live pageantHow do you tell the Christmas story to a group of people who are intellectually disabled?  Of course, this is a dilemma no matter where your ministry lies.  If you are a parent, can you make the story fresh to your growing brood?  If you preach to a congregation of 10,000, what is the method you will use to keep the message relevant while remain true to the gospel message? Each year I try to find a different way to share the story of God’s love incarnated into a man to the programs I shepherd at The Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.

This year, I told the story using members who are least  physically able to respond as the characters.  I joked and laughed with them, sharing as humorously as possible the in’s and out’s of the Biblical account.  Because I work with three different programs at Special Gathering, each reenactment had different characters and each one was vastly different because of the diverse personalities that made up the “casts.”

angelIn each program, there was one person whose personality shined through when selected.  I chose the people at random asking them to participate as their character was introduced.  Mary was a young woman who is extremely low functioning in one of our enactments.  Everyone attending applauded when I selected her. Her smile told the story of her delight and her smile carried the action through until the end.

The first time we had our presentation, there was a small group of 17 people.  Therefore, we had one angel who came to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds.  This person was animated and funny.  His flair for the dramatic was obvious.  After he had spoken to Mary, I said, “Then the angel disappeared.”  He looked at me quizzically and shrugged his shoulders, acting as though I expected him to disappear.  “Can’t you even disappear?”  I asked.   He pretended to try to disappear.  “What kind of angel are you?”  I asked.  Again, he mischievously responded with a great deal of humor and delight.

Each time he “appeared” the audience laughed with pleasure at his antics and showmanship.  We played off each other and I took my cues from his facial expressions and movements.  We all laughed all through the actions because of his good humor.

At our largest program, there were more than 50 people from which to draw.  Mary was a higher functioning young woman She does not walk or speak.  We call her the “queen” because everyone loves her so much that we fight over who will serve her and push her wheelchair.

Charlie BrownThe surprise, however, was the man I chose to be Joseph.  This Joseph is an amazing actor.  He, too, is physically disabled.  He navigates with a walker.  Extreme palsy plagues the movements of his body, making them exaggerated with spasms and violent jerks.  Yet, in front of an audience, this Joseph came alive with expression and animation.  He was the attentive lover.  His visage stormed with disappointment and anger, when he heard about Mary’s pregnancy.  His face showed shock at the angel visitation; then his movements turned to extreme tenderness toward Mary.

I keep the story simple but embellishing it with the emotions that each character must have felt.  Laughter and silliness are the mark of the day.  Of course, I don’t make fun of the details of the story but, like this year, there is always someone who wants to play the clown and I play off of their ability to laugh at an awkward situation or a unique situation.

After we laugh and play, I turn the story to the seriousness of Jesus’ sacrifice.  The good news of God’s love for us is amplified by the birth and life of this humble god-man who was born in order that he might die for us.

Christmas treeAs Pastor Iman passed Eric who paced back and forth at the back of the room, the pastor asked the young man, “What part do have in the play?”

“I’m the star,” Eric said, scratching his head and facing the inquiring man.

“Oh, that’s great but what is your part?”

“I’m the star,” Eric repeated, patiently.

“I know you are the star; but what is the part you are playing tonight?”

Eric’s autism kicked in as he nervously hit the air with his fist and said, “I told you.  I’m the star.”

Christmas playRealizing that Eric’s patience was gone, the interested Pastor walked away, still wondering what part Eric was playing in our annual Christmas play.

Sunday evening, The Special Gathering of Melbourne had our annual play and cantata.  “A Florida Christmas” is a playful enactment of the Christmas events of 2000 years ago.  One song brings tears to those of us who have learned the music.  Nevertheless,  most of the music and the play is joyfully planned to be fun.

Christmas ChoirWhile the song that introduces the wise men was sung, Eric’s part was to carry the star guiding the wise men to the Savior.  As he had reported to the inquiring pastor, Eric was the star.

After the performance, Pastor Inman came to me laughing about his mistake.

There are times that all of us are misunderstood when we are trying to communicate the best we can.  However, we must continue to repeat the facts.  We are called to teach and share the good news of Jesus and his love.  His mercy and grace are free gifts and that is the story of Christmas.  Even though others may not be able to understand that simple message, it does not diminish the truth of our Savior’s sacrifice.  After all, Jonathan Smith correctly penned in one of the song that we sang this year, “I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say, but this is such a strange way to save the world.”

