Matthew opens up his Gospel with these words:
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers …
and then we get more generations of name that begin with Abraham. A significant Christmas word, and perhaps the most neglected one, is Abraham.
Abraham means covenant — and we think here of Genesis 12 and 15 and 17 and 22.
Abraham also means the community of faith — Abraham is the origin of the people of God and the entire work of God through a community.
But the reason why Abraham is a Christmas word is because Abraham is used by Matthew to teach that Abraham is the father of many nations, not just of Isaac and Israel but of “many nations.” When we see Abraham, we see Gentiles.
Today we can reflect on the world-wide expansion of the covenant community, the Church, and we can think of Abraham. He believed God and was justified. That, as the apostle Paul will show, opens the gospel to Gentiles on the same basis as the Jews.
Matthew, too, will both begin his Gospel on the note of the universal offer of the gospel and will finish the Gospel on the same note (Matt 28:16-20). Abraham stands for one through whom God would bless the whole world — and he was and he is — and Christmas shows it.