Although I was born and raised in New Jersey, only about 25 miles from New York City, I never got to see the Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall. I was made aware, only recently, that for many years the show has ended with a live Nativity scene. It was depicted on stage as the words of the famous poem by James Allen Francis, “One Solitary Life,” were read. Here below are the words to that poem:

“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 lived in 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.”

“Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that 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 much as that one, solitary life.”

That’s an inspiring poem, but how we need to remember that Jesus was not only born and lived an exemplary life, he also died on the Cross to redeem us from our sins and to offer eternal life to all who believe in Him. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16). The Good News which the angel proclaimed to the shepherds on that hillside so long ago was simply this: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:10-11).

The reason for this season is, as Keith Green wrote in his gospel song, “There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own son; Precious lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One. Jesus my Redeemer, Name above all names; Precious lamb of God, Messiah. Oh, for sinners slain. Thank you, oh my Father, for giving us your Son, and leaving your Spirit ‘til the work on earth is done.”

Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Community Church.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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