The Nativity Story

Dear Friends:

Dori and I just returned from seeing “The Nativity Story.”

Seldom have I been so moved by a film, particularly at the climactic end.

Wicked Herod - paranoid, cunning, cruel and captive to the dictates of distant Caesar.

His oppressed, restive, and resentful subjects, ready to rebel at the least hope of a deliverer, even though they know they will likely end up on a cross.

Rough, heartless Roman legionnaires.

Suspicious, self-righteous relatives, “friends” and neighbors.

Cousin Elizabeth, who understands.

The Wise men - learned, searching, at times humorous, but fundamentally and finally reverent.

The long, arduous journey – nothing romantic about it.

Donkeys, dumb cattle, noble horses, bleating lambs.

The grizzled old shepherd who has for decades waited for the Messiah.

Joseph – a just and kind man who seeks to win the respect and affection of his outcast fiancée.

And Mary. Let me just say that I loved her from the first.

As I did the gorgeous, haunting music, especially at the end. Melodies old and new add depth of power to an already intense script.

The film is mostly faithful to the biblical narrative, with necessary fictional dialogue to fill out the story.

Yes, the legend of the Wise Men has been incorporated, but in a way that I found helpful.

And the lighting in the stable seemed at first a bit too much like a Christmas card, until I realized that maybe it actually was like that.

Friends, this is a movie that has impacted me deeply. I shall never read the familiar story in the same way.

When I asked how long it would be showing, they couldn’t tell me, except to say that sales are only moderately good.

So, gather a group and go see “The Nativity Story,” before it is replaced by trash.

Unless you are hopelessly jaded, you will be glad you did.

And who knows, there may be hope even for the jaded.

Your fellow-pilgrim,