Mary, the mother of Jesus, had many memories that "she treasured in her heart" (Luke 2:51). In this drama, we meet both the young Mary and the older Mary, who remembers and tells once more the wondrous story of how Jesus was born. All the parts can be played by children except for the older Mary, who could well be one of the children's worship leaders in the congregation.
Children (5 or 6, through fifth grade))
Young Mary (teen)
Shepherds (3 or 4)
Wise Men (3)
[Older Mary, using a handcrafted walking stick, enters from the rear of the worship space. Several children follow her, begging:]
Child 1: Please, Aunt Mary, tell us a story.
Child 2: We love to hear your stories.
Child 3: You haven't told us a story in a long time.
Child 4: Would you show us again what's in your memory trunk?"
Older Mary: [objects weakly] Are you sure your mothers won't be worried about you? You must have some chores to do. . . . Well, just for a little while then. Gather around, children, and I'll see what I can find.
[Mary comes home, sits on her stool with the children gathered on the floor around her. "Home" is a stool, rug, and vase or basket and a "chest" of some kind for her valuables.]
Older Mary: You children are right. I haven't opened my memory trunk in quite a while, and you know how I love to share these things with you. They help me remember one of the most amazing and wonder-filled times of my life. Let me see. . . . [Mary takes an angel figure out of the trunk. The children gather closer to see.] What's this? An angel... an angel of the Lord appeared to me long ago when I was just a little older than you are. His name was Gabriel. God sent Gabriel because he had a very important message for me that day.
[Lights out on older Mary and up on young Mary, center stage.]
MARY AND THE ANGEL
[The parts of the young Mary and Gabriel are adapted from Eugene Peterson's The Message and from the NIV (Luke l:30ff.). Two readers can read the parts, or Mary and Gabriel can say them from memory.]
Angel: Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
[Mary looks frightened.]
Angel: Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Highest.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; he will rule Jacob's house forever— his kingdom will never end.
Mary: But how? I'm not married.
Angel: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest will hover over you; so the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.
Mary: [bowing before the angel] I am the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.
[Lights fade out on this scene and come up on older Mary and the children.]
Older Mary: I was afraid that day. Afraid of the angel and the message he brought. But knowing Yahweh God was smiling on me gave me courage and hope.
[Lights for congregational singing:]
"Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" PsH 329, PH 1, 2, RL 183, SFL 122, TH 196, TVVC 135
[Lights back on older Mary.]
Child 1: Tell us some more....
Child 2: What else do you have in there?
Child 3: Let me see too-----
Older Mary: [taking out carpentry tool] My goodness! I haven't seen this in years. Dear Joseph—would he believe me if I told him about the angel and his message? Would you have believed me?
Children: I would!
Older Mary: [smiling at the children] You say that you would—now that you've heard the story so often. But I wonder... would you have believed me back then? When you heard the story for the first time? Joseph was very troubled by my news. But God knew my fears and Joseph's fears and quietly took care of things for me.
[Lights fade out and come up on Joseph, dreaming.]
JOSEPH AND GABRIEL
[Gabriel appears to Joseph, who is lying on a bench or on a rug on the risers, asleep.]
Angel: Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's baby is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus, which means, "God saves," because he will save his people from their sins.
[Lights up for congregational singing:]
"That Boy-Child of Mary" ™352-m 55>SPL130
st. 1-4: congregation on stanzas, children on refrain
st. 5: all
[Lights back to older Mary.]
Older Mary: [still looking at the tool] Joseph believed that angel dream and knew that what I had told him was true. So he went ahead with our marriage plans, knowing how difficult it would be. A good man, Joseph—God's choice to be the earthly father of his own Son. [puts tool away]
A few months later we got news that the Roman governor was going to take a census. He wanted to count all the people he ruled so that he could collect the right amount of taxes. All the people were ordered to go to their family's hometown to enroll. For Joseph, who could trace his family all the way back to King David, that meant going to Bethlehem. Bethlehem, you know, was King David's home village. I remember that journey so well. .. . See my walking stick? [Mary takes stick and holds it for the children to see.] Joseph made it to help me along the way....
[Lights fade out and come up on young Mary and Joseph walking to Bethlehem.]
MARY AND JOSEPH ON THE ROAD TO BETHLEHEM
[Mary and Joseph enter from back of sanctuary. Young Maiy should now be holding the walking stick. Either two readers read their lines or Mary and Joseph say them pom memoiy.]
Mary: Joseph, I know it's more difficult for you to travel with me along, since the baby's coming so soon. But the angel said this child would be a king from the line of David. I believe the angel meant for him to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. I know I can make it that far.
Joseph: Don't worry, Mary. We'll reach Bethlehem soon. God certainly will take care of us. I'm sure there will be a place for us to stay in Bethlehem. Here, lean on me.
[Lights up for congregational singing:]
"My Soul in Stillness Waits," Gather 252
[Lights return to older Mary.]
