Mary Remembers

A Christmas Pageant

By 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.

Mary:

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 every told.

(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.

Mary: An angel appeared to me. He must have seen the startled look on my face.
Gabriel: 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.
Young
Mary:
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".

Mary:

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: (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 was.

Mary wraps the baby in the clothes and lays him in the manger. The animals gather around. The children sing "Mary Had a Baby".

Mary: (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.
Angel: 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."
Angels: 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'.

Mary: 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.

Mary: (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: (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

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