Today's Lectionary Text
and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
which means, “God is with us.”
Happy New Year, what is 2020 going to bring? Well as some of us may be aware there is a lot of doubt, uncertainty, and fear. We think about what the outcome of General Conference 2020 in May might be. Matthew 2:13-23 also is an example of fear, doubt, and uncertainty for Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. The Wise men, Magi, three kings, whatever you want to call them left after sharing gifts, and the message they had heard about Jesus. Then Joseph is warned to pack up and leave immediately for Egypt. How were they going to make ends meet, who did they know in Egypt, where were they going to live. I am sure all of these thoughts came to mind as Joseph did as he was told. But deep down he listened to the messenger, he led his family to safety, and he continued to be a parent.
I can’t say I know what it likes to be a parent, but I do know that a parent will do almost anything for their children. They will definitely do anything to keep their children safe. I know that God too cares about all of us and that means we too are called to care about one another. So, while we may not know what the outcomes will be after GC 2020, we can live into what God has called us to do. Share the good news with great joy that a savior has been born in the city of David. One image that has continued to be stuck in my head is from the Advent study The Gift of the Nutcracker. Rev. Matt Rawle says this in his book, “this why God put on flesh and was born in a lowly manger…. Jesus is God up close.” God up close…. we all have an opportunity to remember that the birth in the city of David changed it all for every person that hears the message.
So, as we start this new year let us all commit to loving one another, let us put our trust in God, and let us continue to share the Good news of Great Joy that the birth of Jesus brought into the world. Each year starts with new and fresh opportunities and as we think about our new year’s resolutions let us be willing to step outside our comfort zones and listen to one another.
-Rev. Jeff Goetzinger
Little River and Mitchell Chapel UMC's
 Matt Rawle, The Gift of the Nutcracker (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2018), 69.
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, as we start this new year may your peace come down and reside in your children. May that peace give us opportunities to build bridges over the division, let us always remember that we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ called to proclaim Jesus’ message to all the world, Amen.
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