One Solitary Life

In 1926, Dr. James Allan Francis wrote a short essay titled, “One Solitary Life.”  Please join me in pondering this original version of those simple words about the Savior of the World.

One Solitary Life
A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life.
He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life. While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turns against him. One denies him; another betrays him.
He is turned over to his enemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed to a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend. Those are the facts of his human life.
He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, what kind of trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune [worthless] in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life.

From all of us at Family Council, merry Christmas! As we enjoy this wonderful time of year, may we all take time to reflect on the true reason we celebrate Christmas: The birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Here are Five of Our Favorite Christmas Carols

As Christmas approaches, here are five of our favorite carols to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Written by Charles Wesley and set to a tune by German composer Felix Mendelssohn, this carol based on Luke 2 is a longtime favorite among many churches and families.

2. O Come All Ye Faithful

First published in 1751, “O Come All Ye Faithful” calls believers to worship Christ.

3. Joy to the World

English minister and hymnist Isaac Watts wrote “Joy to the World” based on Psalm 98, capturing the joy at the heart of the Christmas season.

4. Angels We Have Heard on High

This Christmas classic published in 1862 re-tells the story of the angels proclaiming Christ’s birth in Luke chapter 2.

5. Silent Night

Originally composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr in a small Austrian town, “Silent Night” has grown to become arguably the most beloved Christmas carol of all time.

Bonus: 6. O Holy Night

Written and set to music in the 1840s, this carol thoughtfully reflects on Christ’s birth and His redemptive work.

Atheist Displays Placed Alongside Nativity at Arkansas Capitol

This week the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced atheists in Arkansas placed a “Winter Solstice” display on the Arkansas Capitol Lawn proclaiming “Joy To The World — The Bill of Rights is Born” and advocating, “Keep religion and government separate!”

The atheist display appears alongside the state’s longstanding Nativity display carved by Arkansas artisans and another atheist display by the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers.

In 2009 a federal judge in Little Rock ruled Arkansas’ Secretary of State was obligated to allow a local group of atheists to put up a display marking the winter solstice on the Capitol grounds.

The Secretary of State and the Arkansas Legislature likely could prevent these types of displays from appearing on the capitol grounds each December by redesignating its lawn as a limited public forum intended to celebrate state and federal holidays like Christmas.

The irony is that America’s Bill of Rights — which the Freedom From Religion Foundation display celebrates — is the product of a Judeo-Christian worldview.

For example, historians have long recognized the Ten Commandments as one of the earliest examples of the rule of law in human history, and they profoundly shaped our nation’s legal system and ideas about justice.

That’s why there is a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments at the apex of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

The Christian understandings of personal liberty, self-government, and rule of law were woven into the founding of our country. Without the birth of Christ, the Bill of Rights arguably never would have been born either.

As Founding Father John Adams put it in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Or as President Ronald Reagan said at the 1984 Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas:

Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

The Nativity Scene above adorns Arkansas’ Capitol Lawn each year.