On the 1st Day of Christ-mas!

On the 1st Day of Christ-mas!

Bonus Time! Here’s a Christ-mas epilogue, the last of Doug’s 12 Days of Christmas.Thank for joining me on this ride,  a storybook tour at the intersection of the song, the children’s game, tradition, culture, and Christ-mas. If you’ve missed a few, check your in-box from yesterday, or ping
[email protected]. Today, on “The First Day…,” it is not about a partridge, or The Partridge Family, or pear trees anywhere. It’s about that First Christ-mas!

This past weekend, the 50th anniversary of Franco Harris’s famous “Immaculate Reception,” one of the most famous plays in all of football history, reminded me of a question. If you’re like Denise and I, who weren’t raised in overly religious homes, the importance of the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception, may not be so obvious or easy to understand. Even if the story is beautiful, what was the purpose? Simply stated:
 “What’s the big deal about the Virgin Birth, and why is it so important?”
Michael Ord was one of 50,350 in attendance at Three Rivers Stadium for the Steelers’ first-round playoff win against the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 23, 1972. It was their first playoff win ever. To celebrate the win, Ord and his girlfriend went to a local sports bar. Having grown up Catholic, he remembered the feast of the Immaculate Conception, climbed up on a table, banged a glass with a spoon, and bellowed, “I would like to, from his day on… refer to this day as the feast of the Immaculate Reception.” And the place went bonkers. A woman who was there called the TV station, was patched through to the stadium press box to local Steelers TV personality Myron Cope, who quickly checked with the bishop for approval, then used the term on his TV sportscast that night. It stuck and has become a part of history.

Another narrative – one that has stuck for over 2000 years – is the Biblical account of the Immaculate conception, resulting in His birth to a virgin on that first Christmas day. It was miraculous for, well, its miraculousness. More profound, perhaps, is the reason it had to happen that way.
For the baby Jesus to have grown up, died, and resurrected on that first Easter, and for it to have mattered on our behalf in the currency of heaven, He had to have lived a perfect life. Everyone else that had descended from Adam had eaten of forbidden fruits of many kinds. In fact, the ancestral line of Jesus (according to Matthew’s gospel) included outsiders, outlaws, scoundrels, and sinners. There were murderers, adulterers, liars, cheaters, gossips, plotters, prostitutes, multiple ethnicities, and mixed ethnicities. They were rich and poor, of the faith and not of the faith, men and women, kings and peasants, and many of the marginalized in all parts in between. (Commercial note: If you’d like to learn more about this and other kewl stuff from the Bible, our Zoom groups start next month: 7 weeks, one hour each, start and end on time.)
Had Jesus descended from the line of Adam and an impure genealogy, He would not have been qualified to be the Perfect One who sacrificed all for us, who covered our sins with His perfect life. His lineage as the Son of Man signified that all are welcome in God’s kingdom. His purity as the Son of God made Him eligible to cover our sins on that cross, a story we’ll discuss in a few months at Easter.
Franco Harris passed away this past weekend. Steeler fans still love him, Raiders fans still insist they were robbed, the rest of the football world fondly remembers him as a miracle worker on the field and a fine ambassador off the field. The baby Jesus grew up and passed away, His body was gone from the empty cave, and two versions of that story also exist to this very day. There are those who believe His story was at least a falsehood and at most a nice myth. Others believe in the miracle of His birth, and life, and death, and resurrection.  I’m glad Christmas gives us a good chance to reflect and remind ourselves of the glory of the story and the hope it brings us as we head for a new year.

Merry Christ-mas,
12th Day…
…Good morning aviators, 12 points of the Creed.
11th Day…
…Baker’s miracle, 11 faithful disciples/learners.
10th Day…
…Ten Commandments, actually just two.
9th Day…
…Laker Girls, 9 fruits of the Spirit.
8th Day…
…The Sermon on the Mount, 8 Beatitudes. 
7th Day...
…Swans are graceful, as are those who use their Gifts for good
6th Day…
…He Created the first six days, then rested.
5th Day…
…Belt it out! The First Fiiive Books of the Bible.
4th Day…
….Four perspectives/camera angles of Christ.
3rd Day…
…Three Great Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Love.
2nd Day…Part I
…The Impossible Mission: God came here!
2nd Day…Part II
…The Old and New Testaments tell one story.
1st Day…Part I
…The Grand Finale: One Solitary Life
1st Day…Part II
…The Immaculate Conception Miracle!
Brian Wells, Speaker
VP, CEO Forum
Co-Founder, Crossroads Church

Wednesday, Jan. 11, Rookwood Pub
6-7:15 p.m.

Chattanooga, TN

Kirkland, WA
Burbank, CA
Santa Clarita, CA
Noblesville, IN

Divorce & Beyond:
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June 25-30, 2023
August TBD

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Bob Lynch, Treasurer
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