It seems this famous short essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr. James Allan Francis in The Real Jesus and Other Sermons published in 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia.
Even if you’ve heard or read this before, it’s worth a re-read as we consider the impact of God’s son:
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth–His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
On an Irish website that shared this wonderful piece by Dr. Francis, there was also a clever re-working of 1 Corinthians 13. I think it is also worth sharing.
1 Corinthians 13 – a Christmas Version
If I decorate my house perfectly with streamers,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of mince pies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, sing carols on the Church steps and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I decorate the tree with baubles and fairy lights and attend a myriad of pre-Christmas parties but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to listen to loved ones.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.
May the one Solitary Life who came to love and to save lift your heart again this season.
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