My Father, God!
But in the course of searching out more recent family history I discovered some cousins that I had had never known, and about whom no one had ever spoken—two young boys in one family who had died young.
Genealogies are interesting, revealing, and sometimes even important. So they were in the time of Christ. Matthew begins his gospel, a message particularly directed to the Jews, by reciting the genealogy of Christ in order to prove a direct line back to Abraham, the father of the nation (Matthew 1:1-17).
My genealogy doesn't give me the right to claim anything but belonging! For Jesus, His genealogy allowed Him to make a much more important claim. The Messiah had to come from a particular line, had to be from a special and specific part in the history of the nation. It was every Jewish woman's hope to be the mother of the Messiah that God had promised His people. Matthew wanted to set the record straight from the beginning as he told the story of the birth and life of Christ—Jesus came from the right family tree.
While my place in my family tree doesn't entitle me to an inheritance of any kind, it does entitle me to belong. I was born into the family.
But there is an interesting twist to the story. The list that Matthew gives us traces Joseph's family tree and Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph. He was Mary's biological son, and adopted by Joseph into his family. That adoption put Jesus on the same footing legally as any other children who would be born to Mary and Joseph—all the rights and privileges of a son. He was a part of the family.
This paints an extraordinary picture—and how wonderful of God to show us, right from the beginning, through the birth of His own Son, what He was going to do for us.
You see, when we come to faith in Christ, we too are adopted into the family of God. Paul writes to the church in Galatia: "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out 'Abba, Father.' So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God made you also an heir" (Galatians 4:4-7).
We are given, by God's divine choice, a right to the same inheritance that His own Son, Jesus, is entitled to received. Romans 8:14-17 says: "...those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you again a slave to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
So when believers celebrate the birth of Christ, we celebrate the birth of our Big Brother. We celebrate Him because He is family. We also celebrate Him because He made it possible for you and I, when asked the name of our Father on any official document, to write, "God."