Jacob - an innkeeper
Miriam - his wife
Rachel - daughter
Matthew - son
Achbed - cousin
Petra - friend of Achbed
3 wise men
Guests of the Inn
Note: All of the characters can be played by children or adults.
Matthew: Shh! We have to be very quiet or Mama and Papa will hear us. Remember to keep very low so they donít see you as you pass.
Rachel: Where are we going, Matthew?
Matthew: Weíre going to spy on the shepherds. (Matthew crawls under the wall opening and just makes it to the other side when Jacob speaks from inside the Inn)
Jacob: Stop right there! (Rachel and Matthew freeze in terror as they think their father is talking to them.) Sit down! (Rachel and Matthew slide down the wall until they are sitting.) (Jacob begins more gently now.) Now, Miriam, we have to talk about this. We canít just bury our heads in the sand any longer.
Miriam: All right Jacob. So letís talk. (They are visible
to the audience through the wall opening.)
Jacob: I just want you to know that you donít have to be afraid. I have always taken care of this family, and I wonít stop now. Everything will be ok.
Miriam: But, Jacob, what are we going to do?
Jacob: I have already taken care of it. By the time of the new moon, if things havenít changed, I have a buyer for the Inn.
Miriam: Oh no, Jacob! You canít be serious!
Jacob: Miriam, the Inn is not the most important thing in the world, you and the children are!
Miriam: But, Jacob, this Inn has been in your family for 3 generations! When Rachel and Matthew are old enough it will be 4 generations! How can you even think of selling it?
Jacob: Miriam, this past year youíve been so sick.
Miriam: But Iím better now. I can cook again.
Jacob: I know that Miriam, but our customers donít know it yet. When the children and I had to do the cooking you know what happened. We just canít cook the way that you can. Our customers went elsewhere. It will take time to get them back.
Miriam: But we will get them back, Jacob.
Jacob: Miriam, you donít understand.
Miriam: No, I donít Jacob. Why are you in such a hurry to sell?
Jacob: When you were so sick, Miriam, I would have done anything to get you well. You know that, donít you?
Miriam: Of course I do, Jacob.
Jacob: All of those physicians who did finally give you back to us when we thought we had lost you had to be paid.
Miriam: Oh, Jacob. Iím so sorry. I just havenít been thinking of all youíve had to go through.
Jacob: It doesnít matter, Miriam. Nothing matters except that you are well again. The only thing is that I had to borrow money against the Inn.
Miriam: Oh no, Jacob. Donít tell me that you borrowed money fromÖ Achbed!
Jacob: Who else, Miriam? He was the last resort. No one else would loan me the money. I tried. I tried everyone I could think of before I went to Achbed.
Miriam: Oh, Jacob. You know why he wants the Inn.
Jacob: Of course I know, but it doesnít matter.
Miriam: Doesnít matter! Of course it matters! Think of all the years this Inn has operated honestly and honorably. He wants to turn our Inn into a brothel just like all his other so-called Inns!
Jacob: I know that but there was no other way, and I would do it again in a minute to have you back alive and healthy.
Miriam: Oh, Jacob. I love you.
Jacob: I love you too, Miriam.
Miriam: Iíll tell you what we should do, Jacob.
Jacob: What, Miriam?
Miriam: We should pray to Jehovah to save our Inn, just as He saved me from death.
Jacob: That would take a miracle now.
Miriam: Then thatís what we will pray for, a miracle. Right now! (She takes Jacobís hand and begins to pray) Dear Jehovah, we need your help. We need a miracle. I know itís not your will that Achbed has this Inn and turns it into a brothel. Show us the way to save our Inn. Amen.
Jacob: Amen. (Puts his arm around Miriam) Come on Miriam, letís go to bed.
Miriam: Yes, Jacob, and wake up to a miracle. (They exit.)
Rachel: Did you hear that, Matthew?
Matthew: Sure, I did!
