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First Pres Blog

Christmas Day

Posted by Tim McConnell on

It is Christmas Day. From this day we count all our days. Do you still think about how remarkable that is? It is December 25, 2018. The calendar reports today that is it 2018 years since the day Jesus was born. From that day we count all our days. Now, I really mean that. In the literal sense, from that day we count all our days.

You might know that in the development of Western civilization the Julian calendar of twelve months per year was carried forward by Christians in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually became the Gregorian calendar we use today. But years, formerly noted only by the names of Emperors or other leaders in power, began to be counted and numbered. Christian leaders attempted to count the years beginning with the year of the birth of Jesus. You might also already be aware that they got it a little wrong. We have nothing to definitively place the birth of Jesus on December 25 and we are pretty sure his birth was earlier than A.D. 1. Jesus was probably born in 4 B.C., making this the 2022nd year since the birth of Christ. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and let’s not get into the weeds on Christmas Day!

The point is this: From the moment of the birth of Jesus Christ, we count all our days. Why is that? It is for the simple reason that the birth of Jesus Christ changed everything. That day altered the course of history. On that day, God intervened. God interrupted the disintegration and evil of the world to bring a new healing and wholeness through the victories of Jesus.

In his book Jesus with Dirty Feet, Don Everts writes about “That Day” in epic poetry style:

That Day.

The ancient Israelites
                always whispered in their tents at night about
                         That Day.

Young boys and girls
                exchanged stories
                         their parents had told them about
                         That Day.

Old, leathered men
                would slowly stroke their beards
                        wondering if That Day would come
                        before their own days came to an end.

For generation upon generation
                the Hebrews had been waiting for
                        That Day—
                                the blessed day
                                when he would come!
                                The Anointed One, that is.

On That Day,
                the “I Am’s” saving presence would come in person
                        as the One who was special,
                                who was anointed,
                                        The One to save.
                                        The One to heal.
                                        The One to suffer—but win.

        They waited for the promised Anointed One
                or Messiah, as their language spoke it.

They knew he would come.
        The only question was when.

Through beatings in slavery they waited.

        In prison camps far from their destroyed homes
                they waited.
                        Even while prospering in times of victory,
                        they waited.

                            And then one day
                                            in a dirty barn
                                                        he came.”

From that day we count all our days. From Christmas Day. God appointed a day; God appointed a Time for Joy. Over the next two weeks we will give thanks for the joy we have known in the past, turn a New Year and express hope for the joy we might know in the future. But today there is only one thing to do.

Today is That Day. Today is Christmas Day. Give thanks that God has sent His Son to you. Merry Christmas!

Tags: e-blast, time for joy, worship