In about a week Christmas will be here. As with Advent, it is a time of waiting. Children are waiting for Santa. Christians are waiting for the birth of the Savior. All of us are waiting for someone to arrive this Christmas.
Matthew opens up his Gospel (Matthew 1:1-17) with 41 names that are hard to pronounce and seldom read. It is the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph, his foster father. Abraham was called by God to move and to go to another place where he would receive a unique inheritance. Abraham obeyed and went even though he did no know where he was going. Because of his faith in God, even though he was an older man, Abraham became a father. From this one man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
Today Abraham is the spiritual father of half the world, including Jews, Muslims and Christians. Matthew begins the genealogy of Jesus by connecting him to Abraham. Bruce Feiler in his book on Abraham says, “Abraham holds the key to our deepest fears and our possible reconciliation.” This man that God chose as a partner holds the key to what is tearing us apart and killing us despite our all being children of God.
In a world where we continually talk about terrorists, ISIS, Jihad, and wars that never end, what would happen if Christians, Muslims and Jews marched together to Mount Hebron where Abraham is buried? In the presence of Father Abraham’s grave, representing half of God’s children, the three faiths prayed:
“We are all family here. Families may not always agree, but they fare better when they refuse to fight. So let us here in the bosom of Abraham, lay down our weapons, and say to all the world that we have more to gain by being brothers and sisters to one another, than we do in killing one another. We, Children of Abraham, have more in common than we have apart. Let us honor our Father Abraham and God our Father by bringing peace into our one family here on earth. Amen”.