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The First Christmas: A Story of New…
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The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings (edizione 2021)

di Stephen Mitchell (Autore)

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Titolo:The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings
Autori:Stephen Mitchell (Autore)
Info:St. Martin's Essentials (2021), 224 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca

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The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings di Stephen Mitchell

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Mostra 5 di 5
Review of Advance Reader Copy

Experience the Christmas story through the eyes of the ox in the stable, through the eyes of the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem. Feel the frustration of the Innkeeper, the confusion and apprehension that ultimately leads to acceptance for both Mary and Joseph.

Imagine that . . . and more . . . in the story of the first Christmas . . . .


In bringing the story of Christmas to life, the author introduces the reader to a series of well-developed characters and a strong sense of place in a setting that reflects the time in which the story takes place. Selected Bible verses from the gospels of Luke and Matthew, all related to the Christ Child’s birth, are included in an appendix. Extensive notes and references are also included.

However, in each section, the author adds an “Interlude” in which he explains or elaborates on some previously made point in a character's story. Each of these Interludes is interesting and informative . . . and each one serves as an interruption, breaking the flow of the narrative and pulling the reader out of the telling of the story.

The telling of the story through the eyes of a variety of characters is intriguing; it gives the narrative both creativity and uniqueness; the unfolding story comes to life for the reader in unexpected ways.

But there is a danger that, in an attempt to appeal to the widest possible audience, the story will ultimately lose its appeal for the reader. Many readers will come to this story with firmly-held beliefs that require careful consideration.

In the forward, the author suggests that the story of the first Christmas is a “magical tale” and explains that Mary and Joseph stand at the center of the story.

And this is the intrinsic problem.

The story of the first Christmas is not a “magical tale” and, as important as they may be, Mary and Joseph are not the central characters here. The first Christmas is the story of the Christ Child. It is the story of God coming to earth; it is the story of a Messiah Who is fully God and fully Man.

And that babe lying in the manger is definitely the center of the Christmas story.

Readers: read this for the wonderful creativity in the telling of the story, but don’t lose sight of the true meaning of the Christmas story. ( )
  jfe16 | Jan 15, 2022 |
This was an odd book to read. I didn't like the "Interludes" at all. It did, however, create a spark in me that lit up my soul. ( )
  juju2cat | Nov 21, 2021 |
The First Christmas A Story of New Beginnings by Stephen Mitchell
Book starts out with other works by the author and a dedication page. Quotes about the event are noted.
Forward with footnotes are included.
Each chapter has a small quote and then the story. Like how the author takes the nativity and picks it apart.
We were brought up Catholic and we know the story but he opens new windows with this version.
From the very beginning, the innkeeper. we know there was no room at the inns but yet one innkeeper found them a place to spend the night.
You never hear of the keeper himself so this author wants to tell his story. Interlude for each chapter is fresh eyes on the subject.
Love the chapter with the donkey, ox and other animals. so cool to hear it from their perspective.
Mary and Joseph also have their own chapters.
Just when you thought you really understood the carol: away in a manger, it's really opened my eyes to how it could have been.
Appendixes, notes and references and acknowledgements are also included at the end.
Really enjoyed reading this one.
Received this review copy from St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Essentials via Netgalley and this is my honest opinion. ( )
  jbarr5 | Nov 9, 2021 |
This is the story of the Nativity, and how exactly things played, or might have played out. Using the Gospels of Mathew and Luke, the author brings this story alive.
Beginning with the animals at the stable and continuing with how Mary’s life as a young girl was changed forever. Then Joseph and his thoughts and how God had them become parents of his beloved Son.
While I don’t necessarily agree with some of the way some of the character’s were portrayed, it was a work of fiction and from the author’s perspective.
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher St. Martin’s Press, and was not required to give a positive review. ( )
  alekee | Nov 7, 2021 |
I was offered an advance copy of The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings because I had previously read and reviewed some holiday/religious fiction titles on NetGalley. The description of the book didn’t quite fit those categories, but I did agree to read it because I thought it might be rather whimsical with points of view including the ox and the donkey and a day-in-the-life peek at the main characters like Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, innkeeper, etc.

The ox and donkey did share their views, but a Whitmanesque ox, visionary donkey, and Zen-like wise men were definitely not whimsical, and even though it did look closely at the thoughts and concerns of the characters and some of the possible reasons for their actions, it did not quite live up to the promise of being vivid, unique and enchanting. Instead, this felt like a cross between a serious, symbolism-loaded Bible study for adults using The Good News contemporary language Bible and an exercise in social commentary using poetic symmetry in the way the chapters were structured and balanced. The “Interludes” between the - for lack of a better word - “action” chapters were jarring and seemed more like the author taking the opportunity to insert some vague, unclear views or describe some of his achievements.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Essentials for providing an advance copy of The First Christmas in exchange for my honest review. It was interesting to look at the events through the eyes of those involved who of course did not know they were part of a miraculous event and were just living their lives and going about their business, but it was not a particularly joyous read and at times was obscure and difficult to understand what point the author was trying to make. All opinions are my own. ( )
  GrandmaCootie | Oct 22, 2021 |
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