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Christmas with The Chosen: 5 Advent-Themed Episodes to Watch with Your Family and Church

Updated: Jan 28

Christmas with The Chosen: Holy Night will be released in theaters on December 12. The new Christmas special will bring together two older Christmas episodes (The Shepherd and The Messengers) with new musical scoring and special musical performances. But if you aren't able to make it to Holy Night or if you're looking for other content from The Chosen that you can enjoy with your family leading up to Christmas, here are the top five Advent-themed episodes that you may want to check out with your church or family.


The Shepherds encounter Joseph in The Chosen: The Shepherd
The Shepherds encounter Joseph in The Chosen: The Shepherd

The Shepherd

The Shepherd is the pilot that helped launch The Chosen. Although it doesn't feature any regular cast members, The Shepherd showcases what would become the signature approach of The Chosen: it explores the events of the Christmas story through the eyes of ordinary people (i.e. the shepherds). Although the story itself is rather bare bones, The Shepherd utilizes some pretty interesting symbolism and also provides a great introduction to the Jewish culture under Roman occupation. If you aren't catching the remastered version included in Christmas with The Chosen: Holy Night, it's definitely worth watching (or rewatching).


Themes of The Shepherd

  • Thematic Question: When will the Messiah come?

  • False Response: When God's people have rid themselves of the weak and blemished and are able to keep.up with his demands.

  • True Response: In a moment of darkness and defeat, to show compassion to the weak and to be a perfect, spotless sacrifice in their place.

Resources for Studying The Shepherd

The Messengers

Whereas the pilot approaches the Christmas story through the eyes of the shepherds of Bethlehem, The Messengers focuses directly on the experiences of Mary and Joseph during their journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. This story is set within a frame narrative that follows Mary Magdalene (many years after the events of The Chosen and the ascension of Jesus) as she interviews Mary, mother of Jesus, about the events in order to help Luke compile his Gospel account. The frame narrative calls our attention to the uniquely female-centric focus of the first couple chapters of Luke and the beautiful poetry that crowns his account.


Themes of The Messengers

  • Thematic Question: How do we make sense of the fact that God and his messengers provide different pieces of revelation to different people?

  • False Response: Focus only on what God has revealed to us and ignore what he has revealed to others.

  • True Response: Make known what God has revealed to us and seek to know what God has revealed to others.

Resources for Studying The Messengers


The Virgin Mary in The Chosen: The Messengers
The Virgin Mary in The Chosen: The Messengers

Jesus Loves the Little Children [Season 1 Episode 3]

Episode 3 of The Chosen Season 1 introduces us to Jesus through the eyes of children. Although the episode's narrative isn't directly linked to the Christmas story, it explores important Christmas themes and ideas regarding the purpose of the Messiah. Also, the depiction of Jesus as a wandering tinker who makes toys and gives them to children has real Santa Claus vibes - and the response of the children to Jesus feels like something out of a Christmas movie. It might be a good episode to use in order to talk to your children about how Jesus' generosity is the real reason for the season.


Themes of Jesus Loves the Little Children

  • Thematic Question: Who is the Messiah?

  • False Response: A lofty warrior king who will destroy the enemies of God's people.

  • True Response: A gentle carpenter who reveals himself to children and to the lowly.

Resources for Studying Jesus Loves the Little Children


The Wedding Gift [Season 1 Episode 5]

Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 1 gives us a window into Jesus' relationship with his mother, Mary. We see how Mary and Joseph initially struggled to keep up with their divine son. And we also see the deep love and trust that developed between Jesus and his mother by the time he became an adult. If you're meditating on Mary and her faith, it's a great source of insight and reflection.


Themes of The Wedding Gift

  • Thematic Question: What do we do when we don't understand the way of Jesus?

  • False Response: Demand absolute clarity and certainty.

  • True Response: Obey Jesus and trust that he will help teach us a new way of understanding the world.

Resources for Studying The Wedding Gift

Child Jesus in Physician, Heal Thyself
Child Jesus in Physician, Heal Thyself

Physician, Heal Thyself [Season 3 Episode 3]

Episode 3 of The Chosen Season 3 was released on Christmas in 2022. Although the narrative once again isn't directly tied to the Christmas story, the episode is replete with thematic ties to Christmas. Just as it is common for Christians to return to their hometowns to celebrate Christmas, the episode follows Jesus as he returns to his hometown of Nazareth to celebrate Jewish New Year. While in Nazareth, we meet Jesus' friends and even the rabbi who taught him while he was growing up and we also get flashbacks of his childhood, being raised by Joseph. These moments give us insight into his incarnation and what it means for Jesus to be fully human and fully God.


Themes of Physician, Heal Thyself

  • Thematic Question: Who is Jesus?

  • False Response 1: Jesus is only human in a nominal sense. His upbringing didn’t really matter.

  • False Response 2: Jesus is merely a human teacher. Like any other teacher, he is subject to the judgment of others.

  • True Response: Jesus experienced the fullness of what it means to be human and was deeply shaped by the community in which he was raised. But Jesus was also fully divine - the very law/standard of righteousness, not answerable to the authority of sinful men.

Resources for Studying Physician, Heal Thyself


 

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If you liked this post, you might want to check out some of my other posts on The Chosen and Bible adaptation. I have Bible studies/discussion guides for each episode of The Chosen Seasons 1-3, blogs exploring how The Chosen adapts key biblical figures, and articles exploring the controversial nature of adaptation. I hope you enjoy them!


The Chosen Season 4


The Chosen Season 3


Adapting Biblical Characters Series


Exploring The Chosen with Youth or Small Group [Discussion Guides]

Season 3

Season 2

Season 1

Specials


The Chosen Controversies Series


How to Discuss The Chosen - and Why


Themes & Theology of The Chosen [Exclusive for BMC Members]

Season 4


Season 1

Specials


Artist Interviews (The Bible Artist Podcast)


Mailbag Q&R


The Chosen Thematic Viewing Guides


Beyond The Chosen


Other Bible Adaptations


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Other Adaptations

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