Tag Archive: the nativity story

Getting to The Nativity

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Last week I shared the story of my friend and her son. About the horrific car accident that took the lives of his two very young children.

Sad WomanMy friend has had to struggle with the worst a parent can deal with. They are not sure if her son will live or join his children in heaven. While I pray for the young man who is only 26, I also pray for my friend to have the strength she will need to get through every day.

It is a difficult thing and I want my friend to know I am here. I also know she has many other people around, she is not alone. But anyone who has gone through this knows that the lonesomeness of the situation feels very real.

In the meantime I try to focus on the season. Our grade school and high school jazz bands just performed at the mall and did a great job. We finally got our tree at Cupola House Tree Farm and it is displayed on our front porch.

Our church had its monthly movie night and we watched The Nativity starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Issac. The movie is from 2006 and was put together quite quickly. But I love it because it tells the story of the Christmas birth beautifully.

The Nativity Story poster IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com

It starts at the time that Mary is about to be betrothed to Joseph. She does not love him or want the marriage. Then she is visited by an angel who tells her she will bear the child of the Lord.

We go through the familiar story until the young family leave for Egypt. It is filled with dangers from Roman tax collectors and the wild elements of the terrain. We see the beauty of faith played out along with fear of the real dangers of everyday life.

While I am not a big fan of Christian cinema because the focus is on the message, here the focus is on learning about these two character who will raise a child like none other. We see that Joseph honestly cares for Mary. And we see how she begins to trust him, even before they leave for the census in Bethlehem.

The quality of the photography of this movie is breathtaking as well. Each scene displays the tone and the feelings of the moment from Zachariah’s moment of doubt to the fear that soldiers on horseback can bring to the joy of a special new born.

I might not show this movie to younger children because of the context but I would certainly allow pre-teens to watch it and be prepared to talk about the story and its themes afterwards.

There will be many points to ponder and wonder about when it is over.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The Best of Christmas

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Do you have your must-watch movies during the holiday season?

I know I do.

Just like those must have treats, the holiday season doesn’t feel right without certain movies.

christmas-cookiesOne holiday treat I miss are the mini pecan pies one of my mom’s friends used to make. She used a cream cheese dough that was perfect with the custard and nut filling. But Chris has been gone for too many years and I never could re-create them.

However, I can make kolachi cookies and plan to do so this year. I think one Saturday will be spent in the kitchen rolling out dough and filling them with apricot or cream cheese filling. I wouldn’t mind making white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies as well. And I think the kids want those peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss in the middle. Somehow it doesn’t seem like Christmas without them.

One thing I have never been able to do is make a decent pie crust until I found a recipe that called for half butter and half shortening. Forget the Martha Stewart food processor version. This recipe never falls apart on me or make me wish I hadn’t attempted a homemade crust. Now I just need to learn how to make those pies with the beautiful leaves and vines.

A Christmas Story Peter IMDb com

Ralphie talks to Santa in “A Christmas Story”; Picture from IMDb.com

As for movies, it is never really Christmas without watching A Christmas Story. Will Ralphie get his rifle? Will his dad win the battle against the furnace? Will his little brother ever get to go outside without looking like the Michelin Man? I know all the answers to these questions and I don’t care if I have seen this movie a thousand times. I love spending time with this family. So much so that we have taken on a family tradition of going to the Chinese buffet for our Christmas meal – without the duck.

Another tradition I like to include is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sometimes I feel as if the music is too much of a minor key while other times it leaves me breathless and happy. But the story is the thing here as Charlie fights against the commercialization of the season. It is symbolized by his friends and family desire to be the biggest, brightest of the season and his rebellion of picking a Christmas tree that is the saddest one on the lot. Joy is the end result as we remember the Christmas story.

The Nativity Story poster IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com

With so many biblical movies in the past few years, the one I lean towards in The Nativity Story (2006) starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Issac as Mary and Joseph. It shows the time in which Mary is betrothed – unwillingly- to Joseph. A message from an angel changes her life, puts her in great danger, and challenges Joseph to act with faith. While the movie was made quickly, I find it beautiful to watch and deeply compelling. Each character grows more precious in my eyes as I come to understand their bravery, knowledge, and wisdom.

All of these are watchable by many member of the family. But the one I love most of all is Love Actually. I watch it with the husband or girlfriends because it has enough swear words and sexual situations to be uncomfortable with my adult children or mother.

Love, Actually IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com.

That is despite it being a movie that is best for late-teen to adult viewing. And yet, what I love about this movie is its message of hope in most cases. That we can find love with the right person. It’s just that there are many definitions of love in this movie and not all of them are happy. Couples are challenged, find that while love exists it cannot work for them, or that the person they love the most is never who they expected. And all of this takes place during the Christmas season.

Without any of these my Christmas is a little more lackluster, a little less teary, a little less hopeful.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


This week is Thanksgiving.


Image by Jzlomek

At the quiet moments we are trying to remember why we are thankful. We are happy for having a job, having a roof over our head and the ability to put on this meal. We are thankful for healthy kids and good enough health for ourselves.


All of us have friends and relatives going through rough patches – lost jobs or serious health issues. My cousins are mourning the loss of their mother just two Thanksgivings ago. I pray for their hearts to be healed even though I can’t imagine losing my mother yet.


In the hustle and bustle of this holiday, there is cooking to be done and favorite dishes to get on the table. Green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, mince meat pie, and pumpkin pie. And don’t forget the whipped cream. Some of you may enjoy the tussle of Black Friday shopping or giving a local business some money on Small Business Saturday.


There is no doubt this will be one busy week.


It is also the beginning of the holiday season, the ramp up to Christmas and all that goes with it. Band concerts, holiday plays, parties, sports tournaments.


So what do you do to relax?


When it comes to family watching movies together, it can be tricky. Our whole immediate family loves Kung Fu Panda. Perhaps it is because we like Jack Black but this movie is really fun. My dad is not a big fan and has said “I am not watching a Panda movie.” Fair enough, I say.


Finding that middle ground movie can be difficult. My dad likes movies with chase scenes and explosion that I do not appreciate for their language content. Perhaps that is why some holiday movies surpass all of that. They allow all family members to have something everyone can relate to without being too objectionable.



Poster image from IMDb.com

Movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and What a Wonderful Life are heart warming movies that everyone could watch although I do not think many kids are really interested in the latter movie.


That is when you bring out movies such as Elf in which Will Ferrell plays a man who was a foundling that found its way into Santa’s bag and the North Pole. Once he becomes a super-sized adult, Santa lets Buddy the elf know his true heritage and sends him on his way to New York City to find his father.


It is a magical movie with a great chase scene and some great comedic moments. Most of it is pretty safe for kids. But here is hoping they do not ask you to decorate the house as fast as Buddy can.


Poster image from IMDb.com

There is one movie I would suggest for the weekend is The Nativity Story starring Kasha Castle-Hughes as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Many people will recount how Christ is being taken out of Christmas but how are they keeping him there? I find that when I watch this movie about Mary and her life in the months before the baby Jesus is born, I gain greater understanding of both Mary and Joseph.


The movie allows us to better appreciate the times in which Mary and Joseph were living as well as how the dangers of their trip to Bethlehem. Director Catherine Hardwicke put together a rich movie filled with the sights and sounds of the era that recounts a story many of know by heart in parts. The other parts, she has brought to life so that we can imagine these miracles once more.



Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.