Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The French drama critic Ferdinand Brunetiere observed that the essence of drama is conflict. The two most popular American Christmas movies illustrate this. In It’s a Wonferful Life, George Bailey just can’t cash in on the promise to escape his hick town. And in A Christmas Story, Raphie just can’t get anyone to promise him a beloved Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. TheÂ films capture and hold our interest as problems are encountered and overcome.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Nativity Story also considers promises, in this case the promises of God. The movie isÂ about God coming through on his promises,Â cosmically to the People of God, and then individually to the young girl, Mary; the aged woman, Elizabeth, and her even older husband, Zechariah; the magi; the shepherd with the gift of faith. The characters have no doubt that their God will come through for them, no matter how extraordinaryÂ His promise,Â and He does.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â And not even the power and ruthlessness of the Enemy working through King Herod withÂ the world’s greatest army at his disposal can stop God from keeping his word. This fact should, and does, provide great comfort and joy.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The film’s lack of drama or conflict, otherwise a defect in a human-centered narrative,Â testifies to God’s faithfulness when He is the center of our story. WhatÂ could be a better gift to receive on Christmas than the reminder of what we know deep down inside: Despite our circumstances, and despite what all our senses tell us,Â in the words of Jehosaphat, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.”
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Nativity Story brings good news of great joy for all people: The promises God made to you are here already, available to you right now, like a newborn infant, but not yet in all the glory they will be, as the childÂ grows in your heart, and takes over your life.