A Christmas Pageant
The Rev. Ann Smith
The scene opens with Mary sitting to one side of the stage. She
is holding a beautifully decorated box. She opens it and reaches inside
as she begins to speak.
My name is Mary. I call this my box of memories. I have been
putting mementos in this box my whole life. Most of them have
something to do with my son. He was a remarkable person. I know
everyone says that about his or her children. But I think you'll
agree as I tell you his story that it is the greatest story
(She takes out a shawl.) I remember when I first wore this.
I was just a young woman then. I lived in the town of Nazareth.
Life was good. I was engaged to be married to a carpenter named
Joseph. Then one day I was out in the garden.
A young Mary wearing the shawl enters and sits centre stage.
||An angel appeared to me. He must have seen the startled
look on my face.
||Don't be afraid! You will give birth to a son and
you shall call him Jesus. This baby shall be the Saviour, the
Son of God.
|Let it be as you have said.
The angel comes toward her. She shrinks back in fear. She stands
and turns toward the audience crossing her arms in front of her. The
choir sings "Tell out my Soul".
My real fear was that Joseph wouldn't understand. But he had
a dream. God explained it to him as well. He was very happy.
Before the baby was born we were married.
(Mary takes out a cowbell.) Oh yes! This came from that
stable in Bethlehem. Now that is another long story. You might
think that my being pregnant with Jesus would mean that we would
stay home in Nazareth. But Caesar had declared a new tax, and
we all had to return to the city of our birth. For Joseph that
meant travelling with me all the way to Bethlehem. When we arrived
there we found that there was simply no where to stay. We tried
all of Joseph's relatives; no one had even a corner in which
to put us up. Then we traipsed around to every inn, but even
when they saw that I was about to have a baby, still they couldn't
find room for us. Finally an innkeeper felt sorry for me and
offered us a warm bed of hay in his stable. It was there that
Jesus was born.
The choir sings "Standing in the Rain" as Mary and Joseph
wander across the stage. Mary and Joseph stand talking to an innkeeper.
He nods his head. They turn away. He calls them back and leads them
into the stable. He finds them a manger and some hay.
||(Mary takes out a piece of cloth.) These are the
clothes I put on him. He was such a good baby - so tiny and beautiful.
I wrapped him in the clothes and laid him in a bed of hay in the
manger. It wasn't fancy, but at least he was warm and cozy. The
animals all gathered around him. It was as if they knew who he
Mary wraps the baby in the clothes and lays him in the manger.
The animals gather around. The children sing "Mary Had a Baby".
||(Piece of wool) We had visitors that night. First
there were some shepherds. That's where I got this piece of wool.
They had a fantastic story to tell. They had been out on the hillside
near Bethlehem keeping watch over their flocks. As night fell
an angel of God appeared to them. They were afraid. Little wonder!
It isn't something that happens every day. They fell to the ground.
But the angel told them not to be afraid.
||I bring you news of great joy. A Saviour is born
this day in Bethlehem who is Christ the Lord. This shall be a
sign to you. You shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger."
||Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and
good will to all people.
The congregation sings "Shepherds in the Fields abiding".
The shepherds react in fright to the angel. The angel hosts appear
and dance to 'Gloria in excelsis deo'.
||They hurried to Bethlehem as fast as their legs
could carry them. They knew as soon as they caught sight of Jesus
that they had found the right place. Later, they went around the
town telling everybody the good news.
The congregation sings the chorus of "Go Tell it on the Mountain".
The choir sings the verses. The shepherds travel through the congregation
shaking hands and motioning towards the stable.
||(Piece of incense) This still smells exotic like
the other visitors we had that night. What a strange lot they
were! They didn't see any angels. But they did talk about a star
that they had been following. They were foreigners - astrologers
from the east, they said. They had followed a star all the way
from the Orient, thousands of miles. It was really exciting to
see them. I had never seen anything like it before. They weren't
riding on donkeys - no, believe it or not they came by camel.
They wore rich robes of the finest silk. One had a turban wrapped
around his head. They brought wonderful gifts to my baby Jesus.
When I opened that first package and out came tumbling those gold
coins, I could hardly believe my eyes. Then there was some sweet
smelling incense like this piece. It's the kind the priests use
in the temple. The third gift was really strange, although after
all that has happened I understand why they brought it. But to
bring myrrh, something we use for embalming the dead, seemed an
odd gift for a baby. They knew that Jesus was destined for great
things. That is for sure! They knew that he would be our Saviour
and die for us.
The congregation sings "We Three Kings" as the magi
process into the church and offer their gifts to the baby.
||(Mary takes out a candle and lights it.) I have
shared my son's story with you. The rest of it is up to you. Just
as this candle can light up the whole room, so Jesus came to light
up the whole world. Just as Jesus was born in that stable so many
years ago, so he is born in each one of us. We may ask what Jesus
wants of us. He wants us to give our hearts to him. By giving
ourselves to God we too become lights to the world.
The children sing the first verse of Away in a Manger. All join
in on verses 2&3. It is followed by the Offertory hymn "Joy
to the World" and Eucharist.
362 Tell out my Soul
Standing in the Rain
Mary Had a Baby
135 Shepherds in the Field Abiding
Go Tell it on the Mountain
We Three Kings
126 Away in a Manger
For Sunday School
and Home School