The Nativity Story, ©MMVI New Line Productions.
Ben Hur, The Passion, The Jesus Movie. These movies have stirred the hearts of many movie goers through the decades. Now, The Nativity Story will take its place among these.
In this betrayal of the Biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ, we are treated to a glimpse of what everyday life was like at that time in history. According to the website for the movie, many historians and theologians were consulted to assure accuracy.
For the most part, the storyline followed the accounts from Matthew 1 & 2 and Luke 1 & 2. We get to meet Zacharias and Elizabeth. We are introduced to the magi. We are also given a glimpse into the intrigue of Herrod. Some may think undo liberties were taken in filling dialogues and storylines, but given the short attention given the subject matter by the Bible, the conjecture used by the afore mentioned research adds to majesty of the film.
Mary was portrayed in a real and plain manner. Her question to Elizabeth summed up in a nutshell the predicament, the emotions, lack of understanding, and fears this young woman faced. She says, “why would God choose someone unimportant like me?” This could be said of most Christians today trying to understand their own walks given to them by God.
Joseph was brought to life. Here is a man expecting to lead a quiet life with a new wife in an obscure village. He is righteous and just and yet he must deal with the laws expectations brought about by Mary’s pregnancy. The glimpse into those emotions bring a glimpse into my own life as I struggle with much less important things. I related well to Joseph.
The magi nearly stole the show. They brought a bit of comic relief. While they would bicker among themselves they worked together to reach their goal, a goal set for them by the prophecies of the Old Testament. Their search and diligence brought them to Bethlehem and the stable. I would have preferred that they come to the house Joseph and Mary eventually came to reside in (Matthew 2:11) the visit at the stable was satisfactorily done. It did play to the view of the nativity many hold today.
The shepherds were almost showstoppers. They were ugly, comely, and dirty. A real sense of the outcast-ness of the shepherds was not difficult to grasp at all. The main shepherd who actually had dialogue helps to voice the expectation of the awaited Messiah. Mary asks him if he knew what his gift from God was to which he replied, “Hope for a gift.” When he came to the manger to worship Jesus, the release of years and decades of waiting for that hope exploded on the screen and in my heart.
While the portrayal of Gabriel in the movie was well done, it was disappointing that the angelic host was not shown with him appearing to the shepherds. If the movie had a shortcoming, it would the lack of angelic participation to the shepherds.
The Nativity Story is an excellent achievement. I was glad to share it with my family. We will be glad when the DVD is released so we may view at home in our leisure. If you have not seen it, please make plans to do so. It will be a wonderful compliment to your Christmas celebrations.
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:20