"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . . God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." - Genesis 1:1, 31
The opening words of Matthew present us with a list of names in the family line of Jesus. Some readers skip over such lists, seeing them as boring or only filled with names that are hard to pronounce. The gospel account of Luke has a list of names like this too. These lists are selective genealogies of Jesus—and in them God is saying, “See, I have kept my word; the promised Messiah and Savior has come through my chosen people.”
The list in Luke includes many names that are different from those in Matthew, possibly because Luke lists the ancestors of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The list in Luke is also longer than the one in Matthew, going back all the way to the beginning, to connect Jesus with God himself. This helps us see that the story of salvation—indeed, the story of the whole world—is really all about God. God created a good, amazing world, only to have it scarred by sin because our human parents disobeyed (Genesis 3). But God did not sit idly by. He set out to redeem and restore his world—including us!
From the beginning, God planned to renew us through his Son, Jesus. And when Jesus, the Savior, was born in Bethlehem, God’s plan took a major step forward. So as we look ahead to celebrating Christmas, let us join with the angels who announced Jesus’ birth, singing, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14)!