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Amy Cattapan reflects on the ways the Christmas with The Chosen special in theaters can help us in our Advent preparations.

As we begin Advent, it can be easy to get bogged down in the details of Christmas preparations and forget to focus our hearts on the real reason for the season. With that goal in mind, the creators behind the phenomenally successful TV series The Chosen have created a Christmas special to remind us all that our focus this Advent should be on preparing our hearts for Christ.

In case you are not familiar with The Chosen, it is the first ever multi-season TV show about Christ and His followers. It is the highest crowd-funded media project of all time and has been translated into 50 languages. It can be watched for free on The Chosen app, which connects directly to streaming devices with no fee or subscription prices. The producers use a “pay it forward” model, which allows viewers to donate so that others can watch it, too.

Unlike the first two seasons of the show, this special episode, titled Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers, will be released first in theaters through Fathom Events. In fact, when tickets went on sale, it broke Fathom Event records with over 100,000 tickets sold in the first 12 hours. With tickets selling quickly, Fathom Events has added additional dates and times to their schedule. At the time of this writing, tickets are still available for December 1-10 at the Fathom Events website.




The producers hope that by creating a theatrical event with this Christmas special, fans of the show will feel comfortable inviting their friends and family members to the theater to introduce them not only to the show but a depiction of Jesus and His disciples that will bring people closer to Christ. “We’re trying to reach a billion people to see an authentic Jesus,” said executive producer Derral Eves. The producers had been considering using Fathom Events since they first launched The Chosen. However, the timing was never right. When supply chain and construction problems caused delays in making season 3, the creators decided to film this new Christmas episode in secret to surprise their fans.

Beyond reaching a billion people, Eves explained the spiritual purpose of this special: “There are a lot of traditions that are steeped into Christmas, and there’s a lot of commercialism, and I do believe that the whole goal of why we’re doing it in theaters, getting these artists together, is to really celebrate the true reason of the season, which is Jesus Christ’s birth.”



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Like Mary, let us listen to the angel's message and ponder it in our hearts during this Advent season. #catholicmom

This two-hour special includes more than just the new episode of The Chosen, which follows Jesus and Mary as they journey to Bethlehem, intercut with scenes of an older Mary in 48 A.D. sharing more of her side of the story. It begins with twelve musical performances by a variety of Christian music artists, including a rousing rendition of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Catholic musician Matt Maher. Other featured musicians include Phil Wickham, Maverick City Music, For King and Country, and a talented children’s choir called One Voice Choir. The songs range from traditional Christmas hymns to more contemporary Christian pop music. If you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to sing along, and you’ll be pleased to hear that a Christmas music CD is in the works.


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While I enjoyed the music, one of my favorite parts of this Christmas special was the monologues written by one of the show’s writers, Tyler Thompson, and performed by four of the actors: Austin Reed Alleman (Nathaniel), Giavani Cairo (Thaddeus), Luke Dimyan (Judas), and Lara Silva (Eden). The monologues focus on various names the ancient Jews used for God, ending with a reflection on the name Emmanuel, which ties in beautifully with this nativity episode. These monologues provide a lot of food for thought, and if you’ve been following along with Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast, you’ll be able to make connections between the historical time periods discussed in these monologues and the Old Testament readings and reflections from Fr. Mike.

Regarding the actual episode of the show, which is shown during the second half of the special, some may wonder if it is completely in line with Catholic beliefs and traditions regarding the birth of Christ. While there are some brief moments that a Catholic depiction might not include, I think Catholics will find much to enjoy in this episode. As one of the monologues in the Christmas special reminds us, we sometimes can get wrapped up in arguing about the details of our faith and forget the main message: That God loves us so much He sent His only Son to be Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Like Mary, let us listen to this message and ponder it in our hearts during this Advent season.

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Copyright 2021 Amy J. Cattapan
Images copyright 2021The Chosen. Used with permission. All rights reserved.