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Family, friendly film takes audiences on Journey to Bethlehem

I don’t go to the movie theater very often, but in November I went to see Journey to Bethlehem not once, but twice (a first for me). It came out around my birthday, so my family and I went to see the movie together as a birthday gift. They prepared me well, too; my sister made sure to play the music for me several times beforehand so I was excited to see the new movie.

The movie was incredible, and I immediately wanted to see it again, partially for the sake of watching it and partially to support a good movie. With all the movies coming out tearing down traditional morals and family values, I was excited to support a good, Christian movie appropriate for the whole family.

Journey to Bethlehem is an uplifting movie that tells the Nativity story in an entertaining way. It combines singing and dancing with the incredible events of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Though the movie follows several characters leading up to Christ’s birth, the main character is Mary, Mother of God. The movie shows her faith growing as she becomes ready to raise the Son of God. It’s inspiring to see her relationship growing with God and with Joseph as she makes her journey.

One thing I love about this movie is that it is completely respectful to the source material in the Bible. There are plenty of Biblical inaccuracies (e.g. the Wise Men show up at Jesus’ birth) and several things are added (Mary has sisters, Antipater is a new character, there’s song and dance, etc). However, the important details are the same. More importantly, the spirit of the movie is in line with the Nativity story. Sure, it’s a very light-hearted movie, but in the end, the message is the focus: Jesus Christ’s birth brings joy and hope to the world.

My favorite character is Antipater, King Herod’s son. He is played by Joel Smallbone from For King & Country. Antipater had a great character arc, and Joel played his role well. I loved seeing an example of a character who discovers Christ and the power of His love.

One of my favorite scenes is when Jesus is born and the night sky lights up with a blinding light as angels sing. The audience sees all the characters’ reactions to this miracle, which is great from a storytelling viewpoint and in developing the theme of Jesus’ love for us. Mary’s family is awed and reverent while Herod is terrified and angry.

Most interestingly, Antipater looks up at the light while his father’s soldiers that are with him shield their faces from the light. Antipater looks surprised and a little amazed as he literally and figuratively sees the light for the first time. This impactful scene foreshadows Antipater’s redemption as he accepts that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

My favorite song is “In My Blood,” which is when Antipater realizes that his father is not the good role model he believed him to be. It’s a good song for several different reasons: the music, the lyrics, and the accompanying dance. Antipater and some of Herod’s soldiers in the background dance while holding spears. The fact that Antipater is singing about wanting to become a better man while wielding a spear creates an amazing contrast. Though he wants to change, he feels trapped by his father’s expectations and the consequences of defying his father.

The song also reveals Antipater’s spiritual journey. One of my favorite lines is “Don’t know if I am/A monster or the son of a king.” Antipater is the son of King Herod, so he is literally the son of a king. But he is also the son of the King, the King of Kings. It’s a cool moment that shows Antipater’s spiritual journey to recognizing God.

Journey to Bethlehem is a fun, family-friendly movie. It is both entertaining and inspiring as it tells the Nativity in a creative way. Everyone should see this amazing movie!

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Samantha Lamb, Staff Writer
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