The First Christmas

A Story of New Beginnings

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Pub Date 09 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 24 Dec 2021
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Essentials

Description

“I love The First Christmas. What a charming way Stephen Mitchell has found to tell my favorite story of all, the Nativity, character by character (I love the donkey and the ox), with wise and thrilling interludes about God, reality, truth.” –Anne Lamott


In The First Christmas, Stephen Mitchell brings the Nativity story to vivid life as never before. A narrative that is only sketched out in two Gospels becomes fully realized here with nuanced characters and a setting that reflects the culture of the time. Mitchell has suffused the birth of Jesus with a sense of beauty that will delight and astonish readers.

In this version, we see the world through the eyes of a Whitmanesque ox and a visionary donkey, starry-eyed shepherds and Zen-like wise men, each of them providing a unique perspective on a scene that is, in Western culture, the central symbol for good tidings of great joy. Rather than superimposing later Christian concepts onto the Annunciation and Nativity scenes, he imagines Mary and Joseph experiencing the angelic message as a young Jewish woman and man living in the year 4 bce might have experienced it, with terror, dismay, and ultimate acceptance. In this context, their yes becomes an act of great moral courage.

Readers of every background will be enchanted by this startlingly beautiful reimagining of the Christmas tale.

“I love The First Christmas. What a charming way Stephen Mitchell has found to tell my favorite story of all, the Nativity, character by character (I love the donkey and the ox), with wise and...


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Featured Reviews

The First Christmas was an absolute gift. It was stunning and delightful; full of tender, rich, funny moments and characters. The plot was completely captivating and engaging to the very end. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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I always enjoy hearing the Christmas Story, but I was not sure what to expect from a novel form of the story. The chapters were from the view points of different characters, including the ox and donkey, telling their part in this wonderful story. There were interludes between chapters that while were informative. I felt took away from the feel of reading a novel. But overall I enjoyed reading this author's vision of the Nativity scene and the birth of Jesus. Thanks to the author Stephen Mitchell, publisher St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for a honest review.

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An enchanting view of the miracle of the First Christmas as seen and told through the eyes of an ox, donkey, shepherds, innkeeper and wise men. Each perspective is described in Mitchell’s touching prose and the voices of each character come to life as their story unfolds.
This interpretation is as bright and colorful as Christmas lights and holiday packages. Each twinkle and opened box reveals wonder and a smile. This is simply a must read for any season.
My thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Essentials and Stephen Mitchell for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.

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A great Christmas story book to read. Found it really fascinating and exciting read.

I received this advance copy of the book in exchanged for my honest opinion.

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Speechless. That's how I felt when I was done reading The First Christmas. So well done, powerfully written. Obviously it has the religious aspect to it, but as a stand alone story even without that background, it is such a gorgeously done piece of art. Honestly. this book made the Holy family even more accessible than I found the story growing up. In turn, feeling that Mary Joseph and Baby Jesus were more accessible gave me a new perspective on the "accept what we are telling you without questions" attitude about religion.. The First Christmas made it a real story. Looking forward to celebrating Christmas this coming season is even more exciting because I will be giving thanks for their courage and faith Mary and Joseph had in God and in each other.

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This is a neat story retold -about the miracle of Christmas night!
It is a beautifully done and alternates between different characters that were present on this holy journey.
My favorite is the donkey. He had an important job and did it well!
I am sure this will be a classic! Give it a read!

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A totally different way to look at the night before Christmas. It is seen through different sets of eyes. How different animals and people might have reacted to the night Jesus was born.

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This was a different take on the Nativity story and I am so glad that I had the chance to read this book. I never thought about what all these other supporting characters would have felt/thought about the whole situation of the virgin Mary's birth.

I love how there were the Interludes that were Stephen Mitchell talking to us as well in this book. Scripture references to back up what he was saying and his personal take on things. These accounts from the supporting characters made you sit back and think about what others maybe thought about everything that was going on in their time frame as well.

This was a great read and I hope that others give this book a chance because you just might realize that things were not as easy as we might think for Mary and Joseph back then. Being the virgin birth was unheard of then, and still is today, but you know that others talked about them and judged them.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book for my unbiased opinion. Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an advanced copy of this book. So glad I got to read it!

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I read The First Christmas, by Stephen Mitchell, at the request of St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. I am happy to assign it 4 stars. Written primarily for Jews and Muslims, it is respectful to Christians. It follows Mary and Joseph through learning Mary is pregnant to the Nativity scene, and visitors.

Complete with talking animals and a quite lengthy narrative on the wise men, the author takes the reader from paint A to point B. He asks readers to expand their imaginations and temporarily suspend their disbelief. He includes what he calls "interludes" after each character is introduced, to explain his thinking on the topic.

I found nothing that would offend or upset Christians, unless there are a few of us who simply cannot stand it that he says there were only two wise men instead of three. To this Christian, that doesn’t matter at all.

My review is on HubPages. They will not allow anything published on that platform to be shared anywhere else, so here is the link to my review: https://hubpages.com/literature/The-First-Christmas-by-Stephen-Mitchell

#TheFirstChristmas #StephenMitchell #StMartinsPress #NetGalley #TheNativityStory #ChristIsBorn #JesusBirth #MaryAndJoseph #MaryamAndYosef #EleazarBarShimon
#YehudaBarGamalielHaLevi #Shepherds #Angels #Gabriel #TendingTheirFlocksByNight #LaidInAManger #BornInAStable #Christmas #TheHolyBirth #TheVirginMary #TheThreeWiseMen
#Aramaic #Hebrew

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An enchanting interpretation of the nativity story. Unusual, beautiful and artistic. The heart of it is still the birth of Christ but the telling of it is magical.

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Book was sent to me, I enjoy religious fiction - especially on Christmas, so eager to read ARC.

A Story of New Beginnings
With a focus on Mary and Joseph
Birth of Jesus uplifts all from the lowly to high officers.
"If Christ's birth doesn't happen in me,
how can it help me?"
All is built on this.

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"The First Christmas" by Stephen Mitchell
A Good Read ! !
An interesting and enjoyable interlude in an alternate and expanded vision (yes, I meant vision not version) of the Nativity story. Are you brave enough to read this offering? I do hope so. Happy Reading ! !

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I requested to read and review this book for free from St. Martin Publishing. This is a different take about the nativity story from the author view. As well as what possible Mary and Joseph thought and the Inn Keeper and Ox. You don't really think about the inn keeper much his part may seem small but in retrospect he played a big part in the story but offering the barn. It also gives a more detailed view of what Joseph and Mary may have thought or had been going through. And throughout this book the author gives you the ideas of how he came up with these ideas. This book is for any type of reader and can be read anywhere.

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Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Essentials for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

This was a 5-star read in my opinion, taking a story told time and time again and making it new.

This story is nothing new; we’ve all heard it before. What the author does here though is what is new and different. The imagery that his writing projects into the readers mind is artistic. The first quote that caught me was, “…she uttered a bray that was like a pump gone dry.” Then in the Notes and References the reader learns that it was ‘pilfered’ from Elizabeth Bishop. Fine. But it paints the sound in the readers mind. Another, the flies reconnoitering on the wall of the ox’s stall. That is an image that is not common to the Christmas story.

Several times I’ve heard preachers ponder what Mary and Joseph may have thought upon their visits from the angel. We all know how our mind can race when someone is bringing uncertain news. We can imagine different outcomes than what is being told to us. Likewise, we can relate to the racing of Maryam’s and Yosef’s mind but the author’s view is so thorough that the reader may think, ‘Yeah, and what about that?’

I enjoyed the Interludes as an opportunity to pause and make a connection with the author. It was like having an interview with the author and seeing why he wrote that section. “But when we pay closer attention, we become aware of the precise nature of Joseph’s dilemma and of his triumph.” This was the theme of the book for me, becoming more aware of Mary and Joseph’s dilemma and victory.

Thank you!

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The book presents interesting points of view of the First Christmas. I found this to be well written and intriguing. The remarks between the different points of view were a bit jarring taking me out of the story. I found some of the remarks very helpful, but it made it hard to get back to the rest of the story. Overall, I thought it was a good book and am happy that I read it. I received an advance copy from NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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I love the story of the First Christmas and could read it many times. I love picturing the birth of Jesus, the smell of the barn, and the lowing of the cattle--just to name a few aspects. I liked what the author did with the book. He started at the beginning, there was no room at the Inn for Mary and Joseph, and then broke it down into chapters. In between each chapter, he described what various people and animals were thinking in that scene and broke it down theologically, in his view. The book was overdone on theology from my view but I loved the rest of it. Thank you to NetGalley for the free e-book ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The First Christmas is a story we never tire of, and this one proves to be quite unique.

The author begins as an exhausted Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem seeking shelter.

Chapter 1 is from the innkeepers point of view. He views the couple as just another hard luck story yet for some reason the pair strike something in his heart. But there is simply and absolutely no room, after all he’s not God who can create something,out of nothing…he thinks.

Chapter 2 is the viewpoint of the Ox. The Ox, a sociable fellow, and is excited to see them come into his stable. At least he’s excited to have the company of a lovely female donkey. Then he goes into a litany of how different donkeys and oxen are but just how tolerable he can be. The Ox gets to witness the actual birth of the child and is then perplexed that neither the mother or father licked the child clean. He racks this up to the fact that human ways are different from animal ways and that’s okay.

Chapter 3 is the shepherd's point of view.The shepherds discuss at length the phenomenon they just witnessed in the sky. They set out the next morning to find The Messiah. In Bethlehem folks think they are nuts asking where to find a baby lying in a trough. They finally find Jesus and bow down and worship him and present him their humble gifts.

Chapter 4 is Mary’s story which actually focuses on the Annuncuation. After all to us mortals that is where the drama begins,

Chapter 5 is Joseph’s thoughts, where he actually at one point compares his situation akin to Hosea’s. There is no comparison here at all, but remember Joseph has the mind of a mortal.

Chapter 6, you see the pattern now, is the Wise Men. The author discusses conflicts here such as we’re there 2 or three Kings or did the arrive from Persia or India? I found this chapter long and wordy and maybe a little speculative for this reader. The wise men story comes from the gospel of Matthew.

Chapter 7 is the donkey’s tale.

Lastly is the epilogue.


Between each chapter the author includes Interludes as an opportunity to pause and make a connection with the author to gain an understanding as to why he wrote that account in such varying points of view.

Readers of any background will be intrigued by this beautiful reimagining of the Christmas tale.

Some of his interpretations were a bit out there, but overall it was an interesting mix of story, analyzing, and asking the reader to reflect and think for themselves.

I know this is not a book for everyone, but I hope you can enjoy this sweet story with thoughts of finding God, light, hope, joy and self reflection inside yourself and then look for Him in the outside world, we encounter each day,

Thank you St. Martin’s Press, ,the publisher, and Netgally for my free review copy, all opinions are my own!

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As fascinating as this was, I felt that this was a an outline for the professor teaching a college course in religion. Especially the 'Interludes" where he was rationalizing his chosen characters and his version of the Nativity.
Had he left those out, I would have given this story a 5 star rating.
No matter what you believe, this story gives a different and, wonderful interpretation of the first Christmas.

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Interesting perspective on the very first Christmas. The author reiterates the known story, and then interjects another version of the story.

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This is such a different take on the first Christmas. It is told from the perspective of the characters in the story with a lot of interesting history mixed in.

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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.

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This was such an interesting, original and thoughtful take on the story of the First Christmas, covering various perspectives within the story as well as a broad perspective in terms of beliefs. Very interesting.

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A wonderful way of explaining the nativity story in a simple manner that is accessible to many people. Using a narrative format makes the telling less formidable and opens the opportunity for more people to want to enjoy this beautiful tale.

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I'll start by saying this is not the type of book I read, but was offered it by the publisher and NetGalley. I know this story very well, but was surprised and pleased to see that it was broken up into chapters by character (including animals) along with comparisons to the story with different bible viewpoints and even a smattering of other religions. This made me appreciate this book even more by breaking it down and viewing these extra chapters as a study. The animal chapters were very cute and actually showed prejudices and human characteristics showing none of us are immune.

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Stephen Mitchell brings The First Christmas to life in a whole new way by telling the story of the nativity from the points of view of all of those involved in the story (including each of the animals). He also helps readers understand the events as they would have been viewed by the laws and culture of the time. The combination of the two makes this book a stand-out and one I highly recommend.

My thanks to St. Martin's Essentials who permitted me to read an ARC of this novel via Netgalley. The book is scheduled to be published on 11/9/21. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely offered.

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As a Christian, you have a certain perspective of the Nativity that has been taught and accepted. As someone who prides themselves on being open to different perspectives including within spirituality and religion, The First Christmas truly had me inspired and enlightened. Allowing myself to suspend all that I've known to embrace a narrative that took another religion and perspective to place you in the minds of not only the characters but feeling and embracing the moment as if we were there.

What I loved most about the book was the breakdown of each perspective pertinent to this narrative including interludes after each chapter to breakdown down the comparative references. I can see how this might be perceived as breaking the flow of the book but it served a purpose. Each perspective not only told by the people but how amazing to get to experience the point of view of the animals. Those were someone of the most poignant moments in the book, most especially my favorite, the donkey. It's amazing how little people think of how they feel but underestimate the important role they played. They all collectively brought something to the story that will make you feel a bunch of emotions but hopefully takeaway an inspired inner peace and faith in humanity.

The First Christmas was a beautiful narrative that will inspire and expand your imagination. Now, I can understand where others may not be open but keep in mind this is religious fiction. I did my best to judge this objectively purely based on that fact and not allowing my personal beliefs to overshadow my thoughts. It was better than I expected and I believe no matter what your faith or not, you will enjoy this book.

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A work of fiction based on the birth of Jesus. This author was very creative in expressing the point of view of all the participants of the Nativity--including the animals! At times it was hard to wrap my head around what was happening, but yet it produced an entertaining (for lack of a better word) story for the First Christmas.
Just as the Bible states that Mary pondered these events in her heart, so, too, I will be pondering this book during the Christmas season. Quite interesting!

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A Story of New Beginnings
In The First Christmas, Stephen Mitchell brings the Nativity story to vivid life as never before. A narrative that is only sketched out in two Gospels becomes fully realized here with nuanced characters and a setting that reflects the culture of the time. Mitchell has suffused the birth of Jesus with a sense of beauty that will delight and astonish readers.

This is a very interesting look at the Nativity. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the individual. Even an ox and a donkey contribute. We watch as a young Mary struggles to understand what is being asked of her and what it means. Joseph struggles as well.

We hear from the shepherds, the Wise Men, and even the Inn Keeper. Not in any Biblical way either. Just imagine what actual human beings would think and talk about.

I enjoyed the research and all of the interpretations. The story moved me more than the differing biblical ones.

NetGalley/ November 9th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Essentials

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This was an unusual but interesting retelling of Christ’s birth. I liked the Ox and the donkey‘s point of view. I thought the interlude between each chapter interesting too.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

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This is a reimagining of the birth of Christ. Told from multiple points of view, including the Innkeeper, the ox, and the shepherds, this is a very interesting version of the birth of Christ and the people that it immediately affected. If you are looking fo a new take on the birth of Christ and a good story for the season, then pick this one up.

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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.

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This was the first time I have read this author. This book was a pretty interesting story about that First Christmas. I had to read it several chapters at a time, to take in all in. A GOOD READ.

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A new look at the first Christmas. The chapters tell the story but the view is divided into the different players, even the ox has a story. In between the chapters is the verse references with . I find it interesting to see what time has added to the story. Christmas has certainly become a retail bonanza. This book is a reminder of what is important in the message of the birth of Christ.

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I enjoyed this book, some chapters more than others. This is the story of The First Christmas as viewed through the eyes of some of those who were there including The Inn Keeper, an ox, Mary's donkey, the shepherds and the wisemen. Stephen Mitchell took scripture as well as what was known about the customs and history of the time and told the story we know so well from scripture. This is not the picture we westerners have imagined over the years with an angelic Mary holding baby Jesus with halos shining, but an exhausted Mary leaning up against the wall of a stable, a scared couple who could be stoned or killed at any moment for pre-marital sex or infidelity, and two animals who lovingly looked on and observed the miracle of human birth (I loved the comment about the ox wondering why nobody licked the afterbirth off the baby). This is a story of a Miracle, strength, acceptance, belief and love that is the central tenet of Christianity, a relatively short story in the gospels fleshed out in an interesting way that enable me to see, feel and experience the story in new ways. Scripture is included and although there are questions, it is still the story that I know and love. I did a read/listen with this book. The author also narrated the book which allowed him to use his voice to provide emphasis where he wanted, but I found it slow and rather mundane. In this case, I definitely enjoyed reading this one more than listening. If you are looking for a different take on the First Christmas, I recommend you pick this one up.

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This was a fascinating book. The nativity story is told from the perspective of the oxen and the donkey present in the stable. They witness the birth and visits from shepherds and wise men who can see the future. There’s a lot of depth to this story, from the introspection of the ox to the patience of the donkey.

The author discusses Scripture in alternating chapters that form the backbone for the story. It’s very powerful and meaningful. He discusses Mary and Joseph as a young pious Jewish couple, and looks at how each of them might have taken the angel’s visitation and Mary’s subsequent pregnancy from a human point of view. Was Mary concerned about her reputation? Did Joseph feel resentful?

I highly recommend this book although the Scriptural discussion may put some readers off. 4 stars.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The First Christmas is a unique retelling of the birth of Jesus, using the traditions of the time and an interesting cast of characters.

Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of varying individuals from Mary’s donkey to the innkeeper to the animals gathered to witness the birth of Christ. What I found unique was the marrying of what I (Christians) know from the scriptures with the actual living conditions of the time, the traditions, the mindset, and what had to be, at times, terrifying to those witnessing these events.

The First Christmas is not a romance, but it is a love story – one that continues to this day and beyond.

I enjoyed the experience and felt it was a totally unique way to bring us into the reality of the world at that time.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

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This is a different take on the first Chritmas. It was actually done through the eyes of others. I felt it hit a lot of points that I knew from reading the bible. It also opened my eyes to other things that may or may not have happened.



** I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review**

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This is the story of the Nativity told through the eyes of some of the people that were there, including an ox and the donkey that carried Mary. Each chapter is unique to each individuals perspective. I enjoyed the story told this way and to read how the people from that era probably felt about it. They didn't realize the real meaning of the birth, but did know that it was something special

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This is a lyrical telling of the nativity story, seen through the eyes of each character. Yes, even the animals. You will feel the feelings, and smell the smells. Worth reading.

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The First Christmas was an interesting retelling of the nativity story. This story is told from the POV of the seven characters directly involved in the Christmas story: The Innkeeper, The Ox, The Shepherds, Maryam (Mary), Yosef (Joseph), The Wise Men, and The Donkey.
These chapters are fairly short, with an interlude in between where the author details his research, his thoughts, etc. I enjoyed most of the chapters, even if/when they conflicted to what I’ve been taught in my Baptist upbringing. The Ox and The Donkey chapters were very entertaining (I mean-we are getting the thoughts of the animals who witnessed the birth of Jesus!). The Shepherds was pure entertainment! These guys where very down to earth, comical, but understood the significance of the birth of Jesus. Maryam and Yosef’s stories were also interesting in the presentation and provided some thoughts to ponder. The Wise Men’s chapter was my least favorite-it took a hard left turn to what I’ve been taught about the nativity story for 50 years.
Overall, I enjoyed reading a different perspective on the Christmas story. At the end of the day, as a believer, I love hearing of the birth of my savior, and how it directly impacted those around Him.
Thank you to @netgalley and @stmartins for the advanced e-copy of #thefirstchristmas.

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THE FIRST CHRISTMAS: A STORY OF NEW BEGINNINGS by Stephen Mitchell opens with the innkeeper’s story of Mary and Joseph trying to find room at his inn. Something tells the innkeeper he needs to find them a space to stay, so he offers them a stable behind the Inn. The stable only houses one ox, who continues the story and tells about the birth of Jesus during the quiet of the night. The shepherds keep the story going with their tale of the angels visiting them and telling them to go to Bethlehem to see this baby.

Between each of these and other characters’ stories, the author places what he calls an Interlude, explaining how his story is slightly embellished or enhanced from the original, scant details recorded in the Books of Matthew and Luke in the Bible. Mary continues the story with a lengthy and imaginative description of all the things that led up to this point that she is pondering in her heart. Joseph then tells his story and the struggles he has faced in a seemingly impossible situation, as he wrestles with his feelings for Mary.

Mr. Mitchell continues with the Wise Men’s story, giving us a long history on them and then bringing them to the stable as “seers” who spend a few quiet moments “seeing” the entire life of Jesus unfold before them, both real and imagined. The donkey has the last word … oh yes, she reminds us that donkeys do indeed speak, as she regales us with the story of Balaam.

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS: A STORY OF NEW BEGINNINGS by Stephen Mitchell is a charming fictional mixture of the Biblical story of the Nativity, along with folklore and other literary works. Mr. Mitchell takes a lot of liberties in imagining delightful conversations between humans and angels and in supposing that animals can speak and tell their stories. He brings in many Old Testament prophecies and New Testament scriptures, as well as Jewish law in his character’s ruminations. He uses the works of several artists' depictions to enhance our imaginations of the Nativity story, to get us to think about how our own lives measure up. In the end, Mr. Mitchell tells us that Christmas isn’t just about what happened inside the stable, but what happens inside each of us that counts.

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A very unique way of looking at the nativity scene. Each chapter is told from a different perspective from each of the characters that would have been there that night. And then there is an interlude between each chapter that the author explains why he feels like his thoughts as each character would be accurate. He digs into the thoughts and emotions of everyone and everything, even the animals.
I think my favorite chapter was of the Ox. It was humorous yet heartfelt.
This made me ponder the first Noel in a new light, and I think that was the author’s intention.
Thanks to St. Martins Essential and Netgalley for this Arc in exchange for my review.

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I really enjoyed this unique take on the story of the Nativity, particularly from the points of views of the animals. The additional historical context gave an extra layer of understanding. I'll definitely be rereading this one next year.

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I loved it. I love the story of the first Christmas and this was a beautiful, enchanting story. There isn't much to say except that I loved this one.

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An interesting and lovingly researched perspective from several of the main players at the birth of Christ. Bound to appeal to viewers of the widely popular THE CHOSEN, Mitchell's imaginative landscape as mingled with theology may not be for every reader; but his dedication to exploring the magnificent event in human terms is definitely worthy of our respect. To add, in a literal sea of Christmas books, this one is an original!

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MAGICAL RETELLING
Stephen Mitchell, revered author, translator, and anthologist, offers a poetic view of the first Christmas. It’s a fictional retelling, with chapters voiced by the Innkeeper, the Ox, the Shepherds, the Donkey. Accessible to all faiths, touching, magical, and highly recommended. Available now. Thanks to the author, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the review copy; opinions are mine.

#StephenMitchellauthor #TheFirstChristmas#StMartinsEssentials

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You don’t need a religious background to be entertained *and* educated by this account of the first Christmas, and most will likely want to suggest this title to a friend for thoughtful discussion.

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This was a fabulous interpretation of the Nativity. It is beautifully written and I will read it again. When you finish this book pass it on to your loved ones.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was a nice little read for Advent in which the author imagines the Nativity from the point of view of those who participated. I enjoyed the chapters about Mary and Joseph the most, as one must really give Joseph credit for being so accepting of the fact that his wife was pregnant and he was not the father, and the horror of thinking she had committed adultery. Normally this ended in the woman being stoned to death! Also, thinking about Mary realizing she was going to give birth to an extraordinary child. She had to be thinking what a great responsibility this would be, and also what Joseph would think.

However, I also really enjoyed the other POVs, especially those of the animals!

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