Friday, December 8

My take on The Nativity Story film...

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!


Anonymous said...

Life-long virginity? I thought Mary had children after Jesus? Didn't the Bible say something about his own brothers not accepting him when he began his ministry?

Courtney said...

Emma! Thank you for this review! My thoughts on the film are the same. I'm not sure of the Roman Church's position on whether St. Joseph had adult children, but I am very certain of the Blessed Mother remaining a perpetual virgin. Dare I say that in that regard this movie has a very Protestant slant.

To Mrs. Huckabay: I'll try to find the time to dig up references on Mary not having children after Christ, but I bet Emma's husband has them closer at hand.

Don't know if you want to go down that road, Emma, but it might not be a bad idea, especially in light of this movie. I volunteer, if you don't think it fits with the purpose of your blog!

theups said...

Life-long virginity?? How do you explain the brothers and sisters of Jesus???

Also, where does it say in the Bible that Joseph was married before???

Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

The idea that virginity is somehow more holy or pure than sex within marriage, the way God designed it, is not only NOT Biblical, but dangerous in my opinion. Of course, if you accept that church tradition is as valid as the Bible, then this probably doesn't hold much water.

I say it's dangerous because it places women in an awkward position. Throughout history, you can see a pattern of what is called the "virgin/whore dichotomy" in the way women are treated and thought of, and I think it all goes back to the idea that Mary was a lifelong virgin, and that for females to emulate her example makes us more holy. It led to the idea that sex was bad or dirty, and it is neither in the proper context! I do not believe this goes with God's plan for us. What would be wrong with Mary having a sexual relationship in her marriage to Joseph and producing other children? There is no sin in that.

Cherish the Home said...

I have gone back and forth most of the day about whether or not to say anything because I don't normally make it a practice to debate doctrine or theology on blogs. However I just can't stay silent. Mary was **NOT** a virgin her entire life. Scripture makes this clear:

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 2:24-25)

This Scripture clearly states that Joseph abstained but only until Mary had delivered Jesus. After that they had a normal marriage.

Church history is fine but when it contradicts Scripture then it is wrong and the inspired word of God is correct.

theups said...

Emma, this is leaning a lot toward catholicism. Catholicism has a lot of extremely questionable beliefs that should make any Christian uncomfortable.

Read about the catholic church here...

Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

Mrs. B.,

This is absolutely correct. The Bible is the final authority.

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