Yesterday was one of those days.  For months, I’ve tried to figure out how The Special Gathering of Indian River Christmas play should be written.  Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our population learns more slowly than normal; yet they are adults.  It is important that the play is not only educationally appropriate but also appropriate for adults.

Regarding the play, I write it.  Therefore, I begin searching for ideas for the next year as soon as the play is written for the current year.  Sounds as though I’d be way ahead of the game by mid-summer, doesn’t it?   That could be true if I can “see” the logistics of the play.  Many years I’m a bit stumped regarding some portion of the production.  My idea this year comes from the participation of the youth department at our program in one of our programs.  Yet, how do I make it appropriate for our other program.

During my prayer time yesterday, I suddenly knew how the play should be written so that it would be age appropriate and would easily adapt to our other program that does not have youth participation.  I began working on the play about 6:30am.  By 9:30am, I was ready to send it to our staff and volunteers for their suggestions and comments.

Then I began working on other deadline projects.  I was able to complete them all.

By the end of the day, I was thrilled at the productive time I’d experienced.  As I crawled into bed, I was pretty satisfied with the accomplishments of the day.  I prayed, “Lord, thank you so much for the great day.  I feel your presence and your pleasure because of all the work I was able to do today.”

Gently, I felt the Lord’s response, “Linda, I’m with you, leading and directing you at your least productive day, also.  Sometimes I have a greater goal in your life than finishing tasks.”

Whoa!  My tired brain soared.  Of course, it is great to be able to complete tasks.  But what about the days that you work diligently and nothing is accomplished.  Is God pleased with your failed efforts?  Will the Lord honor us, even when we fall short?

Johnnie and Peter Lord

Years ago, Johnnie Lord, the wife of well-known Pastor Peter Lord, said that the Lord assured her that he was much more concerned about the intent of her heart than her actual performance.  While the Bible teaches us this truth, we forget.

How has God assured you that he loves you even when you don’t “perform up to par”?  Are you able to pass on to others the same gace and mercy?

December 5 means that both of the Special Gathering Christmas plays are over in Melbourne and Vero.  This year, there was no bearded Mary.  There was no Joseph with a nose bleed.  No one slipped, fell or broke a leg.

However, in our song about Joseph and how he was angry with Mary because of the baby who had been conceived, one of our soloists sang, “While Joseph tossed an angel.”  The words were “while Joseph tossed in anger.”  Fortunately, no one seemed to notice a song in which we advocate abuse of heavenly visitors.

One of our angels grew uncomfortable in her costume, so her helpful staff took off the bulky robe and head gear.  Our member sat happily in the back of the auditorium with her staff until it came time for the angels to go to the front of the stage to announce the birth to the shepherds.

On cue, she noisily broke away from her staff and took her rightful place with all the other angels.

I love what I do.  I love a gracious Lord who placed me right where he wanted me and brought me to these wonderful people who love Him with all their hearts.  I love the surprises and the angelic abuse and the wandering angels.

 

JOY!

It’s Christmas Time

A Christmas play and cantata performed by The Special Gathering of Indian River

Vero Program

7:00PM

Saturday, December 3

at Tabernacle Ministries

51 Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach, Florida

Dress rehearsal begins at 3:30pm.  Light supper will be served for the actors before the play.

Refreshments will be served after the play

Melbourne Program

Sunday, December 4

at First United Methodist Church of Melbourne

110 E New Haven Avenue, Melbourne, Florida

Dress rehearsal begins at 4:30

Refreshments will be served after the play

This is the Christmas play we will be using in Melbourne, Vero and South Carolina programs of Special Gathering.  You will need to use your imagination to adapt it to your own staging area.  In one of our programs, we have not curtains.  We adapt the play to fit the area in which we must perform.

The music is from Cedarmont Kids, “Gospel Christmas Songs” Album.  Your choir will love the upbeat Spirituals with a Jamaican influence.  My choirs have not even noticed that the songs are sung by a children’s choir. 

You can order the album on line.  The songs are sung twice.  The second set has split track.

Joy!  It’s Christmas Time

By Linda G. Howard

Choir should be positioned on the side of the stage opposite where the actors will be entering and exiting the stage. Three people come to the front. 

Speaker 1—We’d like for everyone to join us as we sing, “Joy to the World.”  Everyone, including audience sings, “Joy to the World.” 

