“David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife.”
Bathsheba, aka Uriah's wife—the last of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 as part of Jesus' bloodline. Lets just say from the beginning, Bathsheba gets a bad rap.
If you know the story, you can skip this paragraph. If you don't--Cliff Notes version. King David hangs out at the palace while the other men go off to war. He sees a beautiful woman bathing. He summons her and sleeps with her. She gets pregnant. Oops. As a last ditch effort, David has her husband killed in battle, marries her, and believes it's all covered up happily ever after. Like that ever happens.
It seems like we can't bring ourselves to say that King David could commit anything so heinous as he does, though we have plenty of evidence both in Scripture and in our own lives to prove that good people can do rotten things in the name of self-interest.
So often, commentators and scholars dole the blame out to her, as if bathing on your own house was just asking for the king's salacious attention. (Times have not changed, in far too many ways, ladies. Sounds like a familiar argument.)
The simple fact is, we don't know. We don't know if she was a willing participant in adultery or if David exercised his kingly privilege to take any woman he wanted. We don't know if she adored her husband and mourned his death. We don't know if she had a happy content life or if she coveted the higher plane she got. We don't know anything.
Perhaps it's right that she's mentioned in Matthew only as “Uriah's wife.” She is the beautiful but invisible woman, whose life is played with and altered by those around her rather than under her own control.
Aren't there Bathshebas all around us? Girls working in sweat shops as young as eight? Fourteen-year-olds branded by their pimps as property with which they do what they please? Wives and girlfriends locked in abusive relationships because they fear an unknown alternative? If you don't think so, think again. It's right in front of you, and you're not seeing it. In the hallowed “Christian” upper class suburbs around where I live, it's far more common than we want to believe.
But what about the lesser slaveries? Girls who believe their bodies have to look like Victoria's Secret posters in order to be wanted? People who have made so many mistakes they believe there is no road back? Women who are convinced by various conflicting doctrines of their culture that they have to be submissive, aggressive, young, working, stay-at-home, sexually “free,” obedient—anything and everything but what they feel in their God-gifted souls they were created to be.
We are all slaves of what we choose to listen to. And so many have lost the ability to hear the message God spoke into their souls when He created them.
I'm sure Bathsheba did. The despair she must have felt at the loss of her old life, her husband, and her child must have crushed all belief that her life would ever be her own.
Of course, the message of Christmas is that it isn't. It never was. But when it's given to Christ, it's returned in fuller form that we ever imagined. The baby born under the star gives us birth as well.
Bathsheba is included in the list because she had to muster the ability to begin again. And beginning again is the Christmas specialty. It's what Jesus came to explode into our lives. The chance, the vision, the flat-out non-theoretical capability, to start over. From wherever you are. To have control of your life—just as soon as you turn it over to the only One who wants to set you free.
“How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born in us today.”
Be born in us. No matter what our mistakes. Regardless of what has been done to us. Despite any and all circumstances of our past. Be born in us, and let us be born again.
Not a cheesy, televangelist born again. Real, sweat and tears, labor and screaming, born again, away from all the hell of the past and toward the promise of the future.
It's the promise. It's yours. You just have to ask. Because it's Christmas.