[Reposted from The Reflectionary, my blog of church resources]
I told myself I wasn’t going to write a Nativity this year – too much other stuff going on. And if this was going to be a book, it needed to be out about two months ago.
But the muses struck and the idea formed, so here it is, the Nativity I promised myself I wouldn’t write. I’ll jzoosh it up and make it into a book and e-book in the Nativity-to-Go series for next year, so you can expect a proper copy around Sept 2022.
But for the moment, here is a downloadable PDF and a sample.
This is a light-hearted Nativity play telling the traditional story with the help of Christmas carols, which all go a bit worng. It incorporates readings from the gospels of Mathew, Luke and John.
The theme is that God came to us at Christmas, despite things not being perfect. Immanuel, God With Us, even in our mess and muddle.
It is suitable for a school Nativity play or Christmas assembly, or for Messy Church, All-Age worship, Crib Service or Carol Concert.
You can perform this play with just two people, or you can have a cast of thirty or more. You can have adults, children or even puppets playing the characters.
For a small cast, MC does the readings and another person plays all the other speaking characters (there is time between the scenes to change). The ‘choir’ can be a recording played over the PA.
For a large cast, use your church or school choir, separate actors for the speaking parts, separate readers for each Bible reading, and as many additional parts as you like. These non-speaking characters can include extra shepherds and two more wise men (splitting the dialogue among them if you wish), plus angels, animals and stars.
If you are using different actors for the characters, you can assemble a tableau on the stage, with each character joining it after their scene. Non-speaking characters can enter with their speaking-part character, or at the start of Scene 5 together with children from the congregation dressed as characters. Yes, even if that means three Marys and five wise men. You could also have spare shawls and head drapes to give to members of the congregation who don’t have costumes.
- MC Master of Ceremonies. Costume = modern dress.
- Soloist Preferably child, preferably in choir robes, preferably looking like a John Lewis advert. Costume = traditional robes or Christmas jumper.
- Mary Costume = long robe and blue shawl over head, plus hidden baby for tableau.
- Reader Costume = Modern dress.
- Joseph Costume = long robe and headdress in green or brown, plus hammer or saw.
- Amos Shepherd. Costume = long robe and headdress in green or brown, plus staff and / or sheep.
- Bal Balthazar, wise man. Costume = long robe and fancy headdress in rich colours, plus gift.
- Harold Angel. Preferably an old man. Costume = all white, with tinsel and halo. In a tutu if at all possible.
Here’s a sample, with the PDF link below.
Christmas Gone Worng
MC [In ‘Christmas advert’ voice] Christmas, the most perfect time of year.
A time of peace, joy and understanding throughout the world.
A time when families never argue, when gravy is never lumpy, and when Monopoly ends harmoniously with everyone winning, even Uncle Albert.
May I welcome you to our Nativity. We start in the traditional manner, with a reading and a carol telling the timeless story of our saviour’s birth.
Reading from Luke 1:26-38 [reading omitted for brevity]
… Then the angel left her.
Soloist [formal and traditional]
Once in royal David’s city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby,
In a manger for His bed:
[Mary enters from back, making a fuss while singer continues]
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.
Mary Hold on! Hold on, just one polycotton picking minute! What’s all this about?
MC What’s all what about?
Mary [Indicating singer] This!
[Indicating Christmas decorations] This!
[Indicating congregation] THIS!
MC Ummn, we’re celebrating Christmas. You know, when you had the special baby?
Mary When I had the WHAT?
MC God’s son? Jesus? Ringing any bells?
Mary [Getting cross] Huh? What are you on about?
I ain’t having no baby. Joseph and me have only just got engaged. We haven’t even set the wedding day yet.
Don’t you go talking about some baby. You’ll get people gossiping, and my Mam will never let me hear the end of it.
[Muttering to self – what a load of old cobblers, having a baby, talking rubbish, I’d get it in the neck for sure, etc]
MC Can I check, you are Mary, aren’t you? From the carol.
You know, [Singing] ‘Mary was the mother mild …’
Mary [Hands on hips] Do I LOOK mild?
Downloadable PDF below the bit where I ask for support 😉
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