Rachel: We have to do something. We canít let Cousin Achbed have the Inn. Whatís a brothel anyway?
Matthew: Itís a place where people do things that our parents wouldnít
Rachel: Well, what are we going to do?
Matthew: How should I know? What can we do?
Rachel: Well, we can start with the guests we already have.
Matthew: We only have 2 and theyíre just staying one night. What
can we do about that?
Rachel: We can give them the best service theyíve ever had and then maybe theyíll come back or tell their friends about our Inn. Tomorrow morning weíll get up early and bring them warm water to wash in. Weíll make sure their breakfast is hot and good, which it will be with Mama cooking again. Weíll get their animals ready for the journey, and weíll ask what else we can do for them.
Matthew: Well, weíd better go back to bed now if weíre going to do all that early in the morning.
Rachel: Yes, and weíll pray too.
Matthew: Ok. Come on, and wake me up when you wake up.
Rachel: Donít worry. I will!
(The inside of Inn. Miriam is wiping table. Rachel comes in after lights up.)
Rachel: Look, Mama. The gentleman from Nazareth gave me an extra coin because of our good service.
Miriam: Thatís wonderful, sweetheart. I did notice you and your brother working extra hard this morning. What will you spend it on?
Rachel: Oh no, Mama. Itís for you and Papa. Matthew and I just want to help.
Miriam: Honey, thatís wonderful of you but our guest gave it to you. You should keep it.
Rachel: No, Mama, you must take it. (She thrusts the coin onto the table and runs out brushing past her father.)
Jacob: Good morning to you too, Rachel. (He calls after her.) Why is she in such a big hurry?
Miriam: She got an extra coin from one of our guests this morning because of the good service she and her brother gave.
Jacob: Thatís wonderful!
Miriam: Yes, but she insisted that you and I have it. Here it is. Did you tell her and Matthew about Achbed and the Inn?
Jacob. No, of course not. I donít want the children to worry.
Miriam: Well, either they know something or our miracle has already started to happen.
Jacob: It will take a lot more than one little coin for our miracle.
Miriam: I know that, Jacob, but we must be on the watch for what Jehovah is doing.
Jacob: Yes, of course.
(Matthew comes running in.)
Matthew: Mama, Papa! Did you hear the news?
Jacob: What news?
Matthew: Itís all over the whole town of Bethlehem! Thereís to be a census! All the people of the house of David will need to come to Bethlehem to register. Our Inn will be very full!
(Miriam and Jacob look at each other with awe.)
Miriam: Are you sure, Matthew?
Matthew: Yes, of course!
Jacob: When is this to take place, Matthew?
Matthew: One week from today! Papa, we must get ready. Weíll need extra supplies of straw for bedding and blankets.Weíll need more food, Mama, for all of our guests.
Miriam: Youíre right, Matthew. And we had better borrow a couple of tables to set outside for the extra guests weíll have.
Matthew: Iím going to tell Rachel! (He exits)
Miriam: Oh, Jacob, maybe this is our miracle!
Jacob: It will help but, Miriam, Iím afraid it will be too little, too late.
Miriam: Weíll see, Jacob, weíll see.
Achbed: Good day, Cousin Jacob. Good day, Cousin Miriam.
Jacob: Achbed, what are you doing here?
Achbed: Now is that any way to greet your loving cousin?
Miriam: Good day, Cousin Achbed.
Achbed: Thatís better. Now how about some of that delicious cooking Iíve heard so much about?
Jacob: Achbed, you have no right Ö
Miriam: (Interrupting) I will get you something right away. (She turns to fireplace and begins to dish from large kettle.)
Jacob: All right, Cousin Achbed. Have your meal and then be on your way.
Achbed: But isnít this an Inn? I was planning to stay for a while. You are willing to take my money for a bed, are you not?
Miriam: Of course, you are welcome to stay, Cousin Achbed. You will be our first guest for today. (Sets bowl down for Achbed.)
