I know that list of names can be daunting to process. It might be hard to figure out the reason we even proclaim it. But I love it! It always strikes me that this list of characters, which is basically the human family tree of our Lord, is so much like any of our families’ history. Forty-two generations of the pilgrim people Israel led by people of greatness, and, well, people of something else. Some of them were heroic like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah and to some extent David and Solomon. But some of them were pretty wicked, especially Manasseh, whose wickedness in shedding innocent blood incurred God’s wrath such that he allowed the Babylonian captivity that took place during Jeconiah’s reign. So we have forty-two generations of saints and sinners, great men and flawed men, all leading up to the Incarnation of Christ, who was the only remedy to the cycle of sin that spiraled all through the story.
Today we begin the more intense period of Advent that extends from December 17th through the morning of Christmas Eve. During this time, the Liturgy leads us to yearn all the more longingly for the presence of Christ. Just as forty-two generations of a mix of wisdom and foolishness could only be remedied by the presence of Christ, so the foolishness of our time calls for that same remedy.
And we don’t have to do all that much imagining to see the foolishness of our own time, do we? All we need to do is turn on the news and see the sad folly of those we have elected. Or we can log into social media and see the antics of people famous for being famous, or read hateful rants by internet trolls. We can also bring to mind our own foolishness, the sin in our lives. We too need the coming of Christ to put an end to our foolishness.
During these last days of Advent, we pray the “O Antiphons,” from which we derive the verses in the Advent Hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The verses are also used during Evening Prayer. Today’s is “O Wisdom,” and the verse from Evening Prayer is “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care: Come and show your people the way to salvation.” We trust the governance of God, the Creator of creation, to satisfy our longing for wisdom with the presence of the Incarnate Christ.
Come, Lord Jesus and bring us peace. Come, Lord Jesus and put an end to the world’s foolishness. Come, Lord Jesus and bring us your Wisdom. Come quickly and do not delay.