Though I found The Nativity Story review below entertaining, I disagree with F.M-G.'s thoughts on the movie. She is incorrect when she says that "It’s a respectful and historically authentic film, and those two assets are rare enough to promise success, both on opening weekend and down the years." This movie was not as historically accurate as F.M-G. tries to make it sound. While it may appeal to the contemporary Christian mind, it does not correspond to the teaching of the ancient Orthodox Christian Church of which F.M-G. is a well-known member:
1. Ss. Joachim and Anna were not poor (as they were portrayed to be in the movie). In fact, they were very wealthy, owning not only a home in Nazareth, but also one in Jerusalem.
2. The Mother of God was the only child of Ss. Joachim and Anna, gifted to them in old age, and for this reason dedicated to the Temple at age three where she remained until age twelve, at which time she was betrothed to the elderly Joseph (or the "Chaste Joseph" as he is called in the Orthodox Church). He was a widower with his own children from his previous marriage and was chosen for Mary not only because of his virtue but more importantly, due to his advanced age (according to Church Tradition he was nearly eighty years old), he was a suitable guardian for her life-long virginity.
3. While it makes the story more dramatic, the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was not made by the youthful and studly Joseph, Mary, and Child alone. It was made by the elderly Joseph, Mary, Child, and Joseph's adult children from his previous marriage.
4. While it is not known exactly when the Wisemen arrived, Church Tradition teaches that they arrived in Bethlehem only after St. Joseph had secured housing for his wife, her Divine Son and his children. (Matthew 2:11)
5. The flight into Egypt did not take place until after the Circumcision of the Lord (the 8th day after His birth) and His presentation at the Temple (the 40th day after His birth).
6. The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents (all of the children killed by Herod in an attempt to eradicate Christ), did not take place on the night of the Nativity, but only afterwards. Some say after the 40th day, others up to two years later.
7. The Wisemen were warned in a dream not to return to their land by way of Herod (Matthew 2:12).
Despite all of this, both my husband and I really enjoyed the movie and are so glad that we went to go see it! Hubby is planning on having Bible study in a few weeks based on Ancient Church Teaching and The Nativity Story. It should have some great discussion!