.            all rights belong to Tanis Harms –
.              refer to

CHRISTMAS TABLEAU - written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:       the story and purpose of Jesus’ birth
SCRIPTURE:   Matthew 1:18-2:18; Luke 2:1-20
STYLE:       a Christmas program with songs,
.            scripture readings, and
.            dramatic soliloquies: each character
.            delivers a soliloquy, then poses around
.            the manger in the nativity tableau.
.            The recommended songs can be sung
.            either by the characters or a choir
.            or you can find other songs.
.            SHEPHERD/S, MAGI & extras, ANGEL, PERSON
Set & Props: manger, stool

.             $15.00 USD to receive a DIRECTOR’S SCRIPT
                         (plus sheet music)
  how you receive this & package description


.    - lyrics & music by Andrew L. Skoog

(READER/S enter and exit at stage left.)

R.1    (reads or recites Luke 1:30-33)
.      “The angel said to her,
.      ‘Do not be afraid, Mary;
.      for you have found favor with God.
.      And behold, you will conceive in your womb
.      and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
.      He will be great and will be called
.      the Son of the Most High;
.      and the Lord God will give Him
.      the throne of His father David;
.      and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
.      and His kingdom will have no end.’”

(MARY enters.  All actors enter at stage right.)     2

MARY   “Favored one?” That is how the angel addressed me.
.      Although, I always try my best to be obedient,
.      I am certainly NOT perfect.  So why me?
.      I remember Father talking about our family tree.
.      We ARE some of King David’s descendants.  But -
.      so many others are, as well.  Yet – THIS -
.      is happening to me.  It is difficult to grasp.
.      I am still a virgin.  Yet, I know, all things
.      are possible with God.  (touching her stomach)
.      Strange.  I seem to feel His presence already...
.      But, I am to give birth – to God’s Son –
.      who will be King.  And I - am to raise His Son –
.      His HOLY Son?  (shakes her head at the thought)
.      How could I ever be a worthy mother –
.      to raise and nurture a Holy Being –
.      when I myself make so many mistakes?
.      HE will be teaching ME!
.       ( pretends to cradle a baby in her arms)
.      What will it be like to hold God in my very arms?
.      To look down into the face of the King of Kings?
.      (quickly looks up with realization.)
.      I am just a girl - engaged to be married!
.      To Joseph!  And soon - he will find out
.      that I am with child.  How will he react?
.      He could think that I had an affair, and
.      the leaders could have me put to death.
.      Will Joseph believe me when I explain this?
.      Who will believe this?  WHO will EVER
.      believe this?  Well... (calmer)
.      I’m most sure God has everything planned,
.      and will work everything out to His glory.  
.      Yes!  As the angel said, nothing will be
.      impossible with God...  And I am God's bondslave.
.      I am willing to do as God wills.  So I must
.      have faith that God will work everything out.

(MARY goes to the nativity tableau and sits on the stool
right behind the manger, and freezes.)

.    - lyrics by William C. Dix
.      music is traditional English melody, 16th C.

R.2     (reads Matthew 1:19-21)                    3
.       “And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man
.       and not wanting to disgrace her, planned
.       to send her away secretly.  But when he had
.       considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord
.       appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph,
.       son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary
.       as your wife; for the Child who has been
.       conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  She will
.       bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus,
.       for He will save His people from their sins.’”

JOSEPH  (enters)  When I first heard that Mary
.       was pregnant, I was angered - beyond words.
.       Of course, I never wanted to hurt her.
.       That is why I was going to put her away secretly.
.       I just wanted to SPARE her the public disgrace...
.       And – spare myself, as well.  I mean, who
.       in their right mind would ever BELIEVE such a
.       thing?  God had to send an angel to convince ME.
.       But still, I have questions... and concerns.
.       It's the father's job to protect his family.
.       But, if this Child is to one day grow up -
.       and save people from their sins –
.       who am I to protect HIM?  HE will be saving ME.
.       (pauses)  And, how am I, a humble carpenter,
.       supposed to raise God’s Son!?  Will I teach Him
.       how to build with His hands, the One who has
.       created the universe with just His word?
.       I am not worthy for this.  I have nothing
.       to offer Him.  I can only offer Him what
.       God provides us.  Huh, so I know God provides
.       things like love, and wisdom...  Is that enough?
.       What is to come?  How much suffering and danger
.       will there be?  (sighing)  Of course, God is
.       all-knowing, all-powerful and all-sufficient...
.       I must trust that God will take care
.       of every possible detail.