Achbed: There, now, thatís a much nicer way to be treated. Ah, this is delicious. I can see that your reputation is justified. Perhaps after the new moon arrives you will want to stay somewhere nearby and continue to cook for my Inn.
Jacob: Itís not your Inn yet, Achbed! We have an agreement!
Achbed: Yes, we have, Cousin Jacob. I have lived up to my end
of it. I trust that you will live up to your end.
Jacob: I am a man of my word. You know that, Achbed.
Achbed: Thatís all I ask, Cousin Jacob. Thatís all I ask.
Rachel: Mama, Papa. Isnít it wonderful news? Itís like a miracle. (Notices Achbed) Oh, good morning Cousin Achbed.
Achbed: Good morning, Rachel. What is your good news?
Rachel: Thereís to be a census. A week from today our Inn will be full of guests.
Achbed: Really? Perhaps I should stay and give you a hand if youíre to be that busy.
Jacob: Achbed, Iím warning you, if Ö
Miriam: (Interrupting again) Thank you anyway, Cousin Achbed, but we can manage on our own.
Achbed: Ah well, I sense that I am not very welcome here. (He tosses a couple of coins on the table.) I trust this will cover the cost of my meal. Iíll be back Cousin Jacob, at the new moon. (He exits.)
Rachel: Oh, Papa, I hope he doesnít come back.
Jacob: (Drawing Rachel into his arms) Donít worry, honey. It doesnít matter what he does. All that matters is that weíre together as a family. (Miriam joins the group hug.)
(The Inn one week later, filled with travelers. It is evening and dinner is being served inside and outside of the Inn. Miriam, Jacob, Rachel, and Matthew are running around with bowls and pitchers trying to keep up with their guests needs. All the guests should be talking in undertones.
Miriam: They need more water over here, Matthew.
Jacob: Rachel, bring some more bread for this table please.
Matthew: Mama, weíre almost out of honey for the bread.
Miriam: Thereís more in the basket by the door, Matthew.
Rachel: Mama, we need more bread.
Miriam: There are more loaves in the fireplace oven, dear. Check them please.
Rachel: Matthew the table outside needs more water too.
Matthew: Ok. Iíll get to them soon.
(Finally everyone is eating and Miriam and Jacob stand downstage with the ďdinersĒ in the background.)
Miriam: I donít think Iíve ever been so tired in my whole life, and to think we have to do this for at least 6 more days until the census is complete.
Jacob: Yes, but with Jehovahís help we can do it.
Miriam: And just think of all the people who know about our Inn now.
Jacob: And about your cooking! But, Miriam, weíd need at least 3 months of this kind of business to make the kind of money weíd need to pay Achbed. Donít get your hopes up too high.
Miriam: Oh, I wonít Jacob. All of my hopes are just high enough, as high as Jehovah. Whether we get to keep the Inn or not, I will trust Him.
Jacob: Thatís all I need to hear. (They embrace.)
Matthew: Papa, we have another guest! (Escorts Joseph to his father.)
Joseph: Sir, my espoused wife and I require a bed for the night.
Jacob: I would be happy to oblige you, Sir, but I have no more room in the Inn. There is not a single inch of floor space unoccupied for tonight or even for the rest of the week.
Joseph: But, sir, my wife is about to give birth. I must have a private place for her.
Jacob: I have no place to give you. And I know of no open space anywhere in the town this week.
Joseph: What are we to do?
Miriam: I am somewhat ashamed to suggest it, but we do have a stable. At least you would be inside and our son, Matthew, could bring you some fresh straw. Iím afraid thatís all we have. Even all of our blankets are taken.
Joseph: We have blankets, Maíam. We would be happy to be inside and even to have some privacy for my wife.
Miriam: Matthew, show the gentleman the way to the stable and bring fresh straw. I will make up a meal for you and your wife, sir, and I will bring it to you.
Joseph: Thank you. Show me the way, please, Matthew. (Joseph and Matthew exit.)
Jacob: That was very kind of you, Miriam.
