By Jeff Borders
Sometimes words are not needed to convey a powerful message. In the new video, “The Christ Child: A Nativity Story” produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is definitely the case. What language that is spoken, is spoken in Aramaic, the language spoken in the time of Christ. This powerful 20 minute video draws on the powerful message of the birth of Jesus Christ and its impact on the world, transporting us to where he was some 2000 years ago in a very real and emotional way.
John Foss of Kaleidoscope Pictures, who wrote and directed the film had this to say about the video:
“We try to present these people as real people, in extraordinary circumstances. We tried to strip away a lot of the pageantry… We wanted to access the story from a really human point of view.”
You can see the toil on a very pregnant Mary as travels to Bethlehem. No ubers, or planes, just a donkey and a lot of walking. You can see the exhaustion in her face. In Bethlehem, we don’t see Joseph shopping around for a room at different inns as is traditionally depicted. Instead we see what is more likely and historically accurate. Joseph is depicted as coming to his family’s home, which is crowded to say the least, with relatives also coming to be counted and taxed.
We often depict Joseph as running frantically from inn to inn, being rebuffed and turned away. However historians and experts have explained that the Greek word “katalyma” used in Luke to describe an “inn”is the same word Luke later uses to describe an upper chamber or guest chamber.
I was touched to see Mary sing a beautiful lullaby to the new born king of kings. Interestingly enough, this part of the video wasn’t scripted. It was improvised by the actress playing Mary, Brooklyn McDaris. The text of the lullaby comes from largely from Psalm 27:1.
There is so much more to this video, the family of the shepherds being visited by an angel, and the wise men coming when Jesus was a small child to present their gifts. In each of these scenes, you can see and feel the emotion and power, with hardly any words spoken. One of the pivotal and more emotional moments for me was watching one of the wise men shed tears of joy as he kneels before what he considers to be his Savior and Redeemer, a young child. It shows the depth of humility that these men must have had to bow down and worship a child.
All that being said, this is probably one of my favorite nativity videos created so far. It has touched me deeply, and I’ve been able to share it with many friends who aren’t of my faith. Even if you don’t ascribe to the teachings of Christianity, I think anyone can appreciate the beauty of the production and the quality of the acting.
If you are interested in learning more about the production, you can read about it here.
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