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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

This Christmas

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Spirited but somewhat pat family drama in which a well heeled African-American clan gathers for the holidays at the Los Angeles home of their mother (Loretta Devine) and her companion (Delroy Lindo) who then try to help the oldest daughter (Regina King) cope with her domineering husband (Laz Alonso) -- as well as with the tension between him and her younger sister (Sharon Leal) -- ignore the amorous antics of a third sister (Lauren London) and her visiting boyfriend (Keith Robinson), and attempt to convince the eldest son (Idris Elba) to quit his wandering ways, while two younger sons (Columbus Short and Chris Brown) struggle to find the courage to reveal their closely held secrets. Writer-director-producer Preston A. Whitmore II deftly interweaves the various elements of the plot while adding welcome strands of humor and music to produce, overall, a very pleasant tapestry. A scene of domestic violence, some sexual references and humor, some crude and crass language, implied nonmarital sex and cohabitation, themes of divorce and skimpy costuming. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus: The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.
<p><b>Joseph</b> was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus' body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus' body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.
</p><p><b>Nicodemus</b> was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John's Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus' burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.
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