We all know the Christmas story. The little town of Bethlehem, the baby Jesus born in a stable to the Virgin Mary, the shepherds, and the magi. Perhaps, nowadays, more than two thousand years after that birth, with all the books, movies, and songs about Christmas, the story has become so familiar that we may not view the miracle of the first Christmas with the awe and wonder that it deserves. FORMED has a video that is just what you need, The Story of the Nativity, which takes you back to the time and place where Christ was born. It uses interviews with Catholic scholars, supplemented with works of art by, among others, Fra Angelico and Rembrandt, to tell the story of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’s miraculous conception, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the Star of Bethlehem, and the birth of Jesus. And that’s not all. Nativity also tells the extraordinary story of what happened before the Nativity, the story of those Old Testament prophets – Isaiah, Micah, and others – who centuries before the miracle in Bethlehem foretold the birth of Christ. It’s only sixty minutes and, at the end of it, you will not just be merry, you will be profoundly merry.
Good as it is, The Story of the Nativity is unlikely to appeal to young people. But FORMED has several Christmas offerings for youngsters in the early grades, including Brother Francis: O Holy Night, an animated presentation of the events that led up to the birth of Christ.
Another is Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree. It’s Christmas Eve in the year 722, and the young orphan Kristoph is traveling with the missionary priest Boniface when they come upon a group of men worshiping a sacred oak tree and preparing to sacrifice the son of a village chieftain. What happens next recalls the German legend of how evergreen trees became part of the celebration of Christmas.