Monday, December 04, 2006

The Nativity Story

I should really be writing a sermon that I have to preach in class on Thursday (memorized/from notes nonetheless) but I figure if I'm getting this "throat thing" anyway - I probably won't be able to preach, so maybe I'll have more time to write/work on my sermon anyway? :) At any rate - I went to see the movie "The Nativity Story" with my boyfriend and my roommate and was actually pleasantly surprised. Sidenote - my sermon that I am writing is on Matthew 2:1-12, which deals with some of the same things that this movie covers, so it probably wasn't so smart for me to go see it because I'm confusing some of my research with the movie - but hey - maybe it will help with my imagery?!?!? At any rate - part of me expected to go and be terribly offended by the grossly incorrectness of the movie - that it tried to portray things that Biblical scholars completely disagree on, or things that Jews might find offensive - but it was not that at all. I had read a review of this (granted it was in a slightly biased newspaper) but a review that said it was very good. They said that it was anti-climactic and that the only comic-relief provided in it was in the wise men (which they do make me laugh) and also that Herod was not as mean as he could be in this movie. In my opinion, the people who wrote that article are simply products of the modern cinema gone bad. The story is not supposed to be climactic and blockbuster in the sense that it is exciting and filled with suspense. It was not a tense movie, leaving you wondering what would happen around every turn, but the story itself wasn't supposed to be like that. The story itself was about a lowly birth from a common woman and a fairly unknown, but religiously devout man, in a humble place in a city that wasn't the capital or wasn't the market place etc. Yes there were some suspenseful parts that gave you insight into what life must have been like in that time period - but the story itself wasn't meant to be crazy and stop time in its place. That is what many of the scribes and priests of the time complained about and were confused about. The people were expecting a Messiah in the sens of a great leader who would lead a nation politically, possibly coming in riding on a white horse, a powerful man bringing instant change to the nation. But that is not what God had in mind, that is not what happened, so I commend the director for her portrayal of this movie. It didn't make me upset by anything like that, but it also didn't come across as if it were from a crazy conservative Christian view trying to convert the modern world. I appreciate a visual interpretation of this event that doesn't involve children in bath robes with towels around their head. (Although that is always fun to watch, I just appreciated this depiction because it seemed as real as one might be able to make it.) At any rate - I recommend it for those of you who were considering seeing it anyway - not that its going to change your life or be the most dramatic, best movie you've ever seen. And as that one commentator did mention, its not as if we all don't know the ending of the story anyway... :) But in the end, I'm happy I saw it - now back to this sermon!

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