Photo: December 2018 Honorably Retired ministers luncheon
When I was much, much, yes MUCH younger, I would speed read (okay, I admit it, I’d skip over) the better part of Matthew’s first chapter. All those names! Good grief, I’d think to myself, get to the good part. “…they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.”
As time as passed though, I have come to value the history and remembrance of those who came before, before the good and not so good parts of our personal and collective stories. And for some reason, it is this particular season that lends itself to this practice.
My family insists on sharing hard cider and almond nougat on Christmas Eve because our great-grandmother from Spain always served it. Stories are told about Christmases past of long gone friends and family, their struggles and their triumphs. Our personal story of immigrating to this country is usually retold and inevitably, one of our elders will look at the youngest generation and remark what a long way we have come.
And though we may wax a little too nostalgic sometimes, we are centered by the truth of who we are today, what we are doing, and how God has continued to be faithful throughout the generations.
At different times the church is also called to lift up its own “genealogy of saints”, those on whose shoulders we stand upon today. This recognition can provide us a snapshot of where we have been, the challenges faced, how we navigated them, and how God has remained faithful in each season. I believe it also gives us the blessing to sit up and take notice of who we are today and the journey we have traveled together.
“…they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.” That has never, nor will ever change. May this Advent season provide you and your congregations with the gift of celebrating all that has been and rejoicing in anticipation of all that is yet to be.
In grace and hope,
Rev. Eliana Maxim
Associate Executive Presbyter