Movie Review: Christmas Child

John FarrellBy John FarrellDecember 9, 20216 Minutes

How far would you go to find answers?

Searching for an explanation regarding your past can provide much-needed and sought-after information, but at what cost? Are you better off never knowing anything about certain things?

What happens if you uncover the truth and what you learn shatters that rosy, perfect image you had painted in your mind? Or is it best to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

The answers to those questions are different for everyone depending on the situation. And they could take you in a direction you never expected.

When it comes to adopted children, I imagine the same is true. Some may grow up never wanting to know their birth parents while some may always wonder who they were and there may even be some who don’t have any interest in knowing until they’re older.

Regardless of whether a child wants to know who his birth parents are or not, I can’t imagine him not once asking or pondering the question, “Why? Why did they give me up?”

Personally, my cousin and my best friend growing up were both adopted. One of them didn’t care to know anything about his birth parents. His thought was, “they didn’t want to know me, so why should I care to know them.” Although it may be difficult to understand at first, I get it. The other wanted to meet his birth parents. After many years and with the blessing of his adoptive parents, he finally had the opportunity to meet them and, as far as I know, has kept in semi-contact with them since. Meeting his birth parents didn’t alter his love for or his relationship with his adoptive parents.

The reasons vary for why birth parents might turn their child over for adoption and an adopted child may feel unloved or unwanted, but one thing an adopted child should always remember is that God loves you.

In the 2004 film, Christmas Child, Pastor Michael Curtis (Steven Curtis Chapman) reminds Jack Davenport (William R. Moses) of this important fact. When Jack asks Steven about the pastor’s adopted daughter, he responds, “She has a family that loves her like crazy and most importantly she has a heavenly Father that loves her even more than we do.”

Jack is a journalist for a Chicago-based magazine who is in desperate need of his next big story. Nine months earlier, his adopted father passed away and now his marriage to Meg (Megan Follows) has hit a lull. Meg often feels lonely because Jack spends more time at the office or on the road chasing leads and following stories than he does at home.

While cleaning out his dad’s safety deposit box he finds an old photo of a church that has “Clearwater, TX 1963” written on the back. He immediately believes this is key to unlocking the truth about who his birth parents were.

Fortunately for Jack, his next assignment (on a homeless woman who recently won the lottery) is in Dallas, Texas, which is presumably within driving distance to Clearwater. There’s one hitch though: he’s supposed to fly out on Christmas Eve — his 40th birthday.

Instead, Jack flies out a couple of days early to travel to Clearwater to discover the story behind the photo and uncover the truth about his birth parents. While in town, he enlists the help of a local newspaper reporter, Naomi Williams (Vicki Taylor Ross), and county clerk, Vanessa (Rebecca McCauley). However, his progress is continuously thwarted by the local sheriff Jimmy James (Muse Watson) and a law that restricts him from viewing his sealed adoption case without the signatures of his birth parents and/or adoptive parents, who have all passed away.

When Jack arrives at the church in the old photo, he admires the beautifully hand-carved, life-sized nativity scene that was given to the church. Over time, he realizes that this nativity holds the secret to his past.

Christmas Child, based on Max Lucado’s short story “The Christmas Cross,” is a heart-warming film for the entire family. The movie’s message about relying on God while searching for answers and His never-ending love and presence in our lives is important to remember not just during the Christmas season but all throughout the year.

The first person Jack meets at the church after he arrives in Clearwater sums it up perfectly: “It’s a good thing God didn’t think about it. He did it. He came. Now, that’s something to think about.” God doesn’t have to think about being a part of our lives, it’s a no-brainer for Him. He’ll be there no matter what’s going on in our lives. We just have to open up our hearts to Him just as adoptive parents open their hearts.