For the 20-plus years I’ve written this column I have not written about my faith very often. I feel that my faith is strong, but it’s a food-travel column for the most part, and it never seemed the proper forum. Nevertheless, this year my publish date is on Christmas. I don’t know if the newspapers will publish this, but I’m sending it in, nevertheless.
This isn’t scripture or a religious lesson. It’s one of my favorite readings from a sermon delivered by James Allan Francis in 1926. It speaks for itself. May you and yours have the merriest of Christmases and may 2020 bring you love, joy, and a peace that passes all understanding.
He was born in an obscure village,
The child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village,
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty.
Then for three years
He was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn’t go to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles
From the place where he was born.
He did none of the things
One usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three
When the tide of public opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to his enemies.
And went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross
Between two thieves.
While he was dying,
His executioners gambled for his clothing,
The only property he had on Earth.
When he was dead,
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone,
And today he is the central figure
Of the human race,
And the leader of mankind’s progress.
All the armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliament that ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned,
Put together have not affected
The life of man on Earth
As much as that
One Solitary Life.