Monday, November 28, 2016

Devotion 11.29.16

I've begun to enjoy genealogy in recent weeks.  What began late in my mother's life really began to bloom after a family reunion with my dad's family in Minnesota.  I was familiar with my dad's genealogy because that part of my family has been around all my life.  The Baldner family is very German with my grandfather's parents (my great-grandparents) being the first generation born on US soil in the 1870s.  My paternal grandmother was the first born in the US in 1900 after her parents landed in the late 1890s from areas in Europe that no longer exist but are part of today's Germany.

On my mom's side?  Who knew?  A series of tragedies comprises my mother's early life.  Born on April 16, her dad (my grandfather), was taken in an oil field explosion in East Texas on April 17.  My mom wasn't even sure he had learned of her birth that spring day since phone calls were spotty at best.  Not long after my mom was born, her sister died of leukemia and then her mother was taken by uterine cancer.  So, the Farris family (my mom's maiden name) was nothing I could identify with because they were gone.

After weeks of looking, though, I've been able to trace their history in Central/East Texas beginning around the same time as my dad's family settled in Minnesota.  The Farris family is Scottish/English and my grandmother's family (Birge) came through Louisiana, Mississippi and Scotland/Irish descent and settled in Texas in the late 1800s.  Farming drove the Baldner family and farming drove the early Farris/Birge families, but as you read the census reports in the late 1800s, you see the impact of oil on their occupations stated on the US Census.

As I've learned more about my mom's genealogy, I've been interested in meeting people I never knew, and I'm comforted in many ways.  First, it means I'm at least a fourth generation Texan.  That in and of itself gives me a certain sense of history.  Second, with their migration from Europe and occupations mentioned, I'm fairly certain the they weren't slave-holders.  It looks like both sides of the family were working men and women, but not large property holders with farms so large that the families themselves couldn't handle the work.

Genealogy is important to us.  We learn of it at the very beginning of Matthew for the Christ, who meticulously details his genealogy in the first 16 verses of chapter 1.  Why is that so important, as we begin the observation of Advent, for Christ's lineage to be so detailed?  Luke notes that prior to his birth, Mary and Joseph have to go Bethlehem (the city of David) "because he was of the house and lineage of David" (2:4).  Cleary the need to link Christ to David was important to those making the case he was the Messiah, who was to come from the lineage of David. 

We prepare in Advent for the coming of Christ.  Certain of his lineage, we await our coming Messiah to return in triumph for believers.  Pray that we spread the good news of the message of Christ so that others may believe and prepare with us.

Hope Men's Ministry

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