When was the First Christmas?

(A note from Don: I am again re-publishing this essay I wrote the Christmas after the death of my father and grandmother. It was first published in 1981 in the diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Toronto. It seem appropriate given the political and social climate of the past year across the globe.)


When was the First Christmas?nativity 6

It is being celebrated this year, last year, next year        . . .

The First Christmas away from home…with the feelings of loneliness; the adventure of being on your own; hoping to spend the day with a friend.

The First Christmas after learning that a loved one has a terminal illness…. trying to make this the best Christmas ever, to be able to hold onto it next year and for the years to come.

The First Christmas for a child, with toys that are too large, and understanding not yet developed, but with a magic that will never be forgotten.

The bittersweet First Christmas following a separation or divorce… the feeling of freedom, looking for new roots, trying to forget and yet still remember.

The joyful First Christmas you share with that special person in your life… knowing that you will have these memories forever.

The Christmas following your discovery of Santa’s identity…disappointment, triumph, the first tastes of growing up.

That difficult first Christmas after the death of a husband or wife, child or parent…   looking ahead, trying to diminish the grief; warming the cold you feel by the fires of memories’ of better times and Christmases past.

Each First Christmas is the re-creation of that very First Christmas in the stable… where hope was born into the midst of poverty and confusion…

Where expectation gave birth to life, and that life gives new meaning to the lives of others.

Each Christmas is the First Christmas,

Hope born anew… Life re-entering the dim world as the Light to help us see our way.

Blessings & Joy

Don & Nancy

About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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