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I recently took the plunge and signed up with Ancestry DNA.  Growing up I was led to believe that in some way I am related to Johnny Appleseed and Williams Bradford on the Mayflower. I also had family members trace our roots back to Scotland on my father’s side and Germany on my mother’s side.  I hope to see if any of that is true or not. So far, I have traced back 5 generations to a David Mathes from Warren, Tennessee.   As we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth it is interesting how the gospel writers approach his beginnings.  Mark jumps in with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with no mention of heritage.  Luke gives us the angle’s announcement to Mary and the Bethlehem journey. John takes us back to the very beginning of beginnings – the time before Creation.  It is Matthew who begins his gospel with Jesus’ earthly linage going back 42 generations to Abraham. (To be fair Luke includes it too, going back to Adam).  It has been a rare occasion that you hear all the “begets” in sermonic form this time of year, although it does happen.  Roots matter.  Heritage is important.  And for the gospel writers, led by the Holy Spirit, it was important to the Lord to make sure that Jesus’ heritage is on display for the world to see.  His linage back to King David was of great significance since God had promised David that his kingly linage would never end.  Matthew includes notable non-Jewish women Rahab and Ruth, as well as those with unethical choices like Tamar and Bathsheba.   Humanly speaking, Jesus’s heritage was filled with sinners, but he was without sin.  The wonder of the incarnation is that His divine and holy heritage was not corrupted, but due to the miraculous virgin conception he remained perfect while being born into an imperfect world with an imperfect human heritage. Being truly God and truly man he is able to identify with our weakness and provide the way to be made righteous and able to stand in His grace before a holy God.  I am thankful for my heritage.  I am more thankful for the One who came and redeems us of all our past and provides us a new heritage in God’s family. – Dr. Gary Mathes