Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night Parent Guide
Less a movie than a seasonal variety show, this production features a sweet nativity story that's sometimes overwhelmed by other material.
Parent Movie Review
It’s the “reason for the season” – the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem. Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night is the latest cinematic retelling of this tale, done with earnestness and plenty of extraneous material.
If you live outside of the world of Christian media, you may be unaware of The Chosen, a multi-season series of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. I have only watched one episode, but I have friends and family who are devoted viewers. The series has lots of non-canonical material, but its storylines are not incongruent with the scriptural message it’s trying to share.
Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night should not be viewed as a feature film; rather, it’s more of a seasonal special for fans of the show. This production reworks two of the series’ older, shorter versions of the Christmas story – one told from the perspective of Mary and Joseph (Sara Anne and Raj Bond), and the other a tale of a fictional shepherd (Aaron Himelstein) who crosses their path. The two narratives come together and result in a tender, heartfelt story of the birth of Jesus.
The nativity story is the highlight of the show, but it is overwhelmed by a wide variety of other material. There are three mini-sermons (referred to by the hosts as “monologues”), a half-dozen or so music videos of Christmas songs, and some strong encouragement to go online and buy franchise merchandise. (This feels a bit grubby, but I guess filthy lucre is an inescapable requirement for filmmaking, even for Christian projects.) The good news about this varied content is that you can be running late, wrestling with kids, or lined up at the concession and you don’t need to worry about missing anything important. In the theater I attended, showtime was at 7:00 pm, but there was no sign of the Christmas story until 7:49. That’s a whole lot of filler.
It’s possible that I’m being Pharisaical here and that my movie critic brain is blunting my sensitivity to the production’s goals. What I perceive as bloat could easily charm other viewers who would enjoy the enthusiastic music videos and sincere monologues/sermons. I can say that the movie is well made, with a good cast and reasonably good dialogue. It’s squeaky clean, consistently joyful, and suitable for any viewer old enough to sit still for two hours. As Bible adaptations go, this one is on the top tier. My only real complaint is that the message is better than the movie. As with most other film adaptations, the book is better.Directed by Dallas Jenkins. Starring Sara Anne, Raj Bond, Aaron Himelstein. Running time: 125 minutes. Theatrical release December 12, 2023. Updated December 13, 2023
Watch the trailer for Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night
Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night
Rating & Content Info
Why is Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night rated Not Rated? Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There is a few scenes where a disabled man is bullied.
Sexual Content: A woman goes into labor but there is no detail.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated December 13, 2023
Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night Parents' Guide
What parts of the Christmas story do the screenwriters emphasize in this movie? Why do you think they chose to focus on those? What does the script teach about the purpose of Christ’s life and mission?
Do you enjoy the musical numbers in this film? What are your favorite Christmas carols or seasonal songs and why? What role does Christmas music play in your holiday celebrations?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The Biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth are merged into a single narrative here.
If you want a nativity story for wiggly youngsters, you can read A Very Noisy Christmas by Tim Thornborough and Jennifer Davison.
Children will also appreciate the joyful tale told in The Christmas Baby, written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Richard Cowdrey.
For a nativity story with soft, gentle illustrations, you can try The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher.
Families looking for a book that will place the birth of Jesus as the fulfilment of Old Testament narratives can head for The Advent Storybook: 25 Bible Stories Showing Why Jesus Came. This book is written by Laura Richie and illustrated by Ian Dale.
Older readers who want to reflect on the birth of Jesus might turn to The Art of Christmas: Meditations on the Birth of Jesus by Jane Williams. She is also the author of The Art of Advent: A Painting a Day from Advent to Epiphany. Also available for art fans is The Christmas Story by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Related home video titles:
The Nativity Story is a feature length story of the birth of Jesus. Well cast and reasonably faithful to the Biblical account, this movie is suitable for all viewers.
Young viewers will enjoy The Star, an animated film that tells the familiar tale from the perspective of the animals in the stable.
If you’re looking for well-produced, scripturally accurate retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus, we recommend The Christ Child: A Nativity Story. This live-action short can be watched for free online. Dialogue is in Aramaic and Hebrew, so it might not work well for young kids or those who are not familiar with the Biblical narrative.
If you like combining Christmas music with the Nativity, we suggest you watch The Piano Guys’ video of Angels from the Realms of Glory.