Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Nativity Story

One Family. One Journey. One child, who would change the world. Forever.

This is the tag line to the film, The Nativity Story to be released in December this year by New Line Cinema. As the title suggests, the film is about the nativity, focussing on the lives of Mary and Joseph up to the birth of Christ, and two years beyond.

One element of the film that will undoubtedly produce discussion is the way in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, is portrayed. In that vain, I've been reading this week John McArthur's book, Twelve Extraordinary Women. This is what he says of Mary:

"Of all the extraordinary women in Scripture, one stands out above all others as the most blessed, most highly favoured by God, and most universally admired by women. Indeed, no woman is more truly remarkable than Mary. She was the one sovereignly chosen by God - from among all the women who have ever been born - to be the singuar instrument through which He would at last bring the Messiah into the world. Mary herself testified that all generations would regard her as profoundly blessed by God (Luke 1:48). This was not because she believed herself to be any kind of saintly superhuman, but because she was given such remarkable grace and privilege.

While acknowledging that Mary was the most extraordinary of women, it is appropriate to inject a word of caution against the common tendency to elevate her too much. She was, after all, a woman - not a demigoddess or quasi-deiform creature who somehow transcended the rest of her race. The point of her "blessedness" is certainly not that we should think of her as someone to whom we can appeal for blessing but rather that she herself was supremely blessed by God.

She is never portrayed in Scripture as a source or dispenser of grace, but is herself the recipient of God's blessing. Her Son, not Mary herself, is the fountain of grace (Psalm 72:17)....She is certainly a worthy woman to emulate...Her life and her testimony point us consistently to her Son. He was the object of her worship. He was the one she recognized as Lord. He was the one she trusted for everything. Mary's own example, seen in the pure light of Scripture, teaches us to do the same."

There has been an unofficial blog set up following the production of the movie until its release and an interview with Mike Rich the writer of the film in Christianity Today. You can also see a trailer of the film by going to the official website here.

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