The first questions that we ask others are usually related to their family and where they live. The roots of our family ground us in this world while the leaves of our family trees stretch into the next. Jesus’ family tree details fourteen generations and, like every family tree, Jesus’ tree contains an assortment of characters from the wise and brave to the foolish and the disreputable. But Jesus’ tree is also our family tree—where all are invited, welcomed and loved.

This Christmas, as you are putting up your Christmas tree, take some time to think about family trees and how important they are. Give thanks for those ancestors, both known and unknown, who carried the torch of faith through the ages, and remember them in prayer. As you are putting up your Christmas tree ask yourself how Jesus is a conscious and deliberate part of your family tree?

—Julianne Stanz is a speaker, writer and mother of two, originally from Ireland, and Director of the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay.