The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings
Date: November 2021
Duration: 3 hours 58 minutes
“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 listeners.
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.
Listeners of every background will be enchanted by this startlingly beautiful reimagining of the Christmas tale.
A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Essentials
“The First Christmas is a wonderful book, tender and rich with bursts of humor, filled with curious contrivances and surprises. Reading it felt like opening a brightly-wrapped Christmas present and finding a second box (also brightly wrapped) inside, and inside that box a third, and then another, and another, and another. Until, at the very center, in a tiny box, there is a diamond: the wisdom contained within this telling.”--Elizabeth Gilbert
'As is often said about an important and riveting and life-changing event: you had to be there. In The First Christmas, Mitchell puts us there, and the bird and rebirth happen in the reader as well -- no matter how well we know the story. Mitchell's illumined text is a star that leads us to a new understanding of the Bethlehem moments in our lives.' --Julia Alvarez, author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies