Luke 2: 4 “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.”
The reason Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus birth was because they had a linage that traced back to King David. Their heritage affected their life.
This idea caused me to start asking a few questions about my husband’s Christian heritage. After asking a few clarifying questions of our relatives, I have decided Todd has a wonderful Christian heritage that includes, Billy Sunday and Nate Saint—yes, I am name dropping.
It starts with his great Grandfather, Andrew Jackson Smith, on his mother’s side. He was a rough man, known for a quick temper and not afraid to fight.
Back when Grandpa was a boy, Billy Sunday came through Iowa. Andrew Jackson and his brothers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (this is for real), decided to go to the tent meeting to break it up.
Before they got around to their disrupting, they found themselves listening. During this unexpected interest, God spoke to Grandpa asking him to become a follower. Andrew Jackson refused. He told God he would follow Him when he was forty, but he wanted to have fun first.
Somewhere in Grandpa’s fortieth year he found himself dying in a doctor’s office. He had been dragged behind a team of horses and had developed blood poisoning from manure being scrubbed into his raw flesh during the episode.
As he lay in his weakened state, God spoke again, “Remember what you promised?”
“Yes,” Grandpa answered, “I remember and if I live, I will keep that promise.”
The story says he went home well the very next day.
Grandpa packed up his family the following Sunday and headed to church. The promise he made, affected his life. His roughness didn’t totally leave him; now he was rough and tough for Jesus. He claimed he had to speak up, so he did.
All the neighbors were aware of the change too. It was obvious since at 8 p.m. every evening Grandpa would pray with a loud voice out an open window. As odd as this may sound, it was because of this practice that the “beer distributor” neighbor was saved shortly before Grandpa’s death.
From this one man I found record of at least twenty preachers or missionaries. That number does not show the faithful farmers, teachers, nurses and carpenters. Another twenty to thirty served faithfully in their communities and churches.
Todd’s Grandparents, P.K. and Lucille Myhre (Andrew Jackson Smith’s daughter), were two of these missionaries. P.K. built transmitters for HCJB a Christian radio station in Ecuador. They served alongside Nate Saint, who took Todd’s Grandfather on a flight over the jungle where the Huaorani settlement was. Before the tragedy that took Nate’s life, grandma served with Nate’s wife as a teacher in a local school.
Todd’s parents were also missionaries. They lived in the United Arab Emirates for ten years. Their ministry continues here in the states by reaching out to those others overlook.
Now, my Christian heritage is short. My mom became a believer when I was around twelve years old. I surrendered my heart five years later at seventeen. So, my Christian heritage is just beginning, but what potential it has.
Registering in Bethlehem may not be a part of our families Christmas this year, since there isn’t a decree and we are not from the lineage of David. Yet, I will pray that our heritage does affect future generations. By pointing our children to Christ, we can look forward to see how God will use them. Todd and my actions at present will be fueled with the hope that in a few generations our lineage will be full of Matthews, Marks, Marys, Marthas, Peters, Pauls, Esthers, and Saras.