One Solitary Life

oneJames Allan Francis was an early-twentieth century American pastor who authored a handful of books. He is also the “anonymous” author who stands behind the famous poem, “One Solitary Life.” This poem which often circulates at Christmas time is a testimony to the power of Christ’s humble life.

As Christmas nears and we contemplate Christ’s incarnation, may we be reminded of the glorious power of Christ’s humble life.

He was born in an obscure village,
the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village
where he worked 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 home.
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 associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself;
he was only thirty-three
when 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 the 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.
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. [1]

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

[1] James Allan Francis, The Real Jesus and Other Sermons (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1926).