Like a lot of people, I love lists, and I love the Beliefnet team of gifted bloggers, writers, and editors, but I have to say it's a glaring oversight that "The Nativity Story" doesn't make the list of Top Ten Family Films of 2006, which Sharon Linnea--Beliefnet's Reel Inspirational columnist--compiled.
For years, young people have not had a definitive version of the Christmas story to watch, rent, buy, or give. The closest we've had is the Peanuts special, which at least recites the story. The makers of "The Nativity Story" may not have made an Oscar winner or even an all-time classic, but they made the best we have so far, bringing the drama of the story to life on a screen much bigger and with a sound much broader than the classic Sunday School flannel board lesson. And in our media culture, kids deserve this.
When some people think of classic love stories, they think of Romeo and Juliet, or perhaps something they saw with their first boyfriend. But I think the Christmas story is the greatest love story of all time. Jesus left heaven, became one of us to show us a visible image of an invisible God, lived among us for awhile to know us and to be known, died to make a relationship with God possible and rose from the dead to prove it was all true.
I'd love it if future Christmas seasons brought us sequels that focused on each area of his life, death, and resurrection. Movies have an ability to transcend denominations and sectarian biases and just tell a story, and families are well-served to have something so meaningful to then discuss together.
"The Nativity" may not have some of the accoutrements of the typical feel-good holiday flick, but it's content alone makes it an essential for the spiritual seeker.