Christmas Around the World: A children's drama that celebrates the spread of the Gospel

Cast

Three wise men
Children dressed in costumes representing some nationality. Each carries the flag of the country represented; for our drama we chose

—Europeans (Germany)
—Asians (Japan)
—South Americans (Venezuela)
—Native Americans (Canada)
—African (Malawi)

[Stage is two levels of risers, empty except for a floor mike, a lectern, and a candle. Angel enters.]

Angel: Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I am an angel. I'm not Gabriel or Michael or any of the angels whose names you know. But I am an angel who you know something about. You remember the Christmas story? Remember how Luke talks about an angel of the Lord who appeared to the shepherds out in their fields keeping watch over their flocks by night? Well, that was me. I was the one God chose to speak to the shepherds. I still remember my lines: "Fear not, for I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people. For to you this day in the city of David a Savior is born; he is Christ the Lord."

It was an exciting day when I spoke those words. We were all thrilled that Jesus was born! But I remember that even in the middle of all that excitement, there was one thing I wasn't sure about. God told me to say that the good news of Jesus' birth would be for all people. For everyone over the whole earth. I found that hard to believe because Jesus was just one little baby all by himself—he was so small. And Mary and Joseph were such humble people—they weren't kings or empresses or anything. How could such a small baby born to such ordinary people really be someone who makes a difference to all people everywhere? I wasn't sure it was possible.

Well, it was possible, and today—with the help of these children and some visitors—you're going to hear how it happened.

[Enter one of the wise men.]

Wise man: Hello. I am one of the wise men. I was one of the first people from another nation to hear about the new baby. My friends and I were led by a mysterious star hundreds of miles across deserts and over mountains. Finally that star led us to Bethlehem and to Jesus. When we saw the child, we worshiped him and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We knew that he was our king.

We were the first. But since then many other people from many other nations have heard about this baby. And all of them have come to worship Jesus, just as we did.

Song: "Prepare the Way of the Lord" SFL 124

[We sang this three times while three-year-olds processed into the church; then two more times in a round. The three-year-olds returned immediately to parents.]

Africa

[Etnter a child dressed in African—preferably Malawian— clohing, carrying a Malawian flag.]

Malawian child: I am from Malawi, and I have heard the good news for all people. Malawi is in Africa—the western part of Africa, to be exact. Life in my country is very different from yours. When you celebrate Christmas, in many parts of your country it's cold and snowy. In my country it is sometimes one hundred degrees on Christmas day. We don't have Christmas trees either. And we don't hang up our stockings.

But you and I do share one thing: Just like you, I believe that the baby born in Bethlehem is our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace. Jesus is my king too.

[Child puts flag in a holder in circle around the Christ candle.]

Angel: The people in Africa were some of the first to hear the gospel. A hundred years after Jesus was born, there were many Christians in the north part of Africa. And since then, many missionaries and volunteers have worked to make sure that everyone in Africa hears the good news. Now people in faraway places like Malawi remember Christmas. And they sing their own songs to celebrate the birth of Mary's child.

[Distribute rhythm instruments to children in the first row, who wilt use them on the chorus. Collect them immediately after the song and give woodblocks to the kids to use later on "Child So Lovely."]

Song: "That Boy Child of Mary" PsH 352, PH 55, SFL 130

Asia

[Enter a Japanese child carrying a Japanese flag.]

Japanese child: I have heard the good news for all people. I am from Japan, far away on the other side of the world from you. In my country, most people are not Christians. In fact, we have one hundred million people, but only about one million of us are Christians. Many of our people are only just learning about who Jesus is and what he did. They are only beginning to find out that God actually became a person for our sake. But some of us already know. And Jesus is our King too.

[Child puts flag in a holder in circle around the Christ candle.]

Angel: The first missionaries came to Japan in the 1500s, and they faced an uphill battle. Some people believed in Jesus, but many others didn't. And some of the unbelievers were powerful people who began persecuting the church. Christians were tortured and killed because of what they believed. But some stayed faithful to the message. And because of them many Japanese people do celebrate Jesus' birth. And they sing their own songs of praise.

