I must have gotten my love for Christmas from my grandmother. She loved Christmas and she loved having her family there. In my childhood we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at her house. The family gatherings, the food, the gifts, the decorations, all these things embedded a love for the holidays in my life.
After my siblings and I grew up and had families of our own, it of course affected her holiday gatherings. In her later years, because she loved family so much, she began studying her genealogy. On the one or two occasions a year I would get to see her, she would update me on what she had found that year. There was always an interesting character she would talk about and you could just see the twinkle in her eyes as she would tell story after story from the history of her family.
My grandmother passed away years ago and I’ll see her one day in heaven. But when I do I have a question for her. You see, since she passed away, I have learned about some family secrets that I didn’t know. I want to ask my grandmother why she didn’t mention certain people in the family tree. I’m also curious as to why my grandfather’s first brief marriage was never mentioned. When my cousins get together every once in awhile, sometimes there is a new “Did you know about …” that surfaces.
Secrets. We all have them - chapters in our lives we hope nobody finds out about. You went into marriage with a few chapters in your life you hope your spouse never discovers. You took your current job with some things in your past you hope your employer never finds out. There is an event, a night, a financial dealing, perhaps a spring break that you just as soon would stay buried in your past and have no one find out about.
I have good news for you. Christmas is for you. Christmas is for people who have a secret. In the lineage of Jesus was a secret keeper. Judah was one of the 12 sons of Jacob who God chose to be in the lineage of Jesus. For 22 years he kept his secret of selling his brother Joseph into slavery from his father. For 22 of Joseph’s birthdays when his father relived it all over again, Judah never said a thing. He never confessed and never gave in. For 22 years he never broke.
Because of his secret, Judah lived his life wondering when God was going to get back at him. When destiny brings him face to face with his brother Joseph again, he thought for sure God was bringing the hammer down. But instead, Judah finds himself in front of a brother he had wronged, totally forgiven. And God decided to use Judah, not Joseph, to bring the message of salvation into the world. It’s because those are the kinds of people it’s for.
You may feel alienated from God because of your secret. But God does not feel alienated from you. Do you know why? Because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas He sent a Savior to remove everything that alienated mankind from Him. When Jesus died, He died for your secret. And God used a secret keeper to be in the ancestry of Jesus the Messiah in order to let you know your secrets don’t have to keep you from God. Do you have a secret? Then Christmas is for you.