Today's reading is an appropriate passage for Christmas Eve. It is the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, which provides a genealogy of Jesus from Abraham (when the covenant between God and God's chosen people began). There are a couple of interesting things here. First, the genealogy is broken into three lists of fourteen generations: from Abraham to David, from David to the exile, from the exile to Jesus. This symmetry is meant to prove God's plan throughout history and God's control of history. Second, there are four women in this genealogy (which is odd in ancient times). One is an embarrassment to the family tree (the wife of Uriah, Bathsheba), but the others are women of great faith. Rahab was the woman in Jericho who protected the Hebrew spies in the Promised Land. Ruth has a short book dedicated to her, showing her loyalty. And the last, of course, is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Without these women (and obviously, many unnamed others), our religious history would be very different.