Miriam: Itís the least we can do. Rachel, I will need you to help me if this young woman is ready to give birth. First weíll take a meal down for them and weíll see how she is doing. You take the water and I will take the stew.
Rachel: Yes, Mama. (They exit with the meal.)
(All of the ďdinersĒ get up and begin to compliment Jacob on the food.)
Jacob: Thank you, thank you. Will a couple of you please set this table against the wall so we can begin to spread out the bedding for the night? (They do so. Everyone settles down for the night. Jacob blows out the candles and lights dim. There is still a glow coming from the fireplace.) Good night all. Sleep well.
(The inside of Inn as the ďdinersĒ are just rising from the breakfast table. Miriam looks tired and disheveled. Guests arise and again compliment Miriam and Jacob on the meal. One or two of them talk about getting in line for the census and they all exit. Miriam, Jacob and Matthew begin to clear the tables.)
Jacob: Miriam, you go to the loft and lie down. You didnít sleep all night.
Miriam: Thank you, Jacob. Wake me for lunchtime and I will help.
Jacob: Oh, no you wonít. You and Rachel are going to sleep until suppertime. You spent the whole night helping that young couple with the birth of their baby. Now, shoo, go lie down. Matthew and I will give the guests a cold lunch of bread, cheese, grapes and honey.
Miriam: That will be good. Matthew, would you go and water the animals out front please?
Matthew: Yes, Mama. (He exits.)
Miriam: Jacob, I havenít had a chance to tell you but the strangest thing happened last night.
Jacob: Oh? What happened?
Miriam: After the baby was born and his mother and I got everything settled we heard voices outside the stable.
Miriam: Yes, it was Benjamin, Obed and Nathan.
Jacob: The shepherds?
Miriam: Yes. They were very excited and asked to see the baby.
Jacob: The baby?
Jacob: But how did they know about the baby?
Miriam: Thatís what I asked them. They said angels had appeared in the sky and told them not to be afraid but that they were bringing news of great joy. They should go to Bethlehem and find a newborn baby there. They said the baby was sent from God to save the world.
Jacob: Miriam, could this be?
Miriam: I donít know Jacob, but they were certainly convinced and all three spoke of the angels.
Jacob: This is something we must think and pray about. Now, my dear wife, you need to get some sleep.
Miriam: Yes, my love. Call me at suppertime.
Matthew: The animals are watered, Papa.
Jacob: Good. Itís just you and I now, Matthew. We will be busy.
Matthew: Thatís fine, Papa. We can do it.
Jacob: Yes, we can.
Joseph: Excuse me, sir. May I ask for a bit of breakfast for my wife and myself?
Jacob: Of course, young man. How are your wife and new baby?
Joseph: They are fine. Thanks to your wife and daughter. I am so grateful for their help.
Jacob: They were very glad to be able to help. Here let me give you something to take for yourself and your wife.
Joseph: Thank you so very much. May I ask for one more favor?
Jacob: Certainly. What is it?
Joseph: Would your son be able to check on my wife from time to time today? I must go and get in line for the census.
Jacob: Certainly, certainly. We will look after her and be sure she has what she needs.
Joseph: Thank you so much for your kindness.
Jacob: Think nothing of it. (Joseph exits with meal. Matthew and Jacob continue to clear the table and wash dishes.)
Matthew: Papa, do you believe in miracles?
Jacob: Of course I do, son. Why do you ask?
Matthew: I was just wondering. Have you ever seen a miracle?
Jacob: I guess that would depend upon your definition of a miracle.
Matthew: What do you mean?
Jacob: Well, when I was a boy, just about your age as a matter of fact, my father needed a miracle.
Matthew: Really? What did he need?
Jacob: He was running this Inn at the time and I was helping him, just as you and I are doing now. But there was a fire in the stable and he lost all of his animals as well as the stable. As you know, the animals are a very important part of our business. They help to provide us with food and clothing.
Matthew: Yes, I know.
