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One Solitary Life

December 25, 2009 by  

One Solitary Life

I have heard this powerful piece of poetry many times over the years—from a simple, solemn reading in a country church to the majestic pronouncement at the conclusion of the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas show—and I have never failed to be deeply moved by it.

I hope you will enjoy being reminded of it today, as we celebrate the birth of the Son of Man who was also the Son of God. Although only a few shepherds were aware of His arrival, the event was so momentous that it divided time itself.

Here is One Solitary Life.

He was born in an obscure village,
The child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until He was thirty.

He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never went to college.
He never visited a big city.

He never traveled more than two hundred miles
From the place where He was born.
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.

He was only thirty-three
When He died.
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 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 Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress.

All the armies that have ever marched,
All the navies that have ever sailed,
All the parliaments that have ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that One Solitary Life.

I didn’t know the origin of One Solitary Life until I researched it for this column. It was written by Dr. James Allan Francis in 1925 and later appeared in a book he compiled, The Real Jesus and Other Sermons, published by Judson Press in 1926.

Today, there are many versions extant of One Solitary Life, but this is my favorite. I hope you enjoyed seeing it again.

Merry Christmas. And until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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  • http://aol Gilbert Kelley

    Chip A good thing to read on Christmas morning!! God Bless You!! Thanks!!

  • George Bailey

    Thanks for sharing this article on this Christmas Morning….So True, as is Our Savior Born On This Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to You and All Yours……….

  • Gayle Talerico

    Thank you for sharing this poem “One Solitary Life”… I have never heard it but it is so profound… Merry Christmas to all…

    • Jane Wall

      I always went Radio City especially to hear this beautiful poetry.

  • Jim Allen

    What a wonderful thing to read as I begin this CHRISTmas Day. I am expecting it to be a great day. I am forunate that it will include in addition to my wonderful wife, our three children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and five wonderful granddaughters. Let us all make sure we remember the “Reason for the Season”, the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. To all, I wish for you a very Merry Christmas Day and may our good Lord bless you in the New Year.

  • Victor L Barney


    I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place. My only comment is that if I were you, I’d research the historical “origins” of the Names that you adore, such as “God,” “Jesus,” “Christianity,” and even “Christmas!” I’m sure that such name origin will shock you! Remember, it also is written that “the whole world will be deceived” at the end time!
    May Yahweh bless you through Yahshua!

    • George

      Some people will be negative no matter what the subject or when it is discussed!

      • Jana

        Victor may be right, but since we speak English it has been translated into English for us as Jesus and God. By the way I thought it was Pronounced as Ya-Ha-Va. Spelled YHVH. That is the proper spelling and the sacred name of God. If you want to correct people then you ought to know what you are talking about.
        Again however since we speak English it has been translated into English for us and I know our Heavenly Father honors that.

    • John Hasse

      thanks Victor for a true commentary. Too bad we have to search so hard for the truth,,,, that is buried under so much garbage.

    • ed fouts

      victor,you have been brain washed,one day soon you will meet your maker,it want be yahushua,you better hope its jesus if its not him
      it will be the devil to take you to hell where you will burn forever,wake up the lord jesus is the answer,

      • http://Don'thaveone Sally

        Amen Ed. If he new the true origin not ot the word Chrismas because all believers know this isn’t Christ birthday, however he was born in a cave in Bethelehem and all of that is true. I really feel sorry for the people of Jewish persuasion because they will be left to go thru the tribulation along with all the Muslims and non believers. Like you say it is very very soon and everyone will know when they are “Left Behind”

  • David A. Celaschi

    Thank you chip for the poem, truly true,and I like your sign off at the end, and I will keep some powder dry!

  • Doug Kocour

    Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. This I know not by the hand of man but by the Holy Spirit who brings this undeniable message that is reconized and understood in the hearts and soul of man.

  • Jean

    What a delightfull piece to read on this wonderfull day.Thank you Chip for taking the time to put it out here.

  • jim

    Everybody have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Alice Godwin

    Merry Christmas to all, we as Christians love to hear such good news
    about our Saviour and Lord born in a stable long ago for all man kind
    to know that one day soon He is coming again to take us home to reign
    with Him eternally, all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God
    but there is redemption the free gift He gives each one of us if we
    will accept it with faith. Let us love one another and change the
    Thank you for the lovely poem on this Christmas Day.

