On the Road to Bethlehem A Pageant

by The Rev. Ann M. Smith

(A stable is set up at one side of the church. The door is closed.)

Scene 1 - Isaiah Greets the People
(Isaiah enters and stands at the lectern.)

Isaiah My name is Isaiah. I am a prophet of God. God sent the people of Israel a sign saying to them: "There is a young woman who is going to have a baby. She will call him Emmanuel, which means 'God is with us'. Then all the people who have lived in the dark will walk out into the light. The baby to be born will be our King. He will be as wise as Solomon, and as strong as God. He will be called the Prince of Peace. Now take heart, my people. Make a road through the desert for your God to come to you."

Processional Hymn: Prepare the Way of the Lord 107
(The choir processes into the church singing the hymn.)

Isaiah Here today, you are beginning a journey that leads to Bethlehem. There are others on the road to guide you on your way. Now hear the message the angels of God have for you.

Scene 2 - The Message of the Angels
Hymn: Gloria 376
(During the singing of the hymn the angels process in and take their place on the altar steps. Angels 1 and 2 and Gabriel go to the lectern.)

1st Angel The power of God can do all things, even things we think impossible.
2nd Angel God always makes a new beginning possible.
All: Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God in the highest.

Hymn: Gloria

Gabriel God sent me to the town of Nazareth, to a young girl called Mary. She was engaged to a man called Joseph, of the house of David. I said to her, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, and you are blessed. Don't be afraid. God has chosen you to be the mother of his Son. You must name him Jesus which means 'God has come to save us'."

Hymn: Once in Royal David's City

Gabriel Then we appeared to some shepherds out in the fields watching their flocks. We told them the wonderful news of Jesus' birth and where they could find him.

Hymn: Shepherds in the Field Abiding (vs. 3 & 4)
(Liturgical dance of the angels -
Vs. 3 The angels spread out into the aisles of the church.
Chorus: Gloria - they twirl to the right.
In excelsis deo - hand come together as if in prayer.
Gloria - twirl to the left.
In excelsis deo - they go down on one knee.

Vs. 4
Thanks good shepherds, true your story - hands held out
Let us go to Bethlehem - motion with one hand towards the stable.
Angels hymn the king of glory - one hand from their mouth to heaven.
Carol we with you and them - hands in motion to congregation.
Chorus: repeat
Repeat chorus as angels take their place in the stable.)

Scene 3 - The Story of the Shepherds

(The shepherds enter and begin to build their campfire. Two of the shepherds leave the fire building and go to the lectern.)

1st Shepherd We are poor, yet the angels visited us and told us of the birth of Jesus.
2nd Shepherd May it bring joy to us and peace to the earth.
1st Shepherd We were taking turns looking after the sheep that night when the strangest thing happened. The sky filled with light as if it were day. God's angels appeared to us. They told us the good news that Jesus was born. They sent us to Bethlehem to look for the child. We found them - Mary, Joseph, and the baby - just as we had been told.
2nd Shepherd Shepherd If you come with us to Bethlehem, you too will find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Hymn: Go Tell it on the Mountain (insert)
(During the hymn the shepherds go to the congregation, shake their hands and gesture for them to follow to Bethlehem. During the final chorus, they go to the stable.)

Scene 4 - The Three Kings

Hymn: We Three Kings (insert)
(During the singing of the hymn, the kings enter following a small child dressed as a star. The star stands behind the altar. The three kings go to the lectern.)

1st King We followed a star from the East where we live. It was a long journey. But we knew that the star would lead us to a king such as the world had never seen.
2nd King We brought fine gifts with us - gold, frankincense and myrrh.
3rd King Follow the star to Bethlehem and bring your gifts to the child.

Hymn: As with Gladness Men of Old vs. 1&3 160
(During the hymn the star leads the kings to the stable.)

Scene 5 - The Baby Jesus

(The door to the stable is opened to reveal Mary, Joseph and the baby in the stable.)

Mary Come in, dear people. You are welcome here. This is Jesus, the child you are looking for. Your journey ends here.
Joseph His birthplace is but a stable, poor and lowly. But the child you see before you is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah foretold it. Angels announced it. Humble shepherds brought their simple gifts. Great kings brought precious gifts. Come now and offer your gifts to the child.

Offertory hymn: Joy to the World 154


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