Jacob: My father was a man of great faith. He called the whole family together and said we needed to ask Jehovah to guide us.
Matthew: So you all prayed?
Jacob: Oh, yes we did. We prayed hard every day, and we thanked Jehovah for his guidance before we even had it.
Matthew: What happened?
Jacob: Three days after we started praying one of our neighbors knocked on that door right there. He had a donkey for us. One by one, 33 of our neighbors came by with one thing after another for us, until we had more than weíd had before the fire.
Matthew: What about the stable? Where did you put the animals?
Jacob: My cousin, Saul, and his brothers came and helped us rebuild the stable. It was a wonderful and joyous day as we worked and the women cooked. It was more like a party than a workday.
Matthew: And that was a miracle?
Jacob: Like I said, I guess it depends on your definition of a miracle. The things we needed didnít just drop out of heaven but they sure came right when we needed them. What do you think?
Matthew: Sounds like a miracle to me.
Jacob: Thatís what I always thought.
Matthew: Do you think miracles still happen today, Papa?
Jacob: Iím sure they do, son, if you have the faith to believe. Do you need a miracle?
Matthew: Yes, I do.
Jacob: Then just pray to Jehovah and look to Him to answer your prayer. Just be prepared because the answer may not come the way you expect.
Matthew: Thanks, Papa.
(Everyone is in bed. There is a loud knock on the Inn door.)
Jacob: (Struggling to rise). Just a minute. Just a minute. (Opens door)
(The 3 wise men enter.)
1st wise man: Good evening, sir. We are looking for the owner of this Inn.
Jacob: That would be myself, sir, but as you can plainly see my Inn is full. We cannot take any more guests.
2nd wise man: We have our own tents for shelter. We do not require any sleeping room. We are from a very far country. We have come to see the newborn baby and to worship him.
3rd wise man: We have been traveling a very long time, following the star in the East.
1st wise man: Now it has settled over Bethlehem. Can you tell us where to find the baby?
Jacob: Yes, I can. Come, I will take you to the baby.
Matthew: (Grumbling) I never saw so much fuss being made over a little baby. (Lies back down to sleep.)
Rachel: Mama, are you awake?
Miriam: Yes, Rachel. I am awake.
Rachel: What do you think of this baby? First the shepherds and now the wise men have come to see him. Surely there must be something special about him.
Miriam: Yes, I am certain there is something special. Didnít you feel it even as he was born?
Rachel: Yes, I did. Even though I love babies Iíve never felt drawn to any baby as I was to him.
Miriam: Is all well with the babe, Jacob?
Jacob: Yes, all is well. Itís the strangest thing though, Miriam.
Miriam: Whatís that Jacob?
Jacob: The 3 men that I just took to see him knelt down and worshipped the baby and gave his parents gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh!
Jacob: Who can he be? This baby in our stable?
Miriam: Can it be him, Jacob? The one our people have so long awaited?
Jacob: But how can that be? Would he come as a poor baby and not as a king?
Miriam: I donít know, Jacob. I just donít know.
(Lights slowly come up to morning. All of the guests rise and sit at tables as the family begins to serve breakfast. The door opens and Achbed and Petra enter.)
Achbed: Good morning to all! Welcome to my Inn!
Jacob: What do you mean your Inn? The new moon has not arrived. The Inn is still mine, at least until then.
Achbed: A slight change of plans, dear cousin. As Petra here will attest, the agreement was at the new moon or before, if required.
Jacob: That is not what we agreed.
Achbed: Surely you recall that Petra was our witness.
Jacob: Of course, but I did not agree to before the new moon.
Achbed: Ah, but you did, isnít that right, Petra?
Petra: Yes, I remember it clearly. You agreed to the new moon or before, if required.
Jacob: One lies and the other swears to it!
Achbed: I must have payment in full today or by nightfall the Inn is
mine. Take your choice.
Jacob: There is no choice and you know it. I cannot pay you all I owe.
