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Jesus is the Reason for the Season as brilliantly portrayed in The Nativity Story.
Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s already the 7th of December? Where does the time go?? Busy shopping, baking, and doing good charitable works? Frankly, this week has been full of doctor visit after doctor visit and the rescheduling of doctor visits too. Boy, will I know that I am well again when I don’t have to think about seeing the doctor for a whole year.
But on to good things… since this time of year, it is so easy to miss the true meaning of Christmas and get bogged down with busyness and fun t.v. programs, I wanted to share as part of blogmas my top 5 favorite reasons to watch The Nativity Story every Christmas season with y’all.
#1 – It is the Reason for the Season.
With so many cringe-worthy Lifetime and Hallmark-style Christmas romances on Netflix these days (yes, I’m looking at you The Princess Switch) it is nice to be able to watch a movie that helps bring the focus back to the true Reason for the Season. And Director Catherine Hardwicke did such a good job bringing the Bible story to the big screen in her 2006 drama.
#2 – The Relationship between Mary and Joseph.
Typically Joseph is sidelined in both Christmas music (the exception usually is Joseph’s Lullaby) and the Christmas story as a 1-dimensional character but Hardwicke and the fabulous Oscar Isaac (Joseph) do a fabulous job of showing us why we should be cheering for Joseph from Day #1. An absolute favorite scene has to be when Joseph (SPOILER) buys back Mary’s Father’s donkey. Knowing that soon that donkey will be carrying Mary to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus, you just have to say awww. Or at least, I do every year. 🙂 My 2nd favorite scene of the couple occurs when Keisha Castle-Hughes (Mary) acknowledges her changed feelings of affection and respect for Joseph in a quiet moment that should you blink you might miss it.
#3. The relationship between Mary and Elizabeth/Zachariah.
Perhaps the movie is at its best when demonstrating the relationships between the cast of characters. It is a human story filled with heart and hope and faith. Shohreh Aghdashloo as Elizabeth and Stanley Townsend as Zachariah have relatively small parts in the story but from the moment Zachariah hears the Angel of God in the temple to the moment when Mary is quietly watching the couple with their baby boy you know that not only are these actors special but the story they tell is too. And again cheers to Hardwicke for removing the expected pageantry from the story and focusing on the real pains and joys and fears people went through. Can you imagine how scary it was for Zachariah and Elizabeth and Mary? And yet the greatest joy of their lives was taking place. I confess I never thought much of Zachariah when reading the Biblical account (focused more on Mary and Joseph) but due to Townsend’s performance, I now see him through a whole different lens.
|The Nativity Story (2006). (C) New Line Cinema
#4. The relationship between Mary and her parents.
Yep, it’s another relationship I’m applauding. Hiam Abbass as Mary’s mother (Anna) and Shaun Toub as Mary’s Father (Joachim) are brilliant in their realistic depictions of parents who love their daughter, are struggling to pay the taxes, and don’t know how to react to the news of Jesus’ conception. Again, Hardwicke fleshes out this man and woman from the Bible. You can relate to them. You can feel for them. You walk away feeling that you know them and better understand Mary for that.
|The Nativity Story (2006). (c) New Line Cinema.
#5. The Humanity of the characters.
The names given to Mary’s parents hint at a Catholic origin to the movie as does the Vatican City premiere but I would contest that this is not a story of “Saints” but of sinners who’ve been redeemed by having their lives touched by Jesus. These are all human men and women who have faults, sins, fears, doubts, uncertainties, and sweat through the tough times. And that’s probably what makes the movie stand out so much. No one is put on a pedestal but rather they are given the opportunity to grow and learn and discover the gift of faith. And through these well fleshed-out depictions of men and women we’ve read about countless times in the Bible, we can have a better understanding of the majesty of The Nativity Story and Reason for the Season.