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Christmas Play

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Christmas Play

Putting on a Christmas drama can seem daunting, however if one remembers to just tell the story, it can be a wonderful experience. I created this play to so that congregations can enact the Christmas story in a Biblical, simple and communal fashion. It's Biblical, in that it just tells the story of the birth of Christ. There is no need to make the story relevant or to help folks find the "meaning of Christmas" or anything other than just proclaiming the Gospel story. It is simple, in that the narrator can read most of the spoken parts, with a few lines for the lead characters in the story. It is possible to put on this play with a couple hours preparation or perhaps even without much preparation at all. Much of the story is told in song, since it conveys both the story but also much of the devotion through the singers. Finally, the play is communal, in that it is designed to be performed by all ages and not just children. While I don't think it a large error, I do think leaders are mistaken in putting on all children plays. This often unintentionally teaches that the Gospel story is sentimental or just for children. The birth of Jesus Christ is not sentimental but rather a world shattering event which has implications for all of humanity and the whole of creation. The inclusion of adults teaches the community, and especially the children that the Gospel is a beautiful but serious revelation.  The inclusion of adults also simplifies the play since it is easier for adults to prepare and perform their parts. I would strongly recommend that older or better, very old members of the congregation play Simeon and Anna. These two persons, like the very elderly in our day, are often overlooked. I have found it very powerful to hear an ancient person sing of their faith in the promises of God through the character of Simeon or Anna. Hearing the witness of those who's faith has stood throughout the years is quite compelling.

 Feel free to change the song choices, however I would strongly recommend ending with "Go Tell it on the Mountain". Often with good intentions some will want to end with "Silent Night" and the lighting of Candles. I have found that this often leads to a shallow sentimental mood rather than conveying the Gospel imperative to share the Good News of God in Christ. Sentimentalism mascaraing as devotion is often the death of a congregation. It is my hope that this Christmas drama will convey the amazing joy of God's call for us to share in God's redemptive work in history. 

"The Birth of Jesus According to Luke (NRSV)"

- by James Love (Of course you can use this Christmas play (if for non-commerical purposes), without permission, but please give me credit for the Christmas drama. )

Angel Chorus - good for young children
Anna - elderly woman
Elizabeth
Gabriel
Head Angels
Isaiah
Jospeh
Mary
Narrator
Shepherds - good for young children
Sheep - good for young children
Simeon - elderly man

Announcements and Quiet preparation for Worship

Processional and Hymn:  "People Look East"

{Advent Words then the Lighting of the Advent Candles}

Congregational Prayer: O God of Love, Emmanuel, send your light into our hearts at this time. Help us to be ready for the time of Christ's appearing. Grant that we may so live in the way of Jesus, that his love overflows out of our lives in acts of goodness, justice and peace. Make our worship of You a time in which we celebrate Your love and, through Your power, are made ready to reflect that love to the whole world - both today - and forevermore. Amen.

Offering is Received As Choir Sings "Of the Father's Love Begotten"

Isaiah (7:14; 9:2-7)

{Isaiah Enters from the back, comes up the center isle and makes a proclamation from the centre isle}

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness -- on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given for us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

{Isaiah sits down on the Christmas tree side of the Church}

Congregation Sings  "Hope Is A Star"

Birth of Jesus According to Luke

Scene #1 The Angels tell Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus

Narrator: The birth of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke.

{Head Angels and Gabriel enter from the Christmas tree side of the church and proceed to the base of the stairs where they meet Mary who is sitting on a stool)

Head Angel "...the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "

Gabriel: "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. ... Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Mary: "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

Gabriel: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God."

{Head Angels and Gabriel leave and sit down on the Christmas tree side of the Church.}

Scene #2 Mary Goes to Elizabeth's Home

{Mary remains by her stool}

Narrator" In this way the words of the prophet Isaiah were fulfilled, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." Then Mary went to Elizabeth's home.

{Mary Goes to the piano side of the church and meets Elizabeth who is happy to see her}

Narrator: When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed,"

Elizabeth: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

Solo Song of Mary {Mary Singing in front of center isle}

Scene #3 Bethlehem Journey

Narrator: "In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver the child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the Inn."

{Children, including shepherds and angels come up to the front stairs and sing}

Children's Choir  "Away in a Manger"

{Shepherds remain by the stairs tending their sheep}

Narrator: "In that region there were shepherds living in their fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

{Head Angel enters from Christmas tree side of the church}

Narrator: Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

{Shepherds fall on the ground and cover their faces in fear}

Narrator: But the angel of the Lord said to them,

Angel " 'Do not be afraid; for see -- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. '"

{Shepherds get up and are happy about the good news}

Narrator: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

{Angel chorus enters from Christmas tree side of the Church and join the head Angel}

Angel Chorus: 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those he favors.' {Younger angel's say 'glory, glory, glory'}

{Angels side down on the Christmas tree side of the church}

Congregation Sings VU 75 "While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night"

Shepherds: "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."

{Shepherds go sit down on the piano side of the church}

Congregation Sings #64 O Little Town of Bethlehem

Scene #3 Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

{Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus enter on the piano side of the Church} Simeon enters on the Christmas tree side}

Narrator: "There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law. Simeon took him up in his arms and praised God ..."

{Mary gives Jesus to Simeon}

Simeon: "Praise God, praise God."

"Song of Simeon" #902 or #903 {Simeon sings in front of center isle}

{Simeon gives Mary baby Jesus}

Narrator: "And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother."

Simeon: "Bless you both. This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul too."

{Simeon goes and sits down on the piano side of the Church.}

{Anna enters walking agedly from the Christmas tree side of the Church and walks over to Mary and Joseph}

Narrator: "There was also a prophet Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer day and night. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem."

{Mary gives Anna baby Jesus}

Anna: "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" (Twice)

Anna and Choir "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" (Twice)

Congregation Joins Singing  "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" (Three Times) {Include in bullitin}

Anna: Chistmas Prayer

"Generous God,
you gave your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him,
and be born of your chosen one, Mary.
Grant that we, who have been born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever. Amen."

{Mary, Joseph and Anna sit down on the piano side of the Church}

Congregational Hymn  "Joy to the World"

Closing Reading Luke 24:45-48

"Then [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

HYMN VU  Go Tell It on the Mountain

Benediction

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