As a boy, I got so excited anytime our dad told us bedtime stories. Whether it was the tale of the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, or the Tortoise and the Hare, I loved the danger of hungry wolves, fuming bears and looming finish lines.

Our early church parents must have valued well-told stories too. While most scholars agree that Matthew’s gospel wasn’t the first written, it makes sense coming at the start of the New Testament. People once believed it had been composed first. It contained a lot of Jesus’ teaching not found in other gospels. It also had a Jewish flavor that helped make it a logical bridge between Old and New Testaments. These are some of the reasons the early church placed Matthew’s gospel first in order among the four accounts. 

What gifts await us in the story of Jesus that begins with a genealogy rich in faith and hope?

—Joe Kraemer, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the California province, is studying philosophy at
 Fordham University.