Achbed: So sad, but my offer still stands for your talented wife to cook for my Inn.
Miriam: Achbed, how can you do this to your own cousin?
Achbed: Itís nothing personal. Iím afraid, my dear Miriam, that business is business.
(The three wise men enter.)
1st Wise Man: Thank you for your help and hospitality. We will be on our way now.
2nd Wise Man: We know many travelers who will pass this way in the course of a year. We will be happy to tell them of you and your lovely Inn.
Achbed: Yes, please do.
Jacob: Iím sorry to say that after today the Inn will no longer be mine.
3rd Wise Man: We are very sorry to hear that. The whole town is buzzing with the news of your wifeís wonderful cooking.
Miriam: Thank you.
1st Wise Man: We are so grateful to you for all that you did for the babe and his family. For years we have been looking forward to seeing him. If it hadnít been for your kindness we may not have found them.
2nd Wise Man: For many years we have studied the ancient writings and the stars to see when the holy child would come among us. My whole lifeís work has centered on this event. I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for the child and for us.
Jacob: It was my privilege.
3rd Wise Man: Thank you and God be with you.
Jacob: And with you. (The Wise Men exit.)
Joseph: I have come to say thank you for your help and hospitality. My wife and I are ready to take the baby and start for home.
Miriam: We are so glad that we could help and so sorry that we could only offer you our stable.
Joseph: It was wonderful to have some place warm and private. Thank you for all the help that you and your daughter gave to my wife when her time came.
Miriam: It was our privilege.
Jacob: Go in peace, Joseph and take care of your lovely family.
Joseph: I will. Good day. (Joseph exits.)
Achbed: Hmm, even using the stable for guests. Thatís something I hadnít even thought about! My congratulations to you, cousin.
Jacob: It wasnít out of greed, Achbed, but because of their need.
Achbed: (Unbelieving) Hmm, even smarter.
Rachel: Itís true. We didnít charge them to stay in the stable.
Achbed: A bad business decision then.
Miriam: You are Ö
Jacob: (Interrupts) Achbed, please leave my family and myself alone now.
Achbed: As you wish, Cousin. I will return shortly, though, to begin planning renovations of MY Inn.
Miriam: Oh, Jacob, what are we to do?
Jacob: Do not worry, Miriam. We will do what we must. Matthew, you hitch up the wagon. Rachel, you help your mother pack up our belongings and we will fill the wagon for our trip.
Rachel: But where are we going, Papa?
Joseph: I am so sorry to interrupt again but the 3 men who came to worship the baby asked me to give this to you.
Jacob: What is it?
Joseph: I donít know. I am only delivering for them.
(Jacob takes the sack, opens it and falls onto bench in shock.)
Jacob: But I cannot take this.
Miriam: What is it, Jacob?
Jacob: It is more gold than we could ever need! You must return this to them!
Joseph: But they are gone. I donít know where. They told me to tell you, though, that it is small payment indeed for what they have gained. Good day to you and God be with you all.
Jacob: God be with you as well. (Joseph exits)
Rachel: Papa, does this mean we can keep the Inn?
Jacob: Yes, child, yes! We can keep the Inn!
(Achbed and Petra re-enter.)
Achbed: Now, Petra, we will start over here by the fireplace.
Jacob: You will start what, Cousin Achbed?
Achbed: Why, my renovations of course. Itís a shame that you have not had the foresight and planning that I will bring to this business. To think of all the time you have wasted! But all that will change beginning tomorrow when the Inn has a new owner.
Jacob: But thereís been a little change in plans, Cousin Achbed.
Achbed: Really? Whatís that Cousin Jacob?
(Jacob counts out 20 coins from the bag.)
Jacob: Here is what I owe you, paid in full!
Achbed: But, how did youÖ Where did youÖ
Jacob: I donít think thatís any of your business and neither is this Inn! I will thank you to leave now.
Achbed: (Taking the gold.) Ach! Someday I will have this Inn, cