After seeing the interesting trailer for this dvd, I was looking forward to sitting down and learning more about the Christmas story. It's such a big holiday that, in the busyness of the season, I'm the first to admit I don't always put the focus where I should. Sadly, Christ tends to get lost in the details so I was hoping this "journey" would give me a little jolt back to reality.
Episode one starts off introducing us to five travelers who will be embarking on an adventure to the holy land together. They all have quite different backgrounds-from a talk show host, to an artist, an agnostic, a traditional christian and finally someone with native american roots, this is a pretty eclectic bunch-and all there for different reasons. Some want to re-affirm their existing faith while others just want to walk away with some kind of faith; or at least a basic understanding of who Jesus is/was and how he might pertain to their lives. They're hoping that witnessing in person the places Christ was born, lived, taught, and died will give them more tangible evidence of his existence.
There are four episodes on two discs and each one takes us closer and closer to Bethlehem, the final destination and site of Jesus' birth. Along the way, the group visit numerous historic sites, partake in Jewish traditions, marvel at the ancients customs still practiced today, and grow closer as a team. Various pastors and scholars are also there to guide us along in our biblical understanding of chronological events and important details of the Christmas story.
The production values are very good; my only complaint stems from some conversations between the group in episode one where the sound is extremely low, making it hard to hear what they're saying. After that episode, I had no more issues with the sound and was able to, once again, fully enjoy my viewing.
What I found most interesting, was each person's take on the journey and finding out what really impacted them. Their wide range of reactions also showed me that each of us sees God very differently; what draws me closer to him might be the very thing that pushes my neighbor away. Our journey to God, just like their journey to Christmas, is uniquely our own. In the end, not everyone walked away with what they initially hoped for but I think the trip did change some pre conceived notions about religion, Christianity, Christmas, and God in general.
As someone who is very familiar with the Christmas story, I wouldn't say I learned a lot of new things persay but I still found this dvd set to be engaging, thoughtfully crafted, and a few hours well spent. This would also be perfect viewing for a small group, with a lot of opportunity for discussion following each episode.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for a complimentary copy of this dvd in exchange for my honest review.