For the 20-plus years I’ve written this column I have not written about my faith very often. I feel that my faith is strong, but this is a food-travel column for the most part, and it never seemed the proper forum. Nevertheless, this year my publish date was on Christmas. I don’t know if the newspapers will publish this, but I’m sending it in, nevertheless.

This isn’t Scripture or a religious lesson. It’s one of my favorite readings from a sermon delivered by James Allan Francis in 1926. It speaks for itself. May you and yours have the merriest of Christmas seasons and may 2020 bring you love, joy, and a peace that passes all understanding.

He was born in an obscure village,

The child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in still another village,

Where he worked in a carpenter shop

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 house.

He didn’t go to college.

He never visited a big city.

He never traveled two hundred miles

From the place where 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 the tide of 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 a 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.

Twenty centuries have come and gone,

And today he is the central figure

Of the human race,

And the leader of mankind’s progress.

All the armies that ever marched,

All the navies that ever sailed,

All the parliament 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.


ROBERT ST. JOHN is a restaurateur, chef and author. Find him at

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