family to “repent and believe” as part of the original mandate in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply.
Manger. Family. Kingdom. The Christmas story.
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Published December 12, 2022