One solitary life

(Editor's note: One of the most often-heard expressions one hears at Christmas is the “meaning of the season.” Many of us have lost that meaning in our secular, commercial world. The true meaning of Christmas is centered on a man, not a season. The extraordinary effect of this man has never been expressed so eloquently as in the following piece, which was written by an anonymous author. JLW)

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in 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 home.
He didn't go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied 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.
While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, 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. 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 this earth as that one solitary life.