Joy to the World! The Lord is Come

1. Joy to the World!  The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King.

      Let every heart prepare Him room,

      And heaven and nature sing, And haven and nature sing,

      And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

2.  Joy to the World the Savior reigns, Let men their songs employ.

      While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

      Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy,

      Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

3.  He rules the world with truth and grace,

      And make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness

      And wonders of His love,

      And wonders of His love,

      And wonders, wonders of His love.

Speaker 2—(Comes from the audience.  He puts his hands on his hips as though angry)  Okay, it’s Christmas but can we really be singing about Joy?  Everything is a mess.  There are wars.  People hate us.  We hate others.  I don’t know where you get all that joy stuff.

Speaker 3—Hey, sit down!  You are messing up our play.  This is the story about Jesus’ birth. 

Speaker 1—That’s right.  Can somebody make this person sit down?  Will anyone help us?

Speaker 4—Wait a minute.  Isn’t this why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday?  We need to help people understand why Jesus’ life is important to us.

Speaker 2—Yeah, why do you think that Jesus was such an important person?  What makes his birth special?

Speaker 1—Sit down and watch our play.  We’ll explain it all to you. 

Speaker 2–Okay.  I’ll watch your play.  After all, it is Christmas time.

Reader 1:       God, the Father, knew that people need someone to help them with their lives.  We need a Savior.  Sin has made us fearful.  We hurt each other and ourselves.  God had a plan to send His Savior.  That Savior was His son, Jesus.

Choir sings “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy.”   Mary comes from behind curtain, looking up to the sky.  The house lights go off and the only light is on Mary.  The Angel Gabriel comes from the opposite side of the stage.  She should be looking in the opposite direction.  He quietly stands behind Mary.  She does not see him. 

2. The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy  

1.     The Virgin Mary had a Baby boy. (3xs)

        And they said that His name will be Jesus.

chorus

He come from the glory.

He come from the glorious kingdom

He come from the glory.

He come from the glorious kingdom

2. The Angels sang when the Baby was born…

chorus

3. The Shepherds came-a when the Baby was born…

chorus

4. The wise men saw-a where the Baby was born…

chorus

Reader 2:  God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee.  The girl was engaged to marry a man named Joseph.  Her name was Mary. 

(As the choir begins to sing, “Wonderful Counselor,” the angel takes Mary‘s hands.)

3. Wonderful Counselor 

1. Tell me, who do you call The Wonderful Counselor?

 (Chorus)

Oh, oh, glory, hallelujah

Oh, oh, glory, hallelujah

Glory, Hallelujah to the newborn King.

2. The Holy Spirit will come on the Blessed Virgin Mary.  (Chorus)

3. Well, they’ll call Jesus, “TheWonderful Counselor.”  (Chorus)

4. Cryin’ Peace on earth, Good will to your neighbor…  (Chorus)

5. Well, I call Jesus, my wonderful Savior… (Chorus)

6. They’ll follow the star to find the baby…  (Chorus)

When the song ends, the angel leaves.  The curtain opens and Mary sits on a bench. Hands and face held up in prayer.

Joseph comes out and stands in the center of the stage. Mary stands and meets him and uses gestures to explain about the angel.   As they talk to each other, they move around the stage.  Choir sings, “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child.”


4.  Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child 

(chorus) Jesus! Jesus! Oh, what a wonderful child!

Jesus!  Jesus! So lowly, meek and mild.

New life, new hope, new joy He’ll bring

Won’t you listen to what the angel proclaims.

Glory, glory, glory, to the newborn king.

I am an angel from the heavenly King.

He’ll born in a lowly manger.

The Virgin Mary is his mother.

And Joseph, you’re His earthly father. 

Take Mary to be your only wife

You’ll be blessed with a heavenly star.

To see King Jesus will be your joy

In a manger filled with hay.

Repeat chorus 2xs

Tag  Glory, glory, glory, to the newborn king.

Reader 1:       Mary was engaged to marry Joseph.  But before they married, Mary learned that she was pregnant with a child by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mary’s husband, Joseph was a good man.  He did not want to bring shame to Mary before the people.  So he planned to divorce her secretly. 

Mary turns away from Joseph and has her back to the audience. She slowly walks back stage.  The choir sings “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”  Joseph goes to center stage.  He is confused, hurt, and angry.  He sits down and falls asleep. 

