For Unto Us a Child Is Born


Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, 
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I’m sure that, unless you live under a rock (which sometimes I think I would enjoy) you’re aware that  son was born yesterday, July 22, to Prince William and the Duchess of Cornwell. Excitement in England and in the media has reached a fever pitch. I saw one estimate that the  royal birth was worth about $400 million to the economy. That’s a lot of baby booties.

I wish the young family well and hope that they can avoid being hounded to distraction. There’s no more difficult work than being a parent, and none more glorious. They are embarking on an incredible journey of wonder and discovery (and colic and messy diapers). Godspeed to them all.

I couldn’t help thinking about another birth long ago that at the time received little to no attention. It was, ironically, the birth of a peasant baby in the meanest of circumstances but at the same time the most royal of births.

I was put in mind of a familiar summary of the life of that baby born so long ago. Most people are familiar with it, but I think it bears repeating here as a reminder of what truly matters in this world.

One Solitary Life

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

[This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in The Real Jesus and Other Sermons © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).]