This past week I have watched a lot of movies. In our family, we have a general policy to not watch movies except on the weekend, but these past two weeks we’ve been lax. Of course, it doesn’t help that NetFlix has such a quick turnaround. Or that my not-so-little-anymore brother, who is home for Christmas, has chosen the next 20 or so movies to come. Or that there are movies in the theater that we really want to see – like Eragon.
But all these movies go by the wayside if they have no purpose than to entertain. There seems to be a trend lately for movies to tell more than a story that makes you laugh, cry, or sigh – docudramas, if you will. They want to tell you what happened in an historical sense, whether from personal accounts or known historical facts. Take Bobby, for instance. I haven’t seen this one, but I saw an article in The Oregonian that the filmmakers for Bobby have taken their actors and have spliced them into actual footage from when Bobby Kennedy made his speech.
I like these kinds of movies, mostly because they bring history to life in a way. I’ve always loved history. I remember standing in the fort at Fort Larned in Kansas and placing my hand over a signature that a soldier had carved in the sandstone building back in 1863. I still get chills over that. When I was in college, I actually debated whether or not I should major in history. I didn’t, but that doesn’t matter right now.
I especially like films that have certain spiritual undertones to them. A few years ago, there was a film that took the world by storm. You’ve probably seen it – The Passion of the Christ. This movie focused on one event in the life of Christ – His death. This year we have another film that does the same thing. The Nativity Story is the story of His birth. My family and I went to see it this last Saturday, and I was very moved by it.
There was one scene that struck me in particular, one that really made me think and made me ask myself several questions. Mary and Joseph were invited by a lone shepherd to take a rest from their journey to Bethlehem. Mary’s pregnancy was quite obvious by now, and the shepherd told her that she bore a gift. He had no idea of the significance of his comment, but continued by saying that his father had told that each person had been given a gift. When asked what his was, at first, he said nothing, and then he said that his gift was hope. Hope of that which is to come.
I recognize that this scene is a fictional account because we don’t have anything to tell us who Mary and Joseph saw on the road or where they stopped or anything like that. But I still feel the power of that statement. When this same shepherd came to see the newborn Christ, Mary looked at him and said, “Each one of us has been given a gift.”
Each one of us has been given a gift. God gave a village girl the gift of life. He gave a man in Portland, Oregon, the gift of telling her story. Somewhere, God has given someone the gift of using her story to bring another to Christ. What gift has He given you?