From time to time, someone takes offense to the use of the salutation “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and we think that’s unfortunate. In an attempt to be more inclusive in a world of many faiths and cultural practices, some people simply opt to use the holiday phrase. We know of no one who’s trying to exclude the Christian season from the many other celebrations during this festive and faith-filled time of year.
Clearly, Christmas is the biggest December holiday in the U.S., but it’s not the only one. Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day are all celebrated. These celebrations don’t take away from the spirit of the season, they add to it. It’s a time for peace, family, friends and giving. Enjoy the holiday season, everyone. It’s big enough for all of us.
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Years ago, someone wrote an essay that carried a Christian message, but much more. It’s a testament to the life of a single man, Jesus of Nazareth, who had a tremendous impact upon the world as we know it. We have reprinted it below.
Regardless of your beliefs, we hope you will agree that it speaks to the spirit of the day, when the better things in life are celebrated.
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. 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.
Although the author is frequently cited as “unknown,” an original 1926 version of this essay has been attributed to James Allen Francis.