Old Testament reading: Genesis 1-2
God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:40). Genesis, the book of beginnings, begins with God and the creation week. Genesis 1-2 is historically important because denies the false notion of an “ancient” earth. The Genesis record is clear concerning a six day creation. Moreover, the same Moses who wrote Genesis 1-2 also wrote Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” If God was not trying to teach us that He created the world in six literal, 24-hour days, what else could He have said to make it any clearer? Genesis 1:1 is also biblically important as it gives meaning and perspective to the phrase “the beginning” as used elsewhere in Scripture (cf Matt 19:4; John 8:44). If Genesis 1 cannot be taken at face value, the creation of the home and the fall of Adam and Eve have no historical value or context.
New Testament reading: Matthew 1-4
Like our other reading, this text is both spiritually and historically important, for in it we are formally introduced to the subject of all Scripture: “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew’s genealogy is not exhaustive, but is given to show Matthew’s Jewish audience that Jesus is the seed of Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and the seed of David, the Messiah who would come bringing salvation (cf Psalm 132:11-18; Acts 2:29-36). Also, every time we see or write a date, we should be reminded that time and history are measured according to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. A quick reminder: Most folks know that B.C. means “before Christ,” but many mistakenly think A.D. means “after death,” referring to the death of Jesus. A.D. is short for Anno Domini, a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord.” In recent years, unbelievers have begun using the designations BCE and CE, meaning “before common era” and “common era.” However, no matter how hard they try to get away from Jesus, they are still measuring time according to His birth! When I see these, I just think of BCE as meaning “before Christ’s era” and CE as meaning “Christian Era.”