One Solitary Life
Dr James Allan Francis in "The Real Jesus and Other Sermons," 1926
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 30. 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 traveled more than 200 miles from the place He was born. He did none of the things one usually associated with greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He was only 33 when public opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. When 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. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind's progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments 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. Do You Know Who He Is?
Today is a day to celebrate the birth of the Messiah!
In many churches, little children sang "happy birthday" to Jesus Christ. In others, living nativity scenes are on display and congregations of believers sing popular hymns in the glow of candlelight.
For me, Christmas is a bittersweet season. Yes, there is happiness with family and friends sharing an abnormally large meal, and plenty of gifts with appropriate shrieks of delight. There are traditional Christmas songs on the radio to sing along with, miles of lighted neighborhoods to enjoy and lots of laughter and fun times.
But with all of that joy, there is an underlying awareness of how short a time Christ would walk upon this earth, and how cruel and bitter his death would be. It is true that following his death, there is the glorious good news that he will defeat the enemy and he will take his seat at the right hand of the Father as my Savior! But oh, what pain and suffering this babe in the manger will go through during his few decades upon this earth.
Hallelujah! My Savior is born - but for what a purpose!
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
-- Isaiah 9:6
As we finish our final Christmas celebrations, give the last gifts, and put away the leftovers, take a moment (if you haven't already) to think about Christ and the life he lived as God among us - Emmanuel. He lived a small portion of it to walk among us teaching about love and healing the sick. Take a few moments also to think about this man Jesus and the life he was to give, a sinless life of 33-years, taking on the sin of us all.
Happy birthday, Jesus!
And from the bottom of my overwhelmed and humbled heart, thank you, Lord.