As the choir begins to sing “Go Tell it,” Joseph’s Angel comes on stage wakes him up and talks to Joseph.  At verse 3, the angel leaves.  Mary comes on stage.  Joseph goes to Mary, takes her hand and helps her off the stage.

5.  Go! Tell It on the Mountain 

 (chorus) Go, tell it on the mountain,

Over the hills and everywhere;

Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

1.     While Joseph tossed in anger,

 An Angel came to earth,

The Angel came to tell him

Of our great Savior’s birth.

2.     The Heavenly One told Joseph,

“Take Mary as your wife.

She’ll be the Savior’s mother.

He’ll live a holy life.”

3.     So he obeyed the angel

The humble Christ was born

And brought us God’s salvation

That blessed Christmas morn.

Chorus

Reader 3:  And Joseph did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream.  He married Mary.

(Joseph puts his arm around Mary.  Mary and Joseph walk off the stage. Close curtain or the stage should be empty.)

Reader 2:    At that time Augustus Caesar sent out an order to all people.  The order said that all people must write their name in a book.  All people traveled to their own towns to be registered.  So Joseph went to Bethlehem in Judea.  Joseph went with Mary.  While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby.

 The choir sings, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem.”

6.  O Little Town of Bethlehem 

O little town of Bethlehem—

How still we see thee lie

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

The everlasting light;

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, And gathered all above.

While mortal sleep the angels keep

Their watch of wondering love.

O Morning Stars together proclaim the Holy birth

And praises sing to God the king and peace to men on earth!

(Back to first verse.  Audience is invited to sing with them.)

As the choir sings, shepherds should move to the front floor area.  At verse three, open the curtains. Mary and Joseph should be center stage with the baby in Mary’s arms.  There should be no angels or shepherds on stage at this time.

Reader 4:  That night, Mary gave birth to her first son, Jesus. 


Choir sings “Mary had a Baby.”

7.  Mary Had a Baby

Mary had a baby.  Yes, Lord. 

Mary had a baby. Yes, my Lord;

Mary had a baby, Yes, Lord!

The people keep a comin’ and the train done gone.

1. What did she name him?  Yes, Lord.

What did she name?  Yes my lord;

What did she name him, Yes, Lord.

The people keep a comin’ and the train done gone.

2.      She named Him King Jesus, Yes, Lord!

She named him King Jesus, Yes, my Lord.

Wonderful Couns’lor. Yes, Lord.

The people keep a comin’ and the train done gone.

3.      Where did she lay him?  Yes Lord!

Laid Him in a manger?  Yes, my Lord!

Wrapped Him in swaddlin’, Yes, Lord!

The people keep a comin’ and the train done gone

Reader 5:       Some shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep.

Reader 6:       An angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds and said,

Reader 7:       “Don’t be afraid.”

Angels walk up.  They should point the shepherds to Mary and Joseph and the baby. 

Choir sings,“Rise Up Shepherds and Follow.”

8.  Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow

There’s a star in the east on Christmas morn,

Rise up, shepherd and follow.

It will lead to the place where the Savior’s born,

Rise up, shepherd and follow.

Leave your sheep and leave your rams,

Rise up, shepherd and follow.

Leave your flocks and leave your lambs.

Rise up, shepherd and follow.

If you take good heed to the angel’s words

Rise up, shepherd and follow.

You’ll forget your flocks; you’ll forget your herds;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

Follow, follow, Rise up, shepherd and follow.

Follow the star of Bethlehem. Rise up, shepherd and follow.

Rise up, shepherd and follow. Rise up, shepherd and follow.

 As soon as the song ends, the shepherds walk to the center stage on the floor and bow, if they can.  One or two shepherds should go on stage and bow before the manger. 

Angels should move on to the stage.  As the music begins for “Behold that Star,”  the wise men begin to move from the back.  They come on stage and kneel on the floor before the baby.

9. Behold that Star

(chorus)

Behold, that star

Behold, that star up yonder,

Behold, that star

This the star of Bethlehem.

There was no room found in the inn.

This the star of Bethlehem.

For Him who was born free from sin,

This the star of Bethlehem.

(chorus)

The Wise men came from the East

This the star of Bethlehem.

To worship, Him, the Prince of Peace

This the star of Bethlehem.

(chorus)

(tag)  This the star of Bethlehem.

Choir sings, “Silent Night” as speakers 1, 3 and 4 move to the front of the stage on the floor.  Then speaker 1 goes and gets speaker 2 and helps him to come onto the front of the stage.  Speaker 2 bows at the manger.  Then all the other speakers come on the stage and bow with him.

