January 1: Beginnings
Genesis 1–2; Matthew 1–2; Ecclesiastes 1:1–5
In the beginning, God subdues the greatest symbol of chaos in the ancient world: the waters. He also creates light—something that the ancients thought ruled everything. Even darkness, which they deeply feared, is now ruled by Him.
The ancients were in the middle, asking, “God, where are you in the midst of this chaotic world?” He answers them with a story about beginnings. In this story, we find that God establishes order in a chaotic world. He rules other gods. He rules the light. He rules the night. It’s as if God said, “Why are you afraid? I’m here. I’m working it out.”
Matthew 1–2 gives us another beginning—a child born in humble circumstances. But it’s through this child, Jesus, that the world itself was first created. And that’s not all: in Him and through Him everything is brought together. Chaos is made orderly: “Because all things in the heavens and on earth were created by him … and he himself is before all things, and in him all things are held together” (Col 1:16–17). If we want to truly understand our origins, we need this frame of reference.
Like the ancients, we too are in the middle. We worry that evil and chaos will reign, but we must let Christ take control. He can bring order to our unruly lives. We need a new beginning. In Genesis, God wants us to see Him taking back what He created—and that includes us.
What chaos do you fear? We often feel in the middle, but our beginnings suggest that
Christ is holding everything together. What areas of your life need God’s order? Where do you need Christ to step in and hold together?
JOHN D. BARRY
- In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the waters. Then God said, Let there be light: And there was light. And God saw the light that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the Light, Day, and the darkness he called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Again God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. Then God made the firmament, and separated the waters, which were under the firmament, from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament, Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. God said again, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land, Earth, and he called the gathering together of the waters, Seas: and God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to separate the day from teh night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. God then made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day,a nd the lesser light to rule the night: he made also the stars. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven, to shine upon the earth, And to rule in the day, and in the night, and to separate the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Afterward God said, Let the waters bring forth in abundance every creeping thing that hath life: and let the fowl fly upon the earth in the open firmament of the heavens. Then God created the great whales, and everything living and moving, which the waters brought forth in abundance according to their kind, and every feathered fowl according to his kind: and God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, Bring forth fruit and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.Moreover God said, Let the earth bring forth the living thing according to his kind, cattle, and that which creepeth, and the beast of the earth according to his kind, and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to his kind, and the cattle according to his kind, and every creeping thing of the earth according tohis kind: and God saw that it was good.Furthermore God said, Let us make man in our image according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creepeth and moveth on the earth. Thus God created the man in his image: in the image of God created he him: he created them male and female. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Bring forth fruit, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the bish of the sea, and over hte fowl of the heaven, and over every beast that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given unto you every herb bearing seed, which is upon all the earth, and every tree, wherein is the fruit of a tree bearing seed: that shall be to you for meat. Likewise to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the heaven, and to everything that moveth upon the earth, which hath life in itself, every green herb shall be for meat, and it was so. And God saw all that he had made, and lo, it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. For in the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and the seventh day he rested from all his work, which he made. So God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were created, in the day, that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. And every plant of the field, before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field, before it grew, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, neither was there a man to till the ground. But a mist went up from the earth, adn watered all the earth. The Lord God also made the man of the dust of the ground, and breathed in his face breath of life, and the man was a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden Eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had made. (For out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree pleasant to the sight, and good for meat: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and of evil. And out of Eden went a river to water the garden, and from thence it was divide, and became into four heads. The name of one is Pishon: the same compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where is gold. And the gold of that land is good: there is Bdellium, and the Onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same compasseth the whole land of Cush. And the name of the [third] river is Hiddekel: this goeth toward the East side of Ashshur: and the fourth river is Parah) Then the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, that he might dress it, and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Thou shalt eat freely of every tree of the garden, But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: forin the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death. Also the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be himself alone: I will make him an help meet for him. So the Lord God formed of the earth every beast of the field, and every fowl of teh heaven, and brought them unto the man to see how he would call them: for howsoever the man named the living creature, so was the name thereof. The man therefore gave names unto all cattle, and to the fowl of the heaven, and to every beast of the field: but for Adam found he not an helper meet for him. Therefore the Lord God caused an heavy sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in stead thereof. And teh rib which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man. Then the man said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shal be called woman, because she was taken out of the man. Therefore shall man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed. Genesis 1–2
- The book of the genration of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac. And Isaac begat Jacob. And Jacob begat Judah and his brethren. And Judah beget Perez, and Zerah of Tamar. And Perez begat Hezron. And Hezron begat Ram. And Ram begat Amminadab, And Ainadab begat Nahshon. And Nahshon begat Salmon. And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab. And Boaz begat Obed of Ruth. And Obed begat Jesse. And Jesse begat David the King. And David the King begat Solomon of her that was the wife of Uriah. And Solomon begat Rehoboam. And Rehoboam begat Abijah. And Abijah begat Asa. And Asa begat Jehoshaphat. And Jehoshaphat begat Joram. And Joram begat Uzziah. And Uzziah begat Jotham. And Jotham begat Ahaz. And Ahaz begat Hezekiah. And Josiah begat Jakim. And Jakim begat Jeconiah and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were carried away into Babylon, Jeconiah begat Shealtiel. And Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel. And Zerubbabel begat Abiud. And Abiud begat Eliakim. And Eliakim begat Azor. And Azor begat Zadok. And Zadok begat Achim. And Achim begat Eliud. And Eliud begat Eleazar. And Eleazar begat Matthan. And Matthan begat Jacob. And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, that is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David, are fourteen generations. and from David until they were carried away to Babylon, fourteen generations: and after they were carried away into Babylon until Christ, fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus, When as his other Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought thse things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, the son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her, is of the holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. And all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which is spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is by interpretation, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep, did as the Angel of teh Lord had enjoined him, and took his wife. But he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first born son, and he called his name JESUS. When Jesus then was born at Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came Wise men from the East to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is the King of the Jews that is born? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him. And gathering together all the chief Priests and Scribes of the people, he asked of them, where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, At Bethlehem in Judea: for so it is written by the Prophet, And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah, art not the least among the Princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come the governor that shall feed my people Israel. Then Herod privily called the Wise men, and diligently inquired of them the time of the star that appeared, And sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go, and search diligently for the babe: and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come also, and worship him. So when they had heard the king, they departed: and lo, the star which they had seen in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over the place where the babe was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with an exceeding great joy, And went into the house, and found the babe with Mary his mother, and fell down, and sorshipped him, and opened their treasures, and presented unto him gifts, even gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And after they were warned of God in a dream, that they should not go again to Herod, they returned into their country another way. After their departure, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in dream, saying, Arise, and take the babe and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be ther till I bring thee word, for Herod will seek the babe to destroy him. So he arose and took the babe and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt. And was there unto the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled, which is spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, seeing that he was mocked of the Wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently searched out of the Wise men. Then was that fulfilled which is spoken by the Prophet Jeremiah, saying, In Ramah was a voice heard, mourning, adn weeping, and great howling: Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not. And when Herod was dead, behold, an Angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the babe and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the babe’s life. Then he arose up, and took the babe and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: yet after he was warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee. And went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophets, which was, That he should be called a Nazarite. Matthew 1–2
- The words of the Preacher, the son of David king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher: vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What remaineth unto man in al his travail, which he suffereth under the sun? One generation passeth, and another generation succeedeth: but the earth remaineth forever. The sun riseth, and the sun goeth down, and draweth to his place where he riseth. Ecclesiastes 1:1–5