Older Mary: We did make it to Bethlehem. The sleepy little village was buzzing with activity—but I wasn't thinking about that. Not at all. I knew my baby was ready to be born. All I wanted was a room somewhere [takes out strips of cloth as she talks]. Dear Joseph searched everywhere, but people took one look at me and sent us quickly on our way. I guess no one wanted to be bothered with a newborn baby. Finally, one innkeeper took pity on us and led us to his stable. The animals were settled down for the night. Joseph made a bed of clean straw for me, and there, in that humble place, the promised child was born.
[Lights fade out on older Mary and come up on Mary and Joseph in the stable looking at the child. Maiy tenderly places him in the manger.]
MARY AND JOSEPH WITH
BABY JESUS IN THE STABLE
[Reader reads Luke 2:6-7 while three-year-olds dressed as angels gather around the manger.]
Reader 1: While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
"Away in a Manger" PsH 348, PH 24, 25, RL 213, 214, SFL 129, TH 204, 205, TWC 149
[Lights fade on the stable scene and return to older Mary.]
Older Mary: Joseph named the baby Jesus, just as the angel had said. Jesus... Savior.... [takes out wool] We had visitors already that first night.
Child 1: Uncle Ezra?
Older Mary: No, not any relatives or friends. Some shepherds found their way to the stable in the wee hours of the morning to see our baby.
[Lights fade on Mary; rise on shepherds.]
Subscribers to RW may reprodu bulletin cover.
SHEPHERDS AND THE ANGELS
Note: This scene uses third- to fifth-graders.
[Four or five shepherds are gathered around a "fire" to keep warm when the angel appears to them. Reader and Angel characters read (or recite from memory) Luke 2:8-15 while shepherds act out the scene. If possible, shine a light on the "angel host" when they appear.]
Reader 2: There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified.
Angel: Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town—he is Christ the Lord. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Reader 2: At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
Angel Host: [children speaking in unison] Glory to God in the heavenly heights. Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
"Gloria, Gloria" PH 576, SFL 134, TWC 825
Reader 2: As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us," they said. They left, and found Mary and Joseph, and saw the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child.
[Shepherds move to the stable scene, kneel to worship the Christ child, and then leave to tell the good news. Lights come up for congregational singing:]
"Go, Tell it on the Mountain" PsH 356, PH 29, RL 224, SFL 131, TH 224, TVVC 151
stanzas 1-2: children
stanza 3: all
[Lights back on older Mary.]
Older Mary: Shepherds hearing angel choirs, then finding us in the stable... it seems almost impossible. But at least these shepherds were poor common folk, like Joseph and me.
We were even more amazed when, months later, we had other special visitors. One day wise men— men who studied the stars, who came from a country far east of the land of Israel—came to worship Jesus. What a sight they made...[takes out a golden object] They brought gifts for Jesus, gifts fit for a king.
[As the Reader reads from Matt. 2:9-11, light fades to Wise Men coming in from side aisle. They enter the "house" where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are. They present their gifts and kneel before Jesus. The "gold" gift should be the same as Mary's treasure.]
Reader 3: The star appeared... the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place where the child was. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
"Child So Lovely" SFL 140
[Light fades out on Wise Men, comes up on older Mary.]
Older Mary: Now children, I've kept you away from your chores long enough....
Children: [all speaking at the same time] Please tell us more....
We know you have more things in your trunk...
What about the time when ... ?
Older Mary: I love remembering these stories with you children. I promise there will be more time another day. But I'm tired now and should rest awhile. We all know this is just the beginning of God's wonderful plan to bring salvation to all people of the world. Perhaps someday God will show us more of the mystery of his love for us. I know that it all started with a promised Child born one night long ago in a stable in Bethlehem.
[Lights on the stable scene. All sing:]
"O Come, All Ye Faithful" PsH 340, PH 41, 42, RL 195, TH 208, TWC 173
"Joy to the World" PsH 337, PH 40, RL 198, SFL 137, TH 195, TWC 146
[Children join their parents.]
NEW ADVENT/CHRISTMAS RELEASES IN DRAMA SERIES
Looking for more Scripture-based dramas to use in worship? Consider the Noel and Scripture Alive! series—dramas designed to make the Christmas story come alive for your congregation.
Noel series dramas include parts for both children and adults so that the whole family of faith can retell the story together. Titles in the series include
- The Newborn King (based on Matthew's genealogy) #2290-0030RW
- Preparing the Way for Jesus (based on the gospel of Luke) #2290-0010RW
- Good News from John #2290-0040RW
- Come to Bethlehem #2290-0050RW
In addition, CRC Publications is releasing three new titles in the Scripture Alive! series. These worship dramas integrating Scripture and song can serve as part or all of a worship service. Most of the lines are directly from Scripture, masterfully woven together by Bert Polman. The services are complete, including all the music.
- Comfort Now My People: The Advent Message from Isaiah #2280-0080RW
- God with Us: The Christmas Message from the Gospels #2280-0090RW
- This Is My Beloved Son: The Baptism of Jesus #2280-0100RW.
Any size church can use these dramas, either as full-fledged dramas with costumes and memorized lines, or more simply with readers strategically placed in the worship space. One copy is all you need; you are invited to reproduce the script for all the readers or actors participating. To order, simply call 1-800-333-8300 and ask for the product numbers listed. $14.95US/20.20CAN.