I planned to spend the last week of Advent focusing intently on the real meaning of Christmas. This became a challenge when the week began with a bare tree in the living room, most of the gifts still in the stores, packages to mail, meals to plan and groceries to buy. (My children visit the week after Christmas.) It became clear that I wasn’t going to sit home, read the Bible and meditate. I was going to mingle with the crowds. How would I concentrate on “what Christmas is all about?” It’s not about food, music, family, gifts. It’s about John 3:16. God loved the world. He sent his Son.
This week from Netflix I rented The Nativity Story. I had seen it a few years ago and wanted to see it again. This movie may become a new Christmas tradition for me. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, this film (2006) is said to be meticulously researched and appears to portray realistically the lifestyle and mores of the time. I do not know where the movie was made but the landscape of the 100 mile arduous journey Joseph and Mary made seems authentic. I find most films about Biblical events either syrupy sweet, over the top (think Cecil B. DeMille), or pushing the directors theological agenda. The Nativity Story is none of these.
Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac are believable as Mary and Joseph. They are supported by actors (unfamiliar to me) from several countries with distinguished credits in their own rights. I would recommend adding this movie to your list of Holiday favorites.
Merry Christmas. Christ is born. Hallelujah!