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Create a new tradition this year with your family. Watch a Christmas movie and not just any… but one that tells the Christmas story. Spend some time with the Gospel message.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ 

Matthew 2:1-2

“and she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

– Luke 2:7

The Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965

Charlie Brown is struggling to find meaning during the Christmas season and the usual festivities just aren’t enough. He finally shouts, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” That is when blanket-carrying Linus speaks up and quotes Luke 2, the Christmas story.

It’s a moving speech and gets at the heart of Christmas in a simple but profound way.

The Star, 2017 (animated)

The story of the animals, camels of the Wiseman and the donkey, follows the usual cartoon plot of the weak struggling against the strong, with lots of physical action and funny dialogue. They merge together the two birth stories in the gospels and move a few things around but it is a great family movie.

The Nativity Story, 2006

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Beautifully filmed, we get a glimpse of life for Mary and Joseph as well as their Journey to Bethlehem. There is some humor with the Magi and humanity in the shepherds. This is a perfect family movie at Christmas.

Ed Mcnulty with Visual parables, asks these questions:

  1. What were some of the touches designed to show the humanity of Mary, and what do you think of them?
  2. How does the film effectively show what the pregnant Mary must have faced upon her return from her stay with Elizabeth and Zechariah?
  3. What are the various theories as to the nature of the Christmas star, and what do you think of the one that the filmmakers decided upon?
  4. How was the encounter with the old shepherd a nice moment of grace?
  5. What did you think of the way in which the visit of the shepherds and the magi were handled? Do you agree that the scenes seemed artificial (remember the stream of light from the star illuminating Mary as if it were a cosmic spotlight?), or did they satisfy you?
  6. As in past years, there will be Hollywood films using Christmas either as a backdrop to a story or suggest that some sentimental kindness is the “real meaning” of the season. How is this film “the real deal” when it comes to the meaning of Christmas?