The Spirit Behind the Season

A newly released compilation of poems underscores the true reason for the season, detailing the Nativity story in a collection 25 years in the making


The holiday season brings with it anticipation for many things. Family get gatherings filled with food, drink, music and song, for starters. 

Kids young and old unwrapping their presents under the tree on Christmas morning after writing their list and checking it twice. Yes, somewhere down the line, Christmas became commercial. 

Diluting Christmas 

Maybe it was with the advent of the ‘Coca Cola Santa,’ big budget Santa Claus parades, high-production holiday flicks and chart topping tinsel-filled tunes that are cranked out of every radio in every mall and car in the western world from November to January.

Yes, these are all the things we love about Christmas, but it has also diluted something, a certain meaning for this particularly personal time of year for so many that is much more than wrapped packages and blindingly decorated trees. 

For so many of us, Christmas is a time of intimate reflection, of the perseverance of the human spirit, and indeed, of faith. The Nativity story is one that has been passed down from father and mother to son and daughter for generations, one that has defined Christmas, long before presents and cola and Kris Kringle. 

The story of that baby, swaddled in a manger, all that would do when there was no room and little in the way of cosy accommodations, is the bedrock of the Christian faith, and a symbol of the true meaning of Christmas for millions across the globe.

A Dedicated Life 

Father Greg Hogan knows that reality more than most. He has dedicated his life to the service of the higher calling, of selflessness and serenity and helping those who the rest of the world turned an eye and heart. 

He has been something of a scribe of the Nativity story and the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ for 25 years and counting, documenting his unique take on the tale in poems for over two decades. 

For 2018, Father Hogan, at the behest of friends and colleagues – including Monsignor Dennis Walsh and Steve Dray of the local Knights of Columbus – compiled the poems into a collection – Nativity: A Collection of Christmas Poetry. 

“Some people call them poems, and for them they are poems. For others there’s a message,” Father Hogan shared with The Herald, still very much active and bright at the fine age of 92. 

Father Hogan maintains that his collection isn’t so much poetry, but efforts that have a distinct rhythm and flow,  though he hopes people will make of his work what they will.

“It’s a nice feeling,” he shared of publishing his collection, noting that, even with the two additional poems he’s written that aren’t in the book, 2018 will be his final year to put pen to paper on the subject.

For our full and complete interview with Father Hogan pick up Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 5, 2019 issue of The Newfoundland Herald, in stores and online now! 

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