The Family Christmas Tree

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“I AM the Vine, you are the branches…” (John 15:5)

“Christmas is not about being with people you like. Christmas is about being with family!”
–Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, Home Improvement

I love the family the Lord has put me in.  In fact, I like my family (most of them). And I think most of them like me. Unfortunately, like many of you, I have family scattered all over so occasions like Christmas are nigh unto impossible to get us all together. But this year…this year…I’m thinking differently.  For the first time in, like, ever, I am going to enjoy the whole family tree under one roof, at one time, together and intimate.

And here’s how I’m going to do it. One word: genealogies.

The story of Christmas is familial. The two gospelers that leave us with the record of Christ’s birth also include His family tree. Matthew’s gospel shows us the line of Christ giving Him legal right to the Throne of David through his earthly father Joseph.  Luke’s genealogical record solves the sticky case of a cursed bloodline by showing Christ as also coming through the untainted lineage of Mary. Long story short, if Christ had only come through Joseph’s line, He could not have sat on the Throne with Divine favor–even though it gave Him legal right to it–because of a ‘little’ problem back there with Jehoiachin (see Jeremiah 22:24-30 and Matthew 1:11,12).

God “got around” this pothole by birthing His only begotten Messiah Son through a virgin who also came through the lineage of David. Here stands Yeshua Hamashiach, with legal and Divine rights to the everlasting throne. A king (Jehoiachin/Jeconiah/Coniah) almost messed up the Christmas ‘Tree’ but a virgin sealed the deal!

Which brings me to my Tree.

Genealogies are quite the rave these days.  And quite enthralling, especially when someone else has done all the legwork!  I found myself sitting before a computer screen for two hours less than twenty-four hours ago, sorting through names and histories, marveling that the records of my family on my mother’s side go all the way back to the mid-1500’s, housed in the loins of one Rychard Medley who lived in the mystical land of Great Tey, Essex, England. We emigrated to the New World on November 19, 1700 on the sea-sturdy legs of John Medley, my grandfather-times-seven, a 19-year old single man with undoubtedly a vision and a plan.   

My family tree shakes out veterans of the Revolutionary War whose service in the military awarded them $28 annually, a Confederate soldier or two from the Civil War, and the daughter of a Cherokee Chief named “Whitesides” presumably after a sheer cliff with (you guessed it) a white side the Indians said looked like a sheet of ice. The princess’ name, by the way, was Morning Dove.  Isn’t that sheer poetry?

Allow me one short anecdote about Dove’s husband Joseph, my great-great-great-great grandfather, but only because very little information is supplied-and because this makes me giddy with delight. In 1838, some 14,000 Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed from their homes in North Carolina and Georgia and sent on a long march to the west, a nightmarish journey that saw thousands of men, women and children die on the Trail of Tears. Tragically, this is one of the saddest blights on our heritage.

Out of the gloom steps Joseph Medley who, in his mid-50’s, went to the defense of one of his wives’ relatives as they were being sequestered, and was brutally attacked and killed by knifepoint.  His widow lived another 46 years remembering fondly her loving husband’s kind sacrifice. I tell you, I went to bed feeling positively rapturous to be part of such a broadly adventurous and enduring family.

I think I can make a case that I go all the way back to Adam but I really want to keep him buried and forgotten if you don’t mind. My faith family-not my bloodline-has kings and prophets, queens and judges and champions. Apostles and revelators. Martyrs and Preachers. Missionaries and sainted mothers. It’s a rich heritage, I tell you! Pick through the branches and you’ll see some amazing ornaments of grace: a fully converted prostitute, a woman gloriously delivered of seven (count ’em!) demons, a pagan king whom history regards as one of the fiercest and cruelest finally bowing to the reign of Christ. And on and on it goes. And grows.

“You are the branches,” Jesus said. Let those words settle for a grace-filled moment.

Indecorous you.

Unlikely me.

He’s telling us He has a Family Tree and we are in it! It’s not some Charlie Brownish pathetic sapling. It’s…organic. Majestically brilliant. Inspiring awe.   

While it seems almost laughable to me that Rychard Medley, my grandfather-times-eleven, and I are separated by over 450 years, we are together in the same moment of time by blood. Just so, six thousand years of human history, translating to who knows how many God-followers, and each of us joined to Him at once, sharing in His Life, ever green and glorious.

He in us, we in Him, trimmed, pruned,  decorated and lit.

Shine on, O Tannenbaum!

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10 thoughts on “The Family Christmas Tree

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onThe Family Christmas Tree « Green P@sturesHere’s a quick excerptThe story of Christmas is familial. The two gospelers that leave us with the record of Christ’s birth also include His family tree. Matthew’s gospel shows us the line of Christ giving Him legal right to the Throne of David through his … […]

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  2. darla says:

    A glorious family tree indeed..the Holy Tree in which we are the branches..not because our family tree is spectacular, but because we have been grafted in by the Gardener, of the Holy Tree. I stand in awe..

    (BTW- my geneology shows I come from a line of train/bank robbers.. LOL glad my family gave that up! we are working people now. 😆 )

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  3. Jerald says:

    Wow, Scott. I had no idea you were so FAMOUS! I guess we’ll just have to think up an appropriate Indian name for you now. Maybe, “him that fall off cliff and live to tell about it,” or something like that.
    One thing though, I’m so glad I’m related to you – if not by our own blood, at least by the blood of the Lamb.

    Blessings Scott. It’s wonderful to read your words. You have a way with them, you know.

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  4. brotherjohnny says:

    Incredible.
    Bro, I know I’ve said this before, but you really _should_ write a book.

    You are gifted, my friend.

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  5. darla says:

    Okay..I think you have neglected me long enough. I miss you! where are you and what are you doing , mister. Hope all is well, praying for you, I really do miss you.

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  6. pasturescott says:

    Hey JT, yes, you have been one who has inspired me so I have been working on two (my reasoning is, the publishers oughta at least give one of ’em a few seconds of their time!). Peace over you and yours, my friend. His graceflow cascading over the shingles of your home and head. Oh, and John LOVES the community! Our LORD relishes seeing His kids walking in Truth…bless you for walking it out!

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  7. pasturescott says:

    Darla, I’m just playing my own version of ‘Where’s Waldo’. I could never neglect, forget, snub or delete my true Sis in Christ! Any kidding aside, I remain your humble friend, amazed by your commitment to community. You challenge me (in the right and good way). You inspire and refresh me. Shalom over you. He who has you engraved in His Palm delights in you. May the burdens of today roll off and His JOY reign with spasms of delight in your inner man. Love to you!

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  8. darla says:

    you are harder to find than Waldo..but if I am patient and wait in one spot…namely this one…sooner or later you appear! 🙂

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  9. Jorie West says:

    I stumbled upon your post quite by accident. It was interesting so I kept reading, only to discover that we are related. I know this story. My grandfather is John P. Medley. I would love to hear more. God bless you, cousin.
    Jorie Medley West

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    • pasturescott says:

      Jodie, I am so delighted to meet you here! And family to boot! I really enjoyed looking at your blog, reading about your ministry, beliefs, etc. What a blessing to not only be in the same earthly family but to be even closer in God’s eternal family!!

      Please visit again, Jorie. I look forward to more of our “conversations”. I know I’ll benefit from hearing more of our family history from your perspective.

      God’s blessings always!

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