A young woman bearing an awesome responsibility. A young man conflicted by responsibility and love. A jealous king who will go to any length to keep the crown on his head.

Even people who have never picked up a Bible are familiar with the main events of the Nativity, the timeless story of Mary, Joseph and birth of Jesus.

But while many movies have covered this ground before, Journey to Bethlehem, in theatres now, offers a unique, musical take on a timeless tale.

The Story of Christmas

That story is set during the time of King Herod (Antonio Banderas), who rules the small state of Judea, part of the Roman Empire. Controlling and vicious, he would do anything to keep his hold on power.

Mary (Fiona Palomo) is a young Jewish maiden betrothed to the carpenter Joseph (Milo Manheim). But when she is visited by the angel Gabriel (Lecrae), she learns that she will give birth to a son, who will be called Jesus. Joseph, faced with condemning his betrothed to death for adultery, chooses the path of love and marries Mary.

Together, they make the difficult journey to Bethlehem, as the Romans have ordered a census of the land. Mary gives birth to Jesus in a stable, as there was no place for the family to stay in the crowded town.

There, shepherds and Wise Men from the east, guided by a great star, arrive to worship the baby Jesus, the Son of God.

Informed of Jesus’ birth by the Wise Men as they sought “the King of the Jews,” Herod is determined by any means necessary to eliminate this threat to his throne.

It’s no spoiler alert to state that Joseph and Mary escape with their baby, who would go on to become the Saviour of the world, and that is one of the reasons why the Nativity story has resonated through the ages and especially at Christmastime.

A Shining Star

Filmed in Spain, this live-action musical celebration for the entire family weaves classic Christmas melodies into new pop songs in a music-infused retelling of the classic story.

“I first had the idea for the film years ago when I was looking for a musical to watch with my family at Christmastime,” says director Adam Anders (Glee, High School Musical). “I want this movie to be a bright light this Christmas season—as bright as the star of Bethlehem.”

Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures

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