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night, All is calm all is bright.

Round yon virgin, mother and Child!

Holy infant so tender and mild. 

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly, heavenly peace

Silent night Holy night

Son of God, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeem grace

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Choir and audience sings “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Everyone, except Mary, stands and sings with the choir and audience.

O Come, All Ye Faithful

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!

Come and behold him, born the King of Angels!

O come, let us adore Him, (3xs) Christ, the Lord.

Sing, Choirs of Angels, Sing in exultation.

Sing, all ye hosts of heav’n above.

Glory to God all glory in the highest,

O come, let us adore Him, (3xs) Christ, the Lord!

Yea, Lord, We greet Thee, born this happy morning, Jesus to Thee be all glory given.

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing,

O come, let us adore Him, (3xs) Christ the Lord.

 

Here is the play that The Special Gathering of Indian River will be using this year.  It may be a good steal for you.  The music is taken from other stuff and doesn’t seem to be a good fit for learning.  However, you can plug in Christmas Carols.

Arise, Shine

by Linda Howard

copyright 2009

Choir is in place.  The choir sings, “Arise, Shine.” (Shepherds will cross the front area or move across the stage.  Some shepherds come in pairs.  Some of the shepherds should walk alone.)

Shepherds leave.

Reader 1:       For many centuries, the Jews had waited for the Messiah to be born.  Even Isaiah spoke about the Messiah.  He prophesied to Judea, “Arise, shine for your light has come.”  God had a plan to send His Son to earth in the fullness of time; but only God knew when that would be.  Few people understood that the Messiah would come as a baby, born in a small village town, a few miles from Jerusalem.   Even more, God intended that a virgin girl would give birth to this wonderful child.

Reader 2:  God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. 

Mary comes out and kneels in prayer against the bench.  She should be facing the audience.)

Choir sings, “On Bended Knee”

Angel will come on stage.  He will be facing the audience but he will be facing Mary’s back.  She will not be able to see him.

Angel will touch Mary’s shoulder and help her stand.  They will stand together.  As the choir sings verse 2 two times.

The Angel leaves.

Reader 3:  The girl was engaged to marry a man named Joseph.  Her name was Mary.  

Mary sits on the bench.  Joseph comes out and Mary goes to him and gestures to explain about the angel.   As they talk to each other, they move around the stage.

 

Reader 1:       Mary was engaged to marry Joseph.  But before they married, Mary learned that she was pregnant with a child by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mary’s husband, Joseph was a good man.  He did not want to bring shame to Mary before the people.  So he planned to divorce her secretly.   

Sadly, Mary leaves the stage.  Joseph paces around but finally puts a blanket on the floor and goes to sleep.  An angel comes on stage, Angel motions as though talking to Joseph.  Joseph acts surprised.

Reader 3:       But an angel came to Joseph in a dream.  The angel said, “Don’t be afraid to take Mary to be your wife.” 

Choir sings,  “Fear Not.”

When choir finishes, the Angel leaves.  Joseph walks to the back of the stage to get Mary.  They walk to center stage.  Joseph puts his arm around Mary and points to heaven.  They hug.  Then they walk off the stage.  The curtain closes.  Mary and Joseph walk on to the floor to the center of the room.  Back stage crew should set up table and three chairs.

Reader 2:    At that time Augustus Caesar sent out an order to all people.  The order said that all people must write their name in a book.  All people traveled to their own towns to be registered.  So Joseph went to Bethlehem in Judea.  Joseph went with Mary.  While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby.  She gave birth to her first son, Jesus.

On the floor, Mary and Joseph come out carrying a cloth bag.  They walk across the front.  OR THE WALK IN FROM OF THE CURTAINS ONSTAGE.   They stand together as the choir sings:  “More of You.” 

Mary and Joseph walk toward back stage.  They disappear behind the stage area.

Curtain opens.  Three shepherds are on stage sitting at a table with three glasses.   An  inn keeper comes on stage.  The innkeeper has an apron on and she is carrying a pitcher and pretends to refill the glasses.  As she refills the glasses, they begin to talk.

Shepherd 1:       It’s going to be another long night out in the fields watching our sheep. 

Inn keeper:        Watching sheep would be better than staying here with all these people coming in to town to register to pay their taxes. 

