A Christmas Play
Written in “Dialogue Sketch style” for a Sunday School performance in church. Teacher, boy and girl speak, and others can present a nativity play as they tell the story.
Girl Oh I’m so looking forward to Christmas! Decorations, celebrations, presents, – and it’s such a lovely story about the baby Jesus.
Boy The food and the presents maybe, but you can keep the Baby Story. I like adventure, something with a bit of action.
G But Jesus isn’t like that – he’s kind and gentle.
B Yeah and a bit of a pushover. Give me a proper hero every time.
Teacher It sounds to me as if you haven’t heard the Christmas story properly.
G+B What do you mean?
T Well, Jesus is kind and gentle – but he is also very tough, and that goes for Mary and Joseph, too. Let’s go back to when it all happened. Let’s start at the beginning
Enter Mary on stage
T Once long ago lived a young girl named Mary. She was probably a teenager, living at home with her family in Nazareth but engaged to Joseph. One day she was getting on with her usual work at home, when suddenly an angel appeared to her.
Enter angel to music
Angel Do not be afraid Mary, God has chosen you.
G That must have been lovely!
T I think it may have been more frightening. It didn’t happen often then, any more than it does now, and don’t forget that angels were God’s soldiers as well as his messengers. Anyhow, the angel tells Mary she will have a baby, to be a King called Jesus.
B But how can he be a King if the Romans ruled the land?
T Good question. In fact it’s all quite a challenge for Mary. She must have had millions of questions, but she ran off to tell everyone what had happened.
Enter Mary and Joseph to music
T Some months later, Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem. Mary rode on a donkey and Joseph walked beside her. It must have been a terrible journey, with Mary nearly ready to have her baby.
B You mean like those TV programmes where people have to walk across deserts and through swamps and things?
T Yes, as hard as that, needing real toughness and determination to keep going. And when they arrived in Bethlehem, there were so many people there they couldn’t find anywhere to stay.
G That must have been horrible. Everybody saying, “No room here, go away!” I think I’d have just sat down and cried.
T Perhaps she did, but eventually they found space in a stable – it may have even been a cave used for the animals – but that was where Jesus was born.
Silent Night music?
B I know the next bit – the shepherds come to visit, don’t they?
T Yes, but what sort of welcome do you think they got?
B What do you mean?
T Well, the shepherds were rough characters – they lived in the open, looking after themselves and their animals. When a group of them came into Bethlehem, they probably made people nervous.
Enter shepherds and angels
Were they going to steal things, or start a fight? Instead, oddly, they ask to see a baby!
G I knew it was a nice story really.
T Think how surprised Mary and Joseph must have been – first by their visit, and then by their story of angels singing in the night sky, and telling them about a baby King they would find and recognise because he was lying not in a cradle but in an animal-feeding trough!
G Then it’s the Wise Men, isn’t it?
T Some time later, yes. By this time Mary and Joseph have a house, and the baby may be a toddler. The wise men have been traveling for a long time, and when at last they arrive, they bring their gifts and worship the child.
Wise men enter with gifts
B Were they rich? Did they bring some really cool presents?
T They may have been rich and powerful and we know they brought some wonderful presents, but today we only remember them because they visited Jesus and had the sense to recognise and worship him.
Wise Men leave
B And so I suppose they all lived happily ever after?
T Oh no! The adventure has only just begun. King Herod has met the wise men, and wants to kill Jesus so that he won’t take over as King. So Joseph has to take Mary and Jesus and escape; they have to travel all the way to Egypt, and live for a time as refugees.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus leave the stage, hurriedly
G I’m not sure I like the story so much when it’s told like that!
T There are many ways of telling it – but the important thing is that you don’t think it’s just a baby story, or just an adventure.
B You mean there are other ways of telling it, too?
T Well yes. It’s a story of God’s love for his people – a Romance; and a rescue mission to save the universe (that’s Science Fiction). It’s history and geography too! It’s about people coming together despite their different backgrounds. I could go on and on; it’s definitely for boys and girls, grown-ups and old people too! Perhaps most important of all, it’s about a new start for all of us. Happy Christmas everyone!