Director Dallas Jenkins says he's "just trying to follow" God's lead in writing and creating new episodes for The Chosen, the popular Bible-based series about Jesus and His disciples.
Perhaps that's why countless Christians around the world continue to watch. Jenkins and his crew released the second season this year and are gearing up for the filming of season three – yet sandwiched in the middle, they also have a theatrical Christmas special to promote.
Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers will be in theaters from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10, telling the story of the birth of Christ through the eyes of Mary and Joseph. The special will feature a new episode of The Chosen alongside performances by more than a dozen musical artists, including Phil Wickham and For King & Country.
The special broke a Fathom Events' record with $1.5 million in ticket sales in its first 12 hours. Fathom is the distributor.
"It is obviously exciting to see the reaction," Jenkins told Christian Headlines. "Without spending a single dime, we shattered the presale record for Fathom, and theaters are continuing to sell out. It is fun to watch, and it's fun to raise eyebrows."
The Chosen has been raising eyebrows since it first launched in 2017, drawing fans from every Christian tradition and totaling 310 million worldwide streaming views as of November 2021. (The series can be watched, for free, on The Chosen app.)
The unique series is billed as the first-ever multi-season television show about Jesus. In each episode, viewers see how Christ impacted a specific character.
Jenkins says Messengers will be unique, too.
"We would not have done this if we didn't have something to say – if we didn't believe God had something profound to say," he said. "And when it comes to The Chosen – whether it's the stories we tell, or the content we release or the merchandise we release – we never ever do it just as a gimmick or just as a marketing opportunity. It's always because we genuinely believe there's something new and spiritually profound that we believe can be said. In this case, it's our portrayal of the birth of Christ."
Messengers explores the unremarkable nature of Christ's birth by showing Joseph cleaning the stable.
"He has to scoop out a big pile of manure. That single moment, to me, sums up a lot of what the story is about," Jenkins said.
Messengers also hypothesizes what Mary and Joseph would have discussed during their journey to Bethlehem.
"They didn't know each other all that well," Jenkins said. "That's the way betrothing worked. This wasn't like they were high school sweethearts. She was a teenager who was in way over her head on this. And we know that they had to have been at best nervous – wondering how this is all going to work. And so we just really dig into that in the story, while connecting it to The Chosen world.
"We really want to deliver a Christmas special that is … different and unique and new," he said.
The Christmas special also features music from Maverick City Music, Brandon Lake, We The Kingdom, Cain, Leanna Crawford, Jordan Feliz, Dawson Hollow, Matt Maher, One Voice Children's Choir, the Bonner Family and Bryan and Katie Torwalt.
The special was filmed this fall.
"We did it fast. We had to keep it secret. We decided to not let anyone know," Jenkins said. "And so the fans didn't know this episode existed."
Find tickets at FathomEvents.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Loaves & Fishes Productions
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.