(JOSEPH stands by MARY and puts a hand on her shoulder,
then freezes.)

.    - by George Frederick Handel

R.3    (reads Luke 2:1,3-5)  “Now in those days     4
.      a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that
.      a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
.      And everyone was on his way to register for the
.      census, each to his own city.  Joseph also went up
.      from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea,
.      to the city of David which is called Bethlehem,
.      because he was of the house and family of David,
.      in order to register along with Mary,
.      who was engaged to him, and was with child.”

INNKEEPER'S WIFE  (enters)  Oh, when I heard about
.      the world-wide census being taken, I thought,
.      now here's a chance to make a lot of money.
.      You know, people were going to be travelling,
.      and would need a place to eat and stay the night.
.      I never imagined in my wildest dreams that it
.      would get this crazy.  I had entire families
.      squeezed into every little corner we owned.
.      I was working 'round the clock, but I was not
.      going to complain, right? I was busy getting rich.
.      But then this couple showed up... The poor
.      little thing had traveled far while sitting
.      on the back of a donkey, ready to deliver at
.      any minute.  My heart went out to them.  But
.      what could I do?  Even if they HAD money, there
.      was no more room.  But I could not just leave them
.      out in the streets like that.  You know,
.      something told me to do whatever I could.
.      Then it hit me, they could use the stable.
.      Sure, it’s dirty and smelly, but they made do.
.      Even with the birth of their Baby.  It's strange
.      though, there’s something very different
.      about this Baby.  He seems to touch my heart
.      in a way... that, well, I cannot describe it.
.      For years I have cluttered up my heart with
.      the importance of getting rich.  Meanwhile, this
.      whole experience is making me search my heart and
.      I wonder – with what SHOULD I fill my heart?

(INNKEEPER'S WIFE kneels beside the manger and freezes.)

.    – by Emily E.S. Elliott, Timothy R. Matthews

R.4    (Luke 2:8-11) “In the same region            5
.      there were some shepherds staying out in the fields
.      and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And
.      an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them,
.      and the glory of the Lord shone around them;
.      and they were terribly frightened.
.      But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid;
.      for behold, I bring you good news of great joy
.      which will be for all the people;
.      for today in the city of David
.      there has been born for you a Savior,
.      who is Christ the Lord.’”

SHEP.  (enters with other SHEPHERDS)
.      An amazing thing just happened.  We were in the
.      fields.  Some of us were sleeping, a few of us
.      were watching the sheep, when - angels appeared!
.      You know, you usually only hear about these kind
.      of things.  So, this was very unexpected.
.      Terrifying, in fact.  First there was only one,
.      but then -a WHOLE bunch of them - filled the sky.
.      The angel told us not to be afraid
.      because they had good news to share with us.
.      With US – SHEPHERDS!  Can you imagine?  I mean,
.      WE who are considered the lowlifes of society.
.      The scum of the earth!  Not many parents want
.      their daughters marrying a shepherd.  But God
.      thought we were important enough to hear this
.      great news – of peace and joy for ALL people!
.      I can tell you, if anybody needs saving, it’s me.
.      And I could definitely use some of that
.      peace and joy.  So, we were told that we’d
.      find Him in Bethlehem, in - in the feeding trough
.      of a stable... I suppose if He had been born in
.      a palace, there’d be no way we’d ever get through
.      THOSE doors to meet Jesus face to face.
.      But being born in a stable... I’m pretty sure -
.      He's going to be able to understand me.

(SHEPHERD can be joined by other SHEPHERDS and
freeze in the pose in the nativity tableau.)