Song: "Sheep Fast Asleep" PH 52, RL 211, SFL 135

[Introduction played on flutes.]

Europe

[Enter a child dressed in German clothing carrying a German flag.]

German child: I am from Germany, and 1 have heard the good news for all people. Life in Germany is much like life in your country. We celebrate Christmas in the same way you celebrate. We have Christmas trees and Christmas gifts. We go to church on Christmas day and sing carols. And we Germans have celebrated the birth of Jesus for a long time. Jesus is my king too.

[Child puts flag in a holder in circle around the Christ candle.]

Angel: The Germans didn't always know about Jesus. It was seven hundred years after Jesus lived before a man named St. Boniface came to the people living in Germany to tell them the good news. At that time the Germans were worshiping a large oak tree. They thought that this tree was their lord. St. Boniface wanted to show them that Jesus was the real Lord. So he took an axe and cut the tree down. When the people saw that Boniface wasn't struck dead by the tree god, they realized that Jesus must be more powerful than the oak tree. So they began to worship Jesus. And now millions of children in Germany are singing their own songs to celebrate his birth!

Song: "Silent Night! Holy Night! PsH 344, PH 60, RL 216, TH 210, TWC 164

stanza 1: children
stanzas 2-4: congregation and handbells

South America

[Enter child carrying the Venezuelan flag.]

Venezuelan child: I have heard the good news for all people. I am from South America—from Venezuela to be exact. My country is very different than yours. It's very hot all year long, and we have jungles and rainforests and all sorts of strange creatures. Life in Venezuela is not like life in the United States and Canada.

But we do share one thing. We both believe in the same promises. We both believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that some day all of us, no matter where we're from, will worship him. Jesus is my king too.

[Child puts flag in a holder in circle around the Christ candle.]

Angel: The people of Venezuela first heard about Jesus from Spanish missionaries five hundred years ago. Many of the Spanish people were not very friendly to the people of Venezuela. The Spanish came as a conquering army, and sometimes they were cruel to the Venezuelans. But many of the priests who came with the army were kind. And the priests' message was not a message of war and cruelty; it was a good message—a message of peace and hope. It was the same good news that I gave to the shepherds in the field so many years ago. And so today people in Venezuela have their own Christmas songs celebrating Jesus' birth.

Song: "Child So Lovely" SFL 140

[With woodblocks; children put them back under seats after song.]

North America

[Enter child dressed in Native American garb carrying a Canadian flag.]

Canadian child: I have heard the good news for all people. I am a Canadian—an original Canadian. I live along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, and my people are called the Huron tribe. For many years my people had not heard about Jesus at all. We didn't know that God had sent his Son to become a person like us and to save us from our sins. But four hundred years ago we heard the good news, and now Jesus is my King too.

[Child puts flag in a holder in circle around the Christ candle.]

Angel: In 1620 missionaries from France began working among the Huron people. The work was hard and dangerous, and the cold winters made life difficult. One of these missionaries was named Father Brebeuf, and he wrote a song to help the Hurons understand who Jesus was. The song showed them what his birth meant to people living in lodges in the forests of Canada. And today thousands of Canadian children still sing this song.

Song: "Huron Carol" SFI 139

[with xylophones played by two children]

Angel: So you see how wrong I was. Even though 1 didn't see how it was possible, my message came true. That screaming little baby lying in the stall really is the King of the universe. The good news of great joy really is for all people. For Japanese, for Canadians, for Germans, for Malawians, for Venezuelans .. . and for you.

[As these words are spoken, children who represented the different countries come forward and gather around the Christ candle.]

Angel: Behold! I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be for all people. For on this day a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Come, let us adore him.

Song: "O Come, All Ye Faithful" PsH 340, PH 41, 42, RL 195, TH 208, TWC 173

Peter M. Jonker is pastor at Woodlawn Christian Reformed Curch, Grand Rapids, Michigan.