One Solitary Life

by Joanie Butman


My daughter and I went to see The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in New York City last week. If you’re ever having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, this show will penetrate the heart of even the most adamant Scrooge. It is quintessential Christmas. The best part is that the producers have kept Christ as the heart of the show. In the current climate of political correctness, my daughter was shocked to see Christ so boldly declared. The Rockettes were amazing but Jesus is and always will be the one and only “Christmas Spectacular.”

Although the performance still concludes with a live nativity scene, the narration has changed since I saw it with my daughter as a young child. At that point, the nativity scene played out on stage while the narrator read the following essay on the life of Christ. It has remained with me to this day. Merry Christmas.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village,

the child of a peasant.

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 – His coat.

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 Jesus 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 mankind on this earth

as powerfully as that one, solitary life.

Dr. James Allan © 1926.

This is a narration called "One Solitary Life" originally written by James A. Francis and recited by Bing Crosby.