Monday, November 8, 2010

A Family Christmas

by Jeff & Kelli Childs
I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. - Psalms 121:1-2
FATHER & MOTHER – parents of a very large family
HANNA – the grumpy one
CALLIE – the know-it-all
ELIJAH – the Star Wars buff
HAYLEY – the cheerleader
NIKKI – the diva
DALTON – the sleepyhead
AMANDA – the bookworm

Bible with large-font printed verses inserted.
Stuffed animal for Hanna
Large text book for Callie
Light sabers for Elijah & Dalton
Pom-poms for Hayley
Tiara for Nikki
Nativity set

Father and Mother are dressed for an evening at home.
The children are dressed in Christmas pajamas.

Scene opens with MOTHER & FATHER sitting in chairs reading their Bibles. FATHER hears noises from the hall.

FATHER: Are you kids ready for bed? Come on in.

Children come in dressed for bed. Each comes in and starts doing something in character – e.g., DALTON and ELIJAH are having a light saber fight, HAYLEY is doing a cheer. The other children can be playing or trying to get Father to read their book.

FATHER waits patiently then speaks.

FATHER: Quiet everyone! Have a seat!

The children stop playing and gather around the parents.

FATHER: Okay, okay. Tonight we're going read the Christmas story. I think this year you all are old enough to read it for yourselves. (Offering Bible.) Who wants to read first?

HANNA:I will. (Takes Bible.) Where should I start? (Starts flipping through Bible.)

FATHER: Let’s start in the book of Isaiah.

AMANDA: (annoyed) Isaiah?!? That’s the Old Testament. The Christmas story is in the New Testament.

FATHER: But the story of Jesus starts with the prophecies of His birth. Check out these verses in Isaiah written about 700 years before Jesus was born. Hanna you start, and Amanda you finish. (FATHER opens Bible to reading for HANNA.)

HANNA: The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.

AMANDA: For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

MOTHER: Just like the people of Israel were in darkness until the Messiah came, people today live in darkness until Jesus comes to live in their hearts.

CALLIE: (showing off) You know, Jesus is sometimes called Emmanuel, which means "God with us."

FATHER: Very good, Callie. Will you read next for us, please. Luke 1:26-38.

CALLIE: In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

MOTHER: Even though Mary was afraid, she trusted God and was obedient.

FATHER: Let's sing a Christmas song. What would you guys like to sing?

CALLIE and HANNA both put their hands up, but CALLIE answers first.

CALLIE: Silent Night!

All sing. Hanna pouts.

FATHER: That was great. Let's read next about Jesus’ birth? (Noticing that ELIJAH is distracted by his light saber.) Elijah, would you please read Luke 2.

ELIJAH: (once he realizes he has been spoken to, takes Bible and reads)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 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.

What's a manger?

FATHER: A manger is a food trough or box. It was what the cows ate from. It was a weird place to put a baby, but remember they were in a barn. It had a dirt floor covered with animal droppings. (CHILDREN say “Ew!” and “Ick!”) The manger was probably the cleanest place in there.

MOTHER: Now that you know what a manger is, can you think of song with that in it?

ELIJAH and HANNA both put their hands up, but ELIJAH answers first.

ELIJAH: Away in a Manger.

All sing. Hanna pouts.

FATHER: And who wants to read about the shepherds?

HAYLEY: (jumping up & shaking her pom-poms, cheers) I do, I do, I-I-I-I-I-I do!

FATHER: Hmm. How about Hayley. Pick up the story at verse 8.

HAYLEY: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

FATHER: Think about it. God sent the most important birth announcement ever to this group of dirty, poor men that nobody even wanted to be around.

MOTHER: Let's sing a another song. What should we sing next?

HAYLEY and HANNA both put their hands up, but HAYLEY answers first.

HAYLEY: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

All sing. Hanna pouts.

FATHER: Let’s see. We’ve had Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherds. Who are we missing?

NIKKI: (very importantly) The wise men!

FATHER: That’s right! Would you read about the wise men, Nikki, in Matthew 2 please.

NIKKI: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

MOTHER: By faith the wise men followed the star, and it led them to the King, the baby Jesus.

FATHER: And they brought with them the things they valued most: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They laid these gifts before the baby Jesus as a sign worship and obedience.

MOTHER: We can do that, too.


MOTHER: By surrendering the things that we value most to Jesus. Not just our stuff, but our talents, too.

FATHER: And when we all do that, it will truly bring Joy to the World.

MOTHER: (Smiling) That would make a great song title.

FATHER: (Chuckling) Yes, it would. Why don't we sing Joy to the World?

As everyone sings, one child at a time gets quiet and looks at the thing he/she values most (light saber, tiara, etc.) and lays it in front of the manger then rejoins the singing. Finally, HANNA lays down her stuffed animal, kneels, and prays. When she's done, she smiles and joins in the singing.

FATHER: Okay, kids, it's getting late. Off to bed for all of you.

The CHILDREN leave with hugs and good-nights.

All CHILDREN leave except DALTON, who is asleep. FATHER walks over, picks him up, and carries him out. MOTHER turns out the light and follows them out.

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