Retold and re-enacted throughout history, the story of the birth of Christ is central to the celebration of the Christmas season for Christians worldwide.
Three years ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a new video seeking to portray this story in the most accurate way possible — “The Christ Child: A Nativity Story.”
The film’s producers created this new version of the Nativity story because they saw the opportunity to explore the history and the context of the time in ways that hadn’t been seen before.
“We consulted with historians, biblical scholars, and we tried to create the atmosphere, the language, the dress, all these other details to the best of our knowledge,” Jeff Taylor, co-creative director of the film, told the Church News when the video was released in 2019.
“And as a result, you feel immersed in the story, it feels like you’re there. It feels like you’re in the fields of Judea, it feels like you’re in the cave where she gave birth. It’s like you’re watching a real moment happen.”
Tom Pratt of the Church’s Missionary Department said, “We really wanted to give a gift to the world that testified that this happened to real people, and the Savior really was born in the world in fulfillment of ancient prophecy, to come and bring light, and ultimately bring salvation to the world.”
Unlike other depictions of the Nativity story, “The Christ Child” portrays the accounts of the Savior’s birth as found in Matthew and Luke separately, rather than showing the wise men and the shepherds arriving to greet the Savior in the same scene.
Dr. Matthew Grey, Bible historian and scholar, explained in the behind-the-scenes video: “Rather than artificially blending them together in harmony where we have Luke’s shepherds and Matthew’s wise men all together in the scene at the same time, we separate those accounts out a little bit so that we can get to know the story as Luke tells it first, and then transition over to the story as Matthew tells it.”
As Christmas approaches, the Church News invites all to re-watch “The Christ Child” and its behind-the-scenes video exploring the history, artistry and scriptural insights that went into producing the film.
Listen to Dr Grey discuss the making of “The Christ Child” and describe what Bethlehem was like at Jesus’ birth on this week’s Church News podcast.