.    - traditional German carol arranged by Hugo Jungst

R.5    (Matthew 2:1-2)  “Now after Jesus was born    6
.      in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod
.      the king, magi from the east arrived
.      in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been
.      born King of the Jews?  For we saw His star
.      in the east and have come to worship Him.’”

MAGI   (enters with other MAGI)
.      In all of history, there has never been such
.      a star.  As soon as I saw that star, I knew
.      that this signified the birth of a great King –
.      the King of kings.  As we followed the star,
.      we found ourselves near Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
.      We stopped there to meet with King Herod - and
.      told him about the star and that we were looking
.      for the King of the Jews who had just been born,
.      in order to worship Him.  He seemed perplexed.
.      After meeting with some of the religious leaders,
.      King Herod returned to ask us when we first saw
.      the star.  It had been about two years ago.
.      It takes a long time to plan and pack for such
.      a long journey.  And our travels were slow because
.      of the costly load we carried is extremely heavy,
.      such cargo as gold, myrrh, and frankincense.
.      And still, I feel this King of kings deserves
.      so much more than our meager gifts.  Well,
.      King Herod wanted us to find the Christ-Child,
.      and then return to him to give a full report. But
.      we were warned in a dream by God – not to return
.      to Herod, so we plan to return to our own country
.      by another way.  Imagine, leaders of a country
.      being so upset and threatened by this tiny Baby.
.      All of these events only confirm that this Child
.      is very important.  This Child will someday –
.      shake the foundations of this world
.      with a power so mighty.  One can only wonder,
.      and be compelled to learn more about
.      the wisdom and magnitude of His purpose.

(MAGI and EXTRA MAGI can pose approach the manger
with gifts and freeze within the tableau.)

.    - by William C. Dix and  Conrad Kocher

R.6    (1 Peter 1:10-12)  “As to this salvation,     7
.      the prophets who prophesied of the grace
.      that would come to you made careful searches
.      and inquiries, seeking to know what person
.      or time the Spirit of Christ within them
.      was indicating as He predicted
.      the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
.      It was revealed to them that they were
.      not serving themselves, but you,
.      in these things which now have been announced
.      to you through those who preached the gospel
.      to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven —
.      things into which angels long to look.”

ANGEL  (enters)  I am a messenger of God.
.      Many years ago, I made my eternal choice
.      to serve Him... this Holy, Almighty God of love,
.      Who was and is, and is to come.
.      We honor God, and know Him well,
.      but we do not know of future things.
.      We only learn of this as it unfolds.
.      We have brought many messages to mankind
.      over the years, but none as so joyous as now.
.      We have seen the plight of men.  We have witnessed
.      their struggles.  Even as they attempt to obey God,
.      they still stumble, they still fall.
.      But through their faith in God, they are
.      allowed to continue in their walk with God.
.      As we bring these messages of good news
.      and glad tidings, we wonder how God
.      will bring about this peace He has promised.
.      We look forward, longing to see how God will
.      answer prayers.  We look forward, longing to see
.      how God will save His people.
.      We rejoice with the righteous.
.      And we are blessed to gaze into the face of God,
.      and to serve the Lord God we adore.
.      We praise His Holy Name on High, and
.      we give glory to the newborn King of kings.

(ANGEL stands over the manger and looks down adoringly.)

.      Felix Mendelssohn, William H. Cummings

R.7     (Luke 2:30-32)                               8
.       “For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
.       Which You have prepared
.       in the presence of all peoples,
.       A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
.       And the glory of Your people Israel.”

PERSON  (enters)  Because of Jesus's birth,
.       His perfect life here on earth,
.       His death on the cross, and His resurrection,
.       we can receive His free gift of forgiveness,
.       new birth and eternal life.  Many years ago,
.       people witnessed all of these events.  
.       Now, we have a chance to witness the same:
.       through creation, through God's word,
.       and through the testimonies of believers.
.       Have you met Jesus?  Do you believe?
.       Are you kneeling before Him at the manger,
.       at the cross... at the throne of God?

(PERSON takes their places kneeling before the manger.)

.        by John Francis Wade, Frederick Oakeley

INSERT:  short message from Pastor, then the
.        lighting of the candles and passing of the light
.        usually done while singing “Silent Night”