It’s Christmas eve and I’ve been enveloped in a cloud of love. It doesn’t even seem right to call them my in-laws, because being with them is so natural and right that I easily consider them family. No sub-category needed.
And if there were no other gifts this year, I would complain not. For the sweet gift of family is like your last, big gift that gets hidden in the garage, the one that takes you on a scavenger hunt through the house, leading you to the one big kahuna that you didn’t even know you desired.
Believe it or not, this makes me think of the story of Rahab, which I am soaking up in literature form via Christian novella author, Francine Rivers and her five-book series, A Lineage of Grace. While the author adds fictional scenarios and dialogue not found in the Bible, she adds an emotional depth that helps me understand why God chose to capture the stories of certain women in the pages of His Word. She also adds cultural significance that helps me understand what it was like to be a woman in those days. It was entirely different from today! Women had little control over their future. If a king wanted a beautiful young woman to be his call girl, he could take her. But after that, her reputation and her future were tarnished forever, leaving her with few survival options other than prostitution.
Well despite her profession, Rahab was a brave Canaanite woman who came to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead of worshipping the gods of her people, she chose a different heritage (like Tamar and Ruth). Not only did she choose to defend and protect the Hebrew God, the Lord used her faith mightily. She saved the spies that were sent into Jericho, and as a result, saved the lives of her family and her future.
After that brave course of action, and following the fall of Jericho, do you think the Israelites accepted Rahab and her family as if their own? Or do you think they held it against her that she was formerly a prostitute? Formerly a Canaanite, a woman of Jericho?
I bet some battled. The self-righteous, perhaps. But I bet there were others who took Rahab in like a princess, spotless in God’s sight, washed anew by the blood of the Lamb. Like them in every way, with a past marked by sin and a future set with hope. She wasn’t a step-sister or an in-law. She was the real deal. A sister, a daughter. Covered by God’s grace.
As I think about the grace that God has wrapped me in, I am humbled and broken, but alive in Him. We try to refocus Christmas away from gifts but really, that’s what Christmas is all about. The best-ever gift of all. The day Love came down to save us.