    • Jana


  • Doug

    Thank you for the poem Chip but the only missing in it is the resurrection. One means little without the other and thank God Jesus rose from that grave

  • Warren

    Thank you for this poem. I really needed to read it today. I am reminded by this poem to keep my Christian perspective strong and on the right path in light of current events in our great country. The events of today and the people in the news of today will all pass and be lost in the passage of time but Jesus will be with me always. I am comforted by this. Hopefully you will be too…

  • herbert edmonds


  • John Hasse

    why mix a praise to the Savior YAHUSHUA with a heathen holiday? The Savior was born during the feast of tabernacles, which is a special day that YHVH set aside, which is quite uniformly ignored, while the heathen special days are highly honored.

    • Jana

      John, Actually, if you study when Christ was conceived, you will find it was on or around the 25th of December.
      However, to me it does not matter. We have set aside a day to honor the birth of Jesus, and honor Him I shall.

      I love the poem and hope all had a very Merry Christmas.

  • ed fouts

    listen if any don,t like one nation under god in this great country
    you should packup and go where they have no god only DICTATORS,
    see how u like it there, see ya, u could lose your head,
    merry christmas to all beleavers,

  • Happy

    Thanks Mr. Chip Wood for the poem.

    Jesus is the real GIFT of life.
    He came so that we have life, and have it abundantly.

    Yes, He had only one purpose is to save the people from eternal death.

    He came and lived humbly to fulfill what God intented. But the next time , as the book of revelation says, He will come with great judgement of the entire world. Pray that all of us are sealed by the Blood of Jesus Christ.

  • Mel

    Thank you Chip for the poem, it is a nice story, however the content is fictional. As a Psychologist I had to research history to be truthful to my patients, for the variety of problems were quite vast. As one finds in history that Jesus was conceived by Constantine, at the same time he also conceived the Roman Catholic religion. Later, in the eight century Jesus appeared on the cross, but not before then. Christmas is a Pagan holiday and this is well proven. Regarding myself, I look forward to the Christmas holidays, for they are a happy time of the year. Lastly, anyone can believe what they wish, and I respect their wishes for they, and they alone are fully responsible for their thoughts, their beliefs and their life. Let us all enjoy this happy time of the year!

    • http://Don'thaveone Sally

      Now I understand why people would need a psychast or whatever. Yes Christmas is a pagan holiday, actually the festival of lights, and the other fellow is correct that our sweet Lord Jesus was probably born during the Feast of Tabernacles because the shepards were still out in the fiels with their flocks and in the month of December are not, however we Christiams decided to celebrate it this way. It is too bad that you don’t know the truth, because believe me the truth will set you free and noone will need your services.

      • Mel

        Sally, there are many truths in life and sadly to state that Jesus is not one of them, for if he actually ever existed and loved little children, as he is supposed to have, there would not be paralyzed children, nor a three-year old child with paper muscles, nor would there have been a father pouring gasoline over his five-year old child and setting him afire, nor would there be hoop or thalidomide children! And I could name many more incidents..

    • Jana


      This is not true that all people are responsible for their thoughts and their beliefs. If you are a Psychologist as you say, then you are not dealing with your patients honestly. You are misleading them.
      History verifies a great deal of the Bible. The Bible itself verifies itself. Prophesy in the Old Testament has been fulfilled in the New Testament about Jesus, even and up to the death of Christ on the Cross.
      It is sad enough that you are so educated that you are blinded by the truth, but you are misleading and misguiding your patients who depend on you. May God forgive you.