Shepherd 2:       What was Caesar thinking?  All these people commanded to come to our small town of Bethlehem. 

Innkeeper:         It’s the best year at the inn that I’ve ever had.  I’m completely full.  No one else can get into this inn or any other inn in town. 

Shepherd 3:       Yeah and I’ve been selling my sheep to the visitors.  Business is booming.

Shepherd 1:       Well, I don’t like having all these strangers here in Bethlehem.  Anything could happen.

Shepherd 2:       Oh, sure, the heavens could open up and angels could give us a message from God.

Shepherd 1:       Don’t be dumb.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I mean thieves and robbers.  I don’t like strangers. 

Shepherd 3:       Come on, Caleb.  Enjoy the extra money all these visitors have brought to us.  Don’t be so gloomy. 

Shepherd 1:       (turning to innkeeper) Sarah, if you are full, what will you do if there were an emergency?  What if someone comes in and is about to have a baby?

Innkeeper:         Like that is going to happen.  Hey, if it does, I’ll send them to the stables.  After all, it’s warm and clean.  They would even have some privacy.

 

Shepherd 2:       Well, we have to leave.  Don’t want to miss the angels. 

 (Everyone laughs.)

Innkeeper:         You shepherd have been in the fields too many nights.  You are acting crazier every day.

Shepherds leave.  Mary and Joseph come on stage into the inn.  The innkeeper points them to off stage.  The curtains close.  Choir sings “Salvation Lies in a Manger.”

 

During song, as soon as possible, then manger is set up.  Mary and Joseph return to the stage.  As soon as the manger is set up and Mary and Joseph are settled, open the curtain.  Mary should be holding the baby but, after the curtains open, she puts the baby in the manger.

Salvation Now Lies in a Manger

Salvation now lies in a manger,

Surrounded by straw and beasts of the field

And He shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor,

Almighty God, Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace.

He’s the Messiah.  He’ll reign forever.

He’s the Messiah.  He’ll reign forever.

He’s the Messiah.  He’ll reign forever.  Amen

As the choir sings, shepherds should move to the front area off stage.  When shepherds are in place, the reader begins.

Reader 3:       Some shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep.

Reader 4:       An angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds and said,

Reader 5:       “Don’t be afraid.”

Choir sings “Glory” (Song 6)  

Glory

Song 6

 Al le lu ia, Glory to God.

Glory to God and Peace on Earth. (2xs)

Go to Bethlehem and find the babe

Yes, let us rejoice with gladness

For our God now dwells on earth.

 

During the song, all the angels appear.  They should point the shepherds to the manger.  Shepherds go to the edge of the stage.  The three speaking shepherds SHOULD NOT go on stage and the choir sings, “No Higher Calling.”

No Higher calling

Song 7

Down at your feet, O Lord, is the most high place,

In your presence Lord, we see your face. 

We see your face. (2xs)

There is no higher calling, no greater honor than to bow and

          kneel before you, Lord.

I’m amazed by your presence, embraced at your meekness,

O Lord, I live to worship you.

 Some of the angels and shepherds  will go on stage.  The shepherds on stage kneel before the baby.  (IMPORTANT NOTE:  Be sure to choose shepherds who can kneel to go on the stage!)

Reader 3:       Wise men came from the East to worship the new born king.

As the music begins for “We Journey Afar.” The wise men begin to move from the back.  They come on stage and kneel before the baby.

We Journey Afar

Song 8

We journey a-far to find a new babe.

The King of the Earth has been born

His star has appeared in the vast western sky

The King of the Earth has been born.

We will find him, find him

Our journey won‘t be in vain.

We will find him, find him,

The king of the earth has been born

From the shepherds on the floor come the three talking shepherd and the innkeeper.  They walk to the center in front of the stage

Innkeeper:      You will never believe what happened to me tonight.  A young woman came into the inn and she was about to have a baby.  I had to rent out the stable to them. 

Shepherds (together):  Oh, we believe you. 

Innkeeper:      Hey, why are you back here?  Aren’t you supposed to be in the fields with the sheep?

Shepherd 1:    Hey, you will NEVER believe what just happened to us.  Remember, the prophet Isaiah said, “Arise, Shine.  For your light is come. The Lord’s glory will shine on you.”  WE can hardly believe what just happened to us.

Choir sings, “Arise, Shine.”  Choir moves from their places and shakes the hands of the people.