On The 2nd Day of Christmas… A Cliff-Ramp-Moto-Knievel-Base Jump?!!

Welcome to another of Doug’s 12 Days of Christ-mas, 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 Doug@doughowe.com. We’re almost down to #1, but today I’m borrowing from The Eagles, and Yellowstone, and doing just Part I of “The 2nd Day of Christmas…” What does Mission:Impossible 7’s “scariest,” “biggest risk we’ve ever taken,” and “most prepared-for stunt ever attempted in movie history” have to do with Christ-mas and the 12 Days? Ah, it’s worth this few paragraphs today.

Christopher McQuarrie (Director) says “we’ve been working on this for years.” Tom Cruise trained for a full year to something he’s “wanted to since I was a little kid.” In preparation, he did 500 skydives and 13,000 motorbike jumps, and crafted the master plan for the expert technicians, skydiving coaches, skydiving cameramen, ramp-builders, motocross pros and coaches, computer trajectory trackers, GPS coordinators, drone camera builders and operators, and base jump guides to pull off a stunt where Cruise himself is the stunt man speeding a bike off a cliff in Norway only to ditch the bike, bail in mid-air, free fall down a gully, deploy his chute and finish the stunt with a base jump to land safely and live to protect the world another day.

What does this have to do with the 2nd Day of Christmas? Well, the two turtle doves didn’t stand for friendship (we’ll address the Home Alone 2 clip tomorrow!), but they stood for the beauty and accuracy of the Old and New Testaments. When the children were playing the game, doing the rhymes and memorizing the truths of the Christian faith, they learned about these gathered scrolls that came together to form the absolute and sublime miracle that is the Bible we have access to today, in book form and in easily readable and searchable digital Bibles.

The Old and New Testaments were written over 1500-ish years, by 66 authors, later organized into 1189 chapters containing over 31,000 verses. Authors include kings, prophets, heroes, businessmen, a doctor, an accountant, military leaders, a tax collector, and even some who are unknown. Biblical writers include almost every type of person: wise and foolish, faithful and treacherous, rich and poor, sinners and saints, innocent and guilty, kewl and un-kewl, young and old. It has history, poetry, law, biographies, songs, poems, letters, and predictions. Written in three different languages in various places over the centuries, it all tells one story that points to, depicts, reveals, and reflects on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes, He, the Christ of Christ-mas. And, what many people do not know is that from a literary and textual point of view, there are more reliable transcripts, copies, protections, reliabilities, re-proofs of its accuracy and copies in print than any other document ever, yes even compared to, say, Plato, Shakespeare, or Dante. (Commercial here: If you’d like to know it better and more practically in the New Year, ping me to join one of our convenient, chill, and productive Zoom groups.)

Tom Cruise had been wanting to pull off this stunt since he “was a little kid.” He called it “far and away the most dangerous thing I’ve attempted” and explains that he and the filmmaking team, including writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, have “been working on this for years.” According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Aaron Couch, “Cruise trained for a year doing 500 skydives and 13,000 motorbike jumps” to prepare for the stunt, which was captured on day one of principal photography, and Couch says it feels “genuinely scary watching him do this.” You can learn more about it here and see a nine-minute trailer for it here. But before you do, please remember this:

The Old Testament included multiple, specific, and accurate predictions and promises from God through His prophets that Jesus would come, and the New Testament (written by different writers in different times and languages) reported, affirmed, and confirmed what was predicted with an accuracy that would even make Nostradamus blush. Our faith in the Christ of Christ-mas is well founded, appealing to our left brain’s need for intellectual proofs that drive our purpose and ambitions as well as our right-brain’s aspirations for love, life, and relationships.

Kudos to McQuarrie, Cruise, jump coaches, engineers, cameras, key grips, gaffers, foleys, artists, prop-masters, assistants, and all who have worked on a scene that is already driving the marketing for a movie due next summer. But the ultimate and eternal kudos are more, more, more due to the One we worship a Christmas, as God planned His entrance into the world since the beginning of time, only did it once, stuck the eternal landing, and our response to it has ramifications for all time and eternity.

Continued best of blessings this Christ-mas season, and thanks again for coming along this ride with me. See you tomorrow for “2nd Day, Part II.” -Doug


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