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With the holidays quickly approaching, many annual traditions are once again upon us. Whether it’s pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving, the annual trek to visit family, or kids counting down to Christmas Day, the season has a bit of predictability we can count on.
Nothing is perhaps more predictable than the annual outrage fest over whichever major brand is desecrating our favorite holiday.
In years past, Starbucks, WalMart and Home Depot have been the target of ire from conservative groups for one reason or another. Whether it’s for the term “holiday trees” or because coffee cups didn’t use the word “Christmas,” there seems to be a new reason each year to boycott something, anything, because it’s “not Christ-honoring enough.”
This perpetuates the trope that Christians are most known for what they’re against versus what they’re for.
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As a Christian who’s been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, more than half of that at AFFIRM Films – a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment – my job has been to create movies for the faith-based and family audience. As someone who needs to pay attention to what this audience is thinking and feeling, I watch each Christmas as a flurry of “not Christ-honoring enough” companies and products get complained about and flogged online.
However, like a kid on the night before Christmas, this year I am excited to say we finally have what our audience has been waiting for: a “Christ-honoring enough” film, celebrating the birth of Jesus no less! The inarguable reason for the season.
With major stars like Antonio Banderas, Disney phenom Milo Manheim and Christian artist Joel Smallbone, we have the perfect Christmas gift for our audience – the movie “Journey to Bethlehem.”
My question is: we built it, but will they come?
The much-discussed actors strike had derailed our ability to use these stars in the media as we normally would – the equivalent of coal in the stocking this year.
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We know that the faithful want to see films that reflect their values – this year the breakout film was “Sound of Freedom,” which grossed more than $220 million worldwide. If the faithful will flock to support a film like that, how much more would they, should they, turn out for a story of the birth of Jesus?
Will the audience know about our Jesus-honoring film in time to help us show Hollywood that yes, faith-based family entertainment can be successful and reach a wider audience?
Can we use this film as a tool to show major companies that if the viewpoints of Christians are honored by actually keeping the word “Christ” where it should be, they will “honor” them?
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Can we as believers be FOR something every bit as fervently as we can be AGAINST something?
My Christmas wish is that, starting on Nov. 10, people will show up at the theaters for “Journey to Bethlehem” and help me prove to my industry that we honor those that honor Christ.
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