Movies for Advent

By Gloria Falcao Dodd Director of Academic Programs, International Marian Research Institute

Advent refers to the four weeks of spiritual preparation for Christ's second Coming while remembering His first Coming. In the midst of many Christmas preparations, this spiritual dimension is easily forgotten. While there are many ways that one can try to maintain or to retrieve "the true meaning of Christmas," why not enrich one's spiritual growth with some appropriate videos? 

Since there are four weeks of Advent, perhaps one spiritual video a week could give food for thought throughout the week. Here are some recommendations:

1. The Story of the Nativity: The Truth of Christmas by EWTN, 2006 (60 minutes). This interesting documentary separates fact from fiction, clarifying the two-stage Jewish marriage. Since Mary was married before the Annunciation, as long as Joseph would accept her pregnancy, she was not in any difficulty as some portray. With these historic truths in mind, then one can enjoy the artistic license that one finds in most of the other versions.

2. Nativity: The Art and Spirit of the Creche by Mepkin Abbey, 2004 (30 minutes). A beautiful documentary explains Nativity scenes in general while showing many creches in the Abbey's collection.

3. The Life of Christ: The Savior, also released as The Life of Christ: The Joyful Mysteries by Family Theatre Productions, 1957 (100 minutes). - Five 20-minute dramas done in a lavish Hollywood style.

4. The Christmas Collection, Gospel Films Archive, 2014. Six short films from 1939 to 1956 present the Bible story, explain the origin of the "Silent Night" carol, and present a couple of sentimental applications to their times, suitable for family viewing.

For the young, the young at heart, and those looking for some lighter entertainment:

1. Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa by CCC of America, 1990 (30 minutes) -- To avoid a sad disillusion of children, an entertaining animation of the history of the secretly gift-giving bishop whose feast day is December 6th, available in English, Spanish, and French!

2. The Promise: Birth of the Messiah, The Animated Musical by Glorious Films, 2013 (45 minutes) a video-game style for those who enjoy Broadway shows, complete with dancing angels, and comic characters.

3. The Savior Is Born by Rabbit Ears Entertainment, 1991 (26 minutes) An animated delight for those who like stained glass along with a dramatic narration by Morgan Freeman.

4. My Time with Jesus: Christmas by EWTN, 2014 (30 minutes). A simple explanation of the Nativity story and Catholic customs such as a creche and the Christmas tree, suitable for a catechism class.

For free access to these great Advent videos, along with other seasonal favorites, browse the many offerings in the reading room of the Marian Library conveniently located on the seventh floor of Roesch Library!

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