The Advent season is a beautiful time to unite in prayer through all sorts of art. While many of us enjoy watching some of the same Christmas movies over and over again (claymation classic « The Little Drummer Boy, » anyone?), I have compiled a list of Advent movies, music, art and books that can add new elements of joy and understanding to your family’s Advent journey.
- Family movie night: « The Nativity Story » is a 2005 film that retells the harrowing journey of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem as they prepare for Christ’s birth. The filming, notably featuring a young Oscar Isaac as Joseph, presents a very human retelling of the world’s most famous story — one that acknowledges the moments of shock, fear, awe and most importantly prayer, that brought Christ’s earthly parents to the foot of his manger bed. Parents, may want to make note that the film portrays Mary as having experienced pain during Christ’s delivery. The film is still chock-full of value and worth watching together and discussing after.
- A film to watch and discuss with your secular friends: « The Ultimate Gift » is a 2007 film that, while not explicitly Christian, teaches Christian values such as selflessness, charity and forgiveness. The story centers around a man named Jason, whose inheritance from his billionaire grandfather is a list of altruistic tasks he must complete if wants to earn « The Ultimate Gift. » Along the way, Jason meets a woman and her young daughter, who is dying of leukemia. Jason receives the gift of perspective, as he learns what’s really important in life.
- Put on a movie for the kids: « The Star » is a 2017 animated film that tells the nativity story through an unexpected set of eyes — the manger animals. Mary and Joseph’s trusted donkey steed and the wise men’s camels are joined by all sorts of animal friends as they journey toward Bethlehem, intent on delivering the child savior safely. Though the animals encounter dangers and enemies along the way, even the « bad » animals that tried to stop them are redeemed through friendship This unique telling of the nativity story engages kids and is filled with lots of extra lessons on the importance of kindness and trust. « The Star » features the voice acting skills of Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Gina Rodriguez, Kelly Clarkson and many others.