Note to Editor: The guest column/op-ed piece below is submitted for consideration for use prior to or after the opening of “The Nativity Story” movie on Dec. 1.
Contact: To interview Dr. Ted Baehr, contact Matti Stevenson, LegacyRoad Group, at 719-388-1603 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.movieguide.org/nativitystory.
HOLLYWOOD, Nov. 28 /Christian Newswire/ --
'The Nativity Story' Has Important Message for Today's Teenagers
By Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Tom Snyder
"The Nativity Story" movie, which tells the story behind the Greatest Story Ever Told, the birth of Jesus Christ, has an important message about faith, honor and purity for today's teenagers.
The movie depicts Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, as a young, upstanding couple of their community who are touched by the Holy Spirit of God. As devout believers in the God of the Holy Bible, Mary and Joseph are confronted with a moral dilemma that creates tremendous social pressures on them.
Although this Christmas Story took place 2,000 years ago, it has great resonance for our world today.
First, despite the problems and pressures it would cause for her, Mary gladly accepts the call of God to become the Holy Vessel for the Son of God. Though she suffers the scorn of the community, she sticks by her faith in God and what He is doing through her.
In fact, back in the days when this story took place, it was not uncommon for unwed mothers to disappear, deliver their babies secretly and leave their babies out in the wilderness to die. Instead of killing her baby, however, Mary treasures her baby, Jesus, as a miraculous, divine gift from God.
As C. Raymond van Pletsen writes in "The Nativity Story: The Faith of Mary," Mary "responded" to God's love and believed in Him.
Second, Mary's betrothed, Joseph, was able to stand by his fiancée because he too responded to God's love and believed in Him.
Joseph's faith and trust in God gave him great courage to obey God, resist social pressure and take Mary home to be his wife. That courage, trust and faith inspired Joseph to protect Mary's holy child, Jesus, when His life was in danger.
Today's teenagers are daily bombarded with hedonistic, pagan images and sounds of sex in the mass media. No wonder that a recent medical study revealed that half of all of today's teenagers will get a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) by the time they are 25-years-old!
Today, of course, an STD can kill you. In fact, some STDs can kill you long before any second-hand cigarette smoke will!
Another recent study, by the journal of the American Association of Pediatrics, found that teenagers listening to music with explicit sexual lyrics fornicate sooner than teenagers who do not.
These two studies show clearly that following the example of sexual purity and honor set by the Virgin Mary and Joseph is not just some quaint remnant of Medieval Times or the Victorian Age. It's a matter of Life and Death.
If explicit depictions of sex in the media encourage teenagers to cave to social pressures to have sex before marriage, then "The Nativity Story" and other positive media products like it can help teenagers to avoid media pressure, peer pressure and pressure from misguided school teachers luring lure them into a world of lust and sexual immorality that could lead to sickness and even death.
Of course, Mary and Joseph were able to remain pure because they had a strong faith in God and His promises of the coming Messiah in Mary's womb. Because of their strong faith, they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to follow humbly the commands of God.
This shows that, when we have faith in God, faith in His miraculous promises to us, and faith in His Holy Word, the Holy Spirit can use that faith to help us do what God says, regardless of the cost.
By having the same kind of faith as Mary and Joseph, today's teenagers can resist poor choices and pressures running rampant in our society. It was a faith in the Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true Light who enlightens all people. Jesus is full of God's Grace, Truth and Love.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound!
Dr. Ted Baehr is a noted critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He is founder and publisher of Movieguide (www.movieguide.org) and is chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission. Dr. Tom Snyder, editor of Movieguide, has more than 15 years experience as a political journalist. He has a Ph.D. in film studies from Northwestern University.