Journey to Christmas is a two DVD set, telling the story of five strangers with differing religious viewpoints who were taken on a twenty day visit to the Holy Land where they learned about the Christmas story in its very surroundings. The group, all Canadians, consisted of a young agnostic with a Jewish father and Christian mother, a woman of East African origin who was an artist and a seeker in her faith, a young songstress who was firm in her Christian beliefs, a woman from the First Nations who questioned the tribal heritage of Jesus, and last, an older man who was skeptical and cynical about religion, but who wanted to be open to belief in Christ. The group bonded during the journey as they followed the paths of the Wise Men, the shepherds, and Joseph and Mary.
The story was told not only through the visitors’ journey, but also with commentary from a local guide and scholars in history, archaeology and science. This enriched the tale and helped the viewer to understand more thoroughly the culture and political climate of the day. From riding camels through the desert along the Spice Route to Masada and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, to Nazareth, Capernaum, Jerusalem and finally Bethlehem, they transported to experience the life of the people of the times. They viewed magnificent art, temple and city ruins, replicas of ancient villages, and the places related to Jesus in the city of Bethlehem.
The photography was spectacular!
Wow! I was mesmerized by this journey and especially appreciated the local guide’s information and the insights provided by the historians. The discussions among the travelers was interesting because each brought a different perspective to the journey, although viewing the same sites. Some were totally transformed through this experience and others not so much. One traveler, Dusty, commented in Bethlehem that she learned that “Christmas has nothing to do with red and green…it is about what he did for us…Christmas changed for me.” Drew, who said he was “desperate for God” became more spiritually thirsty, but was perhaps the least changed among the group. One of the final scenes showed the participants reading the Christmas story together while in Bethlehem . What could be more moving than that, considering especially all that they have seen and done in preparation for that moment?
I highly recommend this set not only for individuals, but also for groups who will find much to discuss and study from the encounters of sojourners. The set is called a “4-session Holy Land Study Experience.”
*This DVD set was provided to me by Tyndale Publishing for my review. The opinions given in this review are mine alone and were not determined by the publisher.