As you can see, The Nativity Story is being released on DVD on March 20th. If you search the archives of my blog for December 2006 you'll find plenty of commentary and links on this lovely film.
I think The Nativity Story is a perfect Scriptural reflection for Lent as we consider the public life of Jesus and the events that led to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The characters who populate the Gospels asked: Who is this man, this Jesus of Nazareth? Where does he come from? Who were his parents? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
The Nativity Story answers all these quentions and more. I can visualize Mary in The Nativity Story (played by Keisha Castle-Hughes) becoming, growing into, thirty-three years later, the Mary (played by Maia Morgenstern) in The Passion of the Christ.
The Nativity Story is authentic, reverent, and perfect for those contemplative moments that will make this holy liturgical and spiritual season, rich and fruitful for the entire family.
If you have young children (for whom The Passion of the Christ would be too overwhelming due to its intense violence), The Nativity Story is a relevant and accessible way to show them the very beginnings, through the Infancy Narratives of Matthew and Luke, of the Way of the Cross. If we think of the entire liturgical year as the timeline narrative of Jesus' life on earth through the scripture readings of the common lectionary (the liurgical year compresses Jesus' life in ways that are similar to a film that uses two-hours), then The Nativity Story is the prequel because it begins in the year leading up to Jesus' birth. There are visual hints and dialogue throughout the film that make it very easy for catechists, homilists, and parents to connect the beginning of Jesus' life on earth with the events and meaning of Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
You may also want to obtain a copy of The Nativity Story: A Film Study Guide for Catholics. It is geared to the Advent and Christmas season but the methodology and themes are useful for viewing this and other films during other parts of the year. www.pauline.org
The Nativity Story will be in stores March 20th. It's a classic.