      • Mel

        Hi Jana, Yes, it is true that each individual is responsible for their many thoughts, attitudes and creations in their individual life. If one is not responsible, then who is? I’m not responsible for your many thoughts and creative emotions, you are! Take a walk through a morgue sometime and tell me what you see.
        When one finally realizes that they are the Master Of Their Consciousness, their life dramatically changes, and I’ve seen it with thousands of patients.
        Regarding your statement, “History verifies a great deal of the Bible.” This is absolutely not true at all, and which bible are you referring too?
        The early writers who were alive during the time of the supposed Jesus Christ never wrote anything about this miracle person, because he just did not exist!
        Do some studying Jana and you will learn many truths of life. It took me nearly five years to learn the many truths of life and I never left a stone unturned. So if you, and anyone else here state that Jesus actually lived, prove it with historical documents that can be verified..
        There Is No God But Yet There Is A God! Once one fully comprehends this statement, they will know God!

  • http://PersonalLibertyNews Judy Gilder

    One Solitary Life
    Thank You Victor L Barney and and John Hasse. As a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother that has spent the last 3 Christmas’s by myself,(by choice) it does my heart good to know that I’m really not alone. For any that really would like to know the truth as to our Savior Yahshua or Yahushua’s Birth, Dr Ernest L. Martin wrote a book called “The Star Of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished The World. It was written in 1978 so our Savior’s birth 9/11/3,BC (sometime between 6:15 and 7:49pm) has nothing to do with with 9/11/01 as my son emplied was possible.

    • http://Don'thaveone Sally

      Yes Judy – I do believe this. Also we all know it didn’t have anything to do with 9/11/01 however, I read somewhere that in the Koran that either paragraph or book 911 told all about killing pagans for the good of Mohammid. I wish I had kept that artticle is was very good.

  • Janice

    Thank you so much I wish we all could understand this Bless you

  • Jodi Spieker

    Thanks, Chip. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • http://PersonalLibertyNews Judy Gilder

    Mel, I am not an intellectual but I do know that One Solitary Life is not fictional. Our Savior fullfilled every prophecy (to the letter) that was made concerning Him. With you being an abviously, intellect, If you really want to researh history,I would like to recommend the book “Fossiized Customs” by Lew White. It is the most heartbreaking book I have ever read but I’m so glad I did.


    • Mel

      Judy, you are correct that One Solitary Life, the title, is not fictional, it was written by someone, and only the content is fictional based upon historical facts. Perhaps I should mention that thousands of Christians, who totally and fully believe in the Jesus character, lost their homes and loved ones during the devastating hurricanes, where was Jesus for them, and where is Jesus for the very young children who are often beaten by their parents? Regarding researching history, I’ve done a very complete research, including comparative analyzes and corroborating with my colleagues. It doesn’t matter what we believe in for each of us are individual responsible spirits, and thusly deserve respect, and I do respect you Judy for whatever you wish to believe in. I just recommend that you either prove, or disprove that which you believe in, one must never become a puppet.. BTW, thank you for the recommendation of the book..

      • American Citizen

        Just because Christians believe in God and Jesus does not mean we will not become ill or suffer the slings and arrows that life throws at us. We all suffer the human condition just as He did. He gives us the strength to see them through to the end. Each of us is given so many heartbeats when we are born. How those beats are stopped is only known by God. He is always there for us to lean on.

        As for when Jesus’ actual birthdate is who cares? It was not written down at the time he was born. The most important fact is that HE WAS BORN, lived and suffered the human condition, showed us how to live, then took the love He has for us and placed it on a cross upon which He died. Three days later, He rose again, showing us we, too, will live on after this earthly existence. Where our home will be then is strictly up to each of us., This is all contained in the greeting, “Merry Christmas”.

        The author of the poem Chip posted in unknown. I saw it many years ago on a Christmas card.

        • Mel

          Hi Citizen, regarding your statement, “He is always there for us to lean on.” WHERE? He wasn’t there for a dedicated Baptist couple who gave their entire life to him, or to whoever.. They were murdered in their own home, and their church was SHOCKED!
          Now you state, “The most important fact is that HE WAS BORN.” Where’s the proof? None of the early writers knew of this so-called miracle person, so where was he born? And, why wasn’t he born thousands of years ago to save mankind during those times?
          A lot of your statements just are not logical Citizen, in any sense..

  • Ann



  • Cruz G. Hernandez

    A wonderful poem to read on Christmas morning, I for one have been blessed by Him in so many ways, I cannot recall a time when He has not helped me.
    Cruz G. Hernandez
    Burleson, Texas 76028

  • Bill Rohrer

    Satan will come posing as Jesus. He will deceive most of the world for 2 1/2–5 months. This is the deception of the end times. Jesus comes at the end of this time period. Mark 13, Mathiew 24, Luke 21

  • Mike Williams

    Is it not amazing how a few simple poetic words in a poem taken from the greatest book ever written, the Bible, can provoke such a wide array of responses? No psychologist, philosopher, archeologist or any other human in love with their own assumed intelect can come close to understanding true peace, and joy without first coming face to face with the God of the Bible. Christmas is a bitter sweet time for all who have an ear to hear. We all will face ourselves today or later. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Mel

      Mike, you speak of the bible, which one are you referring too? There were several in history and the Geneva bible is what the pilgrims’ carried with them when they sailed to America.. Next, your statement, “..can come close to understanding true peace, and joy without first coming face to face with the God of the Bible.” Sure they can Mike, and I’m obviously one of them, facts make truths and when one can understand the many truths of life they become the Master Of Their Individual Consciousness and their life dramatically changes for the better! One does not need to believe in Superman to understand peace and joy.. Peace Be With You Mike! Have A Super Holiday Season!

      • Mike Williams

        Thanks Mel. You just proved my point. You will never understand as long as you are more important and smarter than God in your own mind. Unless of coarse you have a greator mind than the creator who made you. I have been where you are. Keep trying. You have been tricked by the true master of deception. You have put an idol, yourself, between you and God. You will never have eyes to see Him untill you are ready to let it go. Please don’t get too smart out there. Love you buddy.

        • Mel

          Mike, I just proved what point? Please relate it so that all of us can understand what you are referring too..
          Regarding God, can you prove that God actually exists?
          Regarding your statement, “You have been tricked by the true master of deception.” Not at all Mike, for all things must be proven to me in some form or fashion.
          During my extensive study of history I performed numerous comparative analyzes and corroborated with my colleagues to fully understand the complex puzzle of life.
          So if you can prove that your God exists, please do, for I can prove mine!
          Lastly, I Love You Too Mike! For Love is what progresses our individual lives..

      • BOE

        Mel may be rich in education but poor in your soul. “Science can explain matter,but can not explain why there is matter. Science can explain the universe,nature and the law of physics,but can not explain why the existance of the universe,why we have nature,and why is there a law of physics.Your education can explain the excistence of consciusness but you can not explain why there is consciousness.” To be able to look beyond your formal education would be enlightened and I beleive we who are at peace call it FAITH.

        • American Citizen

          It is said that man cannot find God by reason alone. There comes a point when it takes a leap of faith. But for that to happen, man has to have an open mind and heart.

          • Jana

            Boe and American Citizen,
            Very good points. Mel has a right to believe how he wants to, it’s his ship and bon voyage.

  • chuck b

    merry xmas to you chip:

    what is it the Jesus Christ said that so many people deny him, denounce him and hate him????

  • http://none barbara sandlin

    Having only in recent years learned about the Hebraic roots of Christiandom. Our family has chosen NOT to participate in the holiday called christmas. Not because we don’t love and honor the Lord but because we have learned that it has little to do with the facts available about the birth of the Savior of the world. The Father told us not to add to or take away from His Word. Most of the themes around christmas are not facts. It began as a form of appeasement by the catholic church. God also instructed us to keep His Feasts. There are eight of them in a year. Christians don’t even know they exist, much less we are supposed to be celebrating them. What? You say that’s the old testament! So are the ten commandments. He also said you are in the world but not of it. Christmas was instigated by Constantine to get more people to come to the catholic church. They already had the festival. He just gave it a new name. It is wholly pagan in origin. Sorry folks. You can chose to live by your emotional ties to a lie and continue to be deceived. Or you can search the scripture and find the Truth about GOD”S HOLY days. Which I propose have been STOLEN from God’s people so they stay ignorant of what truly pleases our heavenly Father. Christmas is the world on steroids.

    • American Citizen

      God only has one Holy Day that He instructed us to observe and that is the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day. Jesus arose from the dead on Sunday which is why Christians observe that day. All holy days and holidays are man made. Constantine stopped the persecutions of the Christians. The Catholic Church is the only church that contains the “Deposit of Faith” as handed down by the Apostles. Jesus did found a church, it’s in the Bible.

      • http://none barbara sandlin

        LEV.23 lists the 8 Feasts of the Lord. The “ekklesia which means, church or called out ones is first mentioned in Exodus where Moses gave the 10 commandments. That Peter started the church is simply catholic church dogma and propaganda and twisted scripture. ALL due respect to Peter. The Body “church”of Yeshua was started by Yeshua and was ordained by His Father Elohim before the foundation of the world. (Constantine did help stop SOME of the pursecution BUT Messianic Jews had to renounce ALL of their keeping of Sabbaths, dietitary laws, etc, before they could be a part of that religious organization. Those laws are not kept for salvation but to be sure, they are for obedience. Same as when we keep them now. Not for salvation but out of love for the Father and obedience.) That’s where the Hebraic parts of the faith began to be lost. And in came all of the pagan influences we see today. God says NOT to mix His word and instructons with other belief systems. That’s why He is restoring all things in these days. It has become polluted and diluted to the point we look like the world to the world and He wants His people to COME OUT OF HER AND BE HOLY.(set apart). If you love me, you will keep my commandments. God says.
        People who are sincerely interested in educating themselves about what scriptures say, not denominations, should look up these web sites to learn more about what Yahwah is doing in the earth today.
        Brad Scott@ Wild Branch ministries, Rico Cortez@ Wisdom in Torah, Bill Cloud@ Shorshim Ministries. Scot Dryer@ Norm Franz @Ascension Ministries. Just to mention a few. God is raising up prophets to show us who we really are. If you are under any head but Him, you might want to reconsider that choice.

        • http://none barbara sandlin

          One more point please. Why do people, Christians think it’s ok for a man, Constantine, to change a date that the Father designated as HIS HOLY DAY. Seriously, just think about that for a while. Don’t brush it off. IT is the fourth commandment for pete’s sake! The Sabbath of the Lord is Saturday or the sixth day of the week! Constantine was a world leader BUT he was not GOD. And he usurped the Almighty’s authority by changing that and I personally believe it was diabolical. Demonic in other words.
          Point in case. I venture most folks reading this are conservative. Any world leaders you know of today who are leading us to destruction. Think any decisions being made by current leaders may be alittle misguided? Or perhaps even demonic? Would you be ok with Obama changing any of the commandments of the Lord? Do you think that perhaps some of the people alive when Constantine did this were upset and didn’t want him to change God’s Sabbath? Think about how far we have fallen from what our Father has instructed us to do. Study to show YOURSELF APPROVED. Ask the Father to lead you to His Truth.

          • American Citizen

            The Jews celebrated Saturday as the Sabbath, Christians celebrate Sunday. God did not say which day should be the “Sabbath”. He only said to keep holy the Lord’s Day. The Jewish religion is based on the Old Testament, while the Christians religion is based on the New Testament. But they still adhere to the Ten Commandments as Jesus told us to do plus the two that He added. But the spirit behind the Ten Commandments is really the two Jesus gave us, Love God and Love you neighbor as yourself. Obama is not a successor of the Apostles, quite the contrary. The reason our country is in trouble is not because Christians celebrate the Lord’s Day on Sunday, it’s because of the licentiousness, greed, worship of things like power and money, etc. The Old Testament pointed to a Savior whom Christians believe to be Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. I’m sure God is not upset that we worship as a faith community on Sunday instead of Saturday. We are Easter people.

          • American Citizen

            We are also told that God is the final judge, we cannot judge men’s hearts. You are looking at objectives while He judges subjectives. For instance, we could look at someone stealing a loaf of bread. Objectively, he is doing a wrong, but subjectively, his family is starving and that’s the only way he has to feed them. If caught, man would punish him, but I don’t think God would. At least, we have to let it up to God to judge him. There is an old saying, there but for the grace of God go I. When people are desparate, they do desparate things of which we may not approve. I’ve always been glad that I’m not God.

          • American Citizen

            In addition, how many times in the NT does Jesus say, “You have heard it said (whatever in the OT), but I say,”? Christians follow Jesus’ way. He said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

  • http://aol Devil Dog

    Barbara:You have a crude awakening coming. Of course you beliueve in just the old testament. However, we believe in both the old, and the new.Why are you so vitriolic against OUR faith?? Do I sense some form of despair because you are only still waiting for the messiah, and HE has already come to us, and we are waiting for HIS return, when HE will judge all?I feel sorry for you and your kind who think you have all the answers, when you really only have half.We believe this country is a judeo-christian nation. I feel sorry for you and your diabolical description of our faith, particularly the Catholic faith.JESUS said,” You will be called, Peter, which means ‘rock’, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Thus, the first pope was created.We have no animosity towards the jews. Look up your history and find out how Catholics, many,including priests hid the Jews from the nazis in WW11, knowing full well, that they would be slaughtered, along with their Jewish friends, if caught. Many Christians died in those concentration camps along with their Jewish friends.Including priests who went to the gas chambers in place of their Jewish friends. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF!!So cut the vitriolic chatter.
    GOD bless you,
    Chet Figurski

    • American Citizen

      You are right, Chet, in that Catholics hold no grudges against the Jewish people. Christians are called “completed Jews” because we believe Jesus is the Messiah. There are many Christians and churches in Israel.

    • ed fouts

      chet,our neighbors in the white house,are takeing our freedoms away,
      listen god don,t expect you to be little sheep being lead to the salughter,even jesus told his disciples before he was crucified to
      take up there sword one of them said lord i have two,yes love your
      enemy,s,but if they are comming to kill you, you must kill them frist.wake up and see the light,
      if i were you,i would take devil name out,bfore he gets you,

  • American Citizen

    Why do people get so upset as to the date we celebrate the birth of Jesus? Many people do not know their actual birthdate, but they celebrate a birthday every year. It’s the fact that He was born and not the actual date that is important. Because of historical facts that were happening then and events happening in the sky at that time is why it is know the date chosen is close to when Jesus was born.

    • DaveH

      Good point Citizen. And it is undeniable that his teachings had a major effect on civilization. I think beneficial.

  • ed fouts

    why are things changing,a few radicals have been at work behind closed doors,we have been asleep,we must wake up now, and take a stand for our rights and our freedoms, faith in god has made this
    a great nation,the radicals want to take god out of our nation
    obama is a muslim he wants god out,well with gods help we can change
    this one way or the other or both,i will fight for my rights and
    i want be standing alone,people that voted for obama got the devil,thats your change i hope u like it,you were lied to and beleaved the lies,now you will be fighting for your life,

  • Giovanna

    Thank you, for that beautiful poem, One Solitary Life, He came that He would give us Life, Life Abundantly. May you rejoice in His birth
    and give you His Joy………..

  • http://ordy@fedtel./net Eric g

    Yes the bible teaches love your enemies , I dont remember seeing if your enemies are coming to kill you you should kill them first . We have a great deal of aguement right now in the United States about if our government is improving the situation or making it worse . Which side is most right or wrong , I really cant say for sure , becuase both are wrong so much of the time , that its impossible to say whose right . This is the answer I gave my imigrant friend that asked my advice on who to vote for .

    • American Citizen

      Vote for the one that promises you the least, that way you’ll have less of a chance to become a slave to the government.

  • American Citizen

    May you all have a healthy and prosperous New Year and years to come. With the government in charge of the health care system, that’s the only way you’ll survive.

  • David Hall

    Thanks, Mr. chip for the poem. A true breath of clean, fresh air and
    food for the soul of man. It’s not a farey tail, but a true, historical
    fact. Thanks again.

  • Mel


    Interesting to note that the calendar for the birth of Christ was established in the sixth century, and that Easter kept moving around, even up to ten days! And still, no one knows when Christ was supposed to have been born..

    Also, the calendar started from the beginning of the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian, not from the birth of Christ!

    The legal code of the United States does not specify an official national calendar. Use of the Gregorian calendar in the United States stems from an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1751, which specified use of the Gregorian calendar in England and its colonies. However, its adoption in the United Kingdom and other countries was fraught with confusion, controversy, and even violence (Bates, 1952; Gingerich, 1983; Hoskin, 1983). It also had a deeper cultural impact through the disruption of traditional festivals and calendrical practices (MacNeill, 1982).

    Because calendars are created to serve societal needs, the question of a calendar’s accuracy is usually misleading or misguided. A calendar that is based on a fixed set of rules is accurate if the rules are consistently applied. For calendars that attempt to replicate astronomical cycles, one can ask how accurately the cycles are replicated. However, astronomical cycles are not absolutely constant, and they are not known exactly.

    In the long term, only a purely observational calendar maintains synchrony with astronomical phenomena. However, an observational calendar exhibits short-term uncertainty, because the natural phenomena are complex and the observations are subject to error.

    The calendars related here, except for the Chinese calendar, have counts of years from initial epochs. In the case of the Chinese calendar and some calendars not included here, years are counted in cycles, with no particular cycle specified as the first cycle. Some cultures eschew year counts altogether but name each year after an event that characterized the year.

    However, a count of years from an initial epoch is the most successful way of maintaining a consistent chronology. Whether this epoch is associated with an historical or legendary event, it must be tied to a sequence of recorded historical events.

    This is illustrated by the adoption of the birth of Christ as the initial epoch of the Christian calendar. This epoch was established by the sixth-century scholar Dionysius Exiguus, who was compiling a table of dates of Easter. An existing table covered the nineteen-year period denoted 228-247, where years were counted from the beginning of the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.

    Dionysius continued the table for a nineteen-year period, which he designated Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi 532-550. Thus, Dionysius’ Anno Domini 532 is equivalent to Anno Diocletian 248. In this way a correspondence was established between the new Christian Era and an existing system associated with historical records.

    What Dionysius did not do is establish an accurate date for the birth of Christ. Although scholars generally believe that Christ was born some years before A.D. 1, the historical evidence is too sketchy to allow a definitive dating.

    Given an initial epoch, one must consider how to record preceding dates. Bede, the eighth-century English historian, began the practice of counting years backward from A.D. 1 (see Colgrave and Mynors, 1969). In this system, the year A.D. 1 is preceded by the year 1 B.C., without an intervening year 0. Because of the numerical discontinuity, this “historical” system is cumbersome for comparing ancient and modern dates.

    Today, astronomers use +1 to designate A.D. 1. Then +1 is naturally preceded by year 0, which is preceded by year -1. Since the use of negative numbers developed slowly in Europe, this “astronomical” system of dating was delayed until the eighteenth century, when it was introduced by the astronomer Jacques Cassini (Cassini, 1740).

    Even as use of Dionysius’ Christian Era became common in ecclesiastical writings of the Middle Ages, traditional dating from regnal years continued in civil use. In the sixteenth century, Joseph Justus Scaliger tried to resolve the patchwork of historical eras by placing everything on a single system (Scaliger, 1583). Instead of introducing negative year counts, he sought an initial epoch in advance of any historical record.

    His numerological approach utilized three calendrical cycles: the 28-year solar cycle, the nineteen-year cycle of Golden Numbers, and the fifteen-year indiction cycle. The solar cycle is the period after which weekdays and calendar dates repeat in the Julian calendar.

    The cycle of Golden Numbers is the period after which moon phases repeat (approximately) on the same calendar dates. The indiction cycle was a Roman tax cycle. Scaliger could therefore characterize a year by the combination of numbers (S,G,I), where S runs from 1 through 28, G from 1 through 19, and I from 1 through 15.

    Scaliger noted that a given combination would recur after 7980 (= 28*19*15) years. He called this a Julian Period, because it was based on the Julian calendar year. For his initial epoch Scaliger chose the year in which S, G, and I were all equal to 1. He knew that the year 1 B.C. was characterized by the number 9 of the solar cycle, by the Golden Number 1, and by the number 3 of the indiction cycle, i.e., (9,1,3). He found that the combination (1,1,1) occurred in 4713 B.C. or, as astronomers now say, -4712. This serves as year 1 of Scaliger’s Julian Period. It was later adopted as the initial epoch for the Julian day numbers.

    The Gregorian calendar resulted from a perceived need to reform the method of calculating dates of Easter. Under the Julian calendar the dating of Easter had become standardized, using March 21 as the date of the equinox and the Metonic cycle as the basis for calculating lunar phases.

    By the thirteenth century it was realized that the true equinox had regressed from March 21 (its supposed date at the time of the Council of Nicea, +325) to a date earlier in the month. As a result, Easter was drifting away from its springtime position and was losing its relation with the Jewish Passover.

    Over the next four centuries, scholars debated the “correct” time for celebrating Easter and the means of regulating this time calendrically. The Church made intermittent attempts to solve the Easter question, without reaching a consensus.

    By the sixteenth century the equinox had shifted by ten days, and astronomical New Moons were occurring four days before ecclesiastical New Moons. At the behest of the Council of Trent, Pope Pius V introduced a new Breviary in 1568 and Missal in 1570, both of which included adjustments to the lunar tables and the leap-year system.

    Pope Gregory XIII, who succeeded Pope Pius in 1572, soon convened a commission to consider reform of the calendar, since he considered his predecessor’s measures inadequate.

    The recommendations of Pope Gregory’s calendar commission were instituted by the papal bull “Inter Gravissimus,” signed on 1582 February 24. Ten days were deleted from the calendar, so that 1582 October 4 was followed by 1582 October 15, thereby causing the vernal equinox of 1583 and subsequent years to occur about March 21. And a new table of New Moons and Full Moons was introduced for determining the date of Easter.

    Subject to the logistical problems of communication and governance in the sixteenth century, the new calendar was promulgated through the Roman-Catholic world. Protestant states initially rejected the calendar, but gradually accepted it over the coming centuries.

    The Eastern Orthodox churches rejected the new calendar and continued to use the Julian calendar with traditional lunar tables for calculating Easter. Because the purpose of the Gregorian calendar was to regulate the cycle of Christian holidays, its acceptance in the non-Christian world was initially not at issue. But as international communications developed, the civil rules of the Gregorian calendar were gradually adopted around the world.

    • chuck b

      now i know who wrote the healthcare bill

  • Boo T

    I learned alot from Mel, very intersesting are the calendar histories. Numbers are curious. What I don’t like is that people kill in the name of God for their own purposes, and they were told to so do by men.

  • Norm Breyfogle

    Anyone who believes that to avoid eternal agonizing punishment we must believe in extraordinary and unprovable historical claims (yes, Jesus may have existed, but the miracles are completely and obviously unprovable), is abdicating the use of their rational faculties. Any God who would require such superstitious belief under threat of damnation is obviously unreasonable and downright evil.

    To anyone who feels they must believe such touching fables are literal history in order to live a life as a good and loving person, I ask, “Would you be unable to love your children and other family members and friends without such superstitious belief?”

    Mel’s above posts are clearly correct.

    • David Hall

      Norm, you don’t believe in miracles of God. Do you believe in lady-luck? You ain’t done much gut living have you? Ask an American Soldier,
      that walked away from hell and saw his brothers get hurt or worse. Ask,
      the mother that gave birth to her baby and both were healthy and fine,
      after the doctor suggested an abortion. Ask, the little girl that was
      abducted by a sick, twisted, pervert and she prayed to Jesus and the
      sicko, let her go unharmed. Ask, the many flood, tornado, and hurricane
      victims, that their lives were spared by the hand of God. I could go, on and on. Yeah! lady-luck was sure on their side, uh? Bubba, you damn
      people are as foolish and lost as a damn goose in a hail-storm. You’ll,
      wake up and smell the roses and yeah, stand before the fairy-tale worker (JESUS CHRIST) one day! You can bet lady-luck on that.

  • DDC

    Jesus Christ was born during lambing season, because the Shepherds where guarding their flock. The lambing season for sheep is in the spring, that is why the Shepherds where tending to their sheep.

    Also Joseph and Mary had gone to Bethlehem to pay their taxes, and you know our taxes are due in April. That is why all the Inns where filled with people, so Joseph and Mary had to sleep in a stable. It had to be fairly warm for them to sleep there.

    So Jesus was born in the spring.


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