I recently went to a Christmas dinner that was to have a devotion before the meal. When the host asked if I would be one of the readers for the Scripture portion, I casually agreed. Not a big deal, right? It’s most definitely part of the Christmas story. Well, I was right, sort of – the passage was the very beginning of Matthew: the genealogy of Christ!

The pronunciation of biblical names is not my strong suit, and worse, it was not the beginning of the genealogy like Isaac, Jacob, Judah, etc. but verses 7-9. But wait! There’s more! It was a devotion and Bible translation in Spanish:

7 Salomón, padre de Roboán;
Roboán, padre de Abías;
Abías, padre de Asá;
8 Asá, padre de Josafat;
Josafat, padre de Jorán;
Jorán, padre de Uzías;
9 Uzías, padre de Jotán;
Jotán, padre de Acaz;
Acaz, padre de Ezequías;

Cue instant, crippling anxiety. I was about to tell my husband that this would be a great time to drive to Canada for Christmas, but he didn’t miss a beat. He was not at all convinced that I was going to die from embarrassment (of which I was sure). He looked at me, and in total tranquility encouraged me to read slowly and to help out the host. He also mentioned that it was actually better that it was in Spanish, because the vast majority of the Spanish language is phonetic.

So I read. And I’m alive.

The whole situation fit right into the Christmas story. God has a great will for his people, and he delights in using us to bring it to fruition. Sometimes the opportunities to serve others are presented in really unexpected ways, but he loves us the same whether we respond with anxiety or with grace. Our Father reassures us at times by speaking through those around us, whether it’s an angel telling Joseph to go ahead with his plans or a whispered encouragement at a dinner table about Bible names. My prayer for us is that we see God’s love for us in the ways he includes us in working out his good will, and that we seek his peace in those moments as we do our best to respond.

Feliz Navidad!

Megan Armendariz
Megan is the administrator at Holy Cross. She is originally from the Chicago area and went to college in Wisconsin and in Seville, Spain. She is bilingual in Spanish and loves to teach ESL here at Holy Cross for N. Dallas Shared Ministries and WILD Wednesday. She and her husband Francisco love to travel, try new foods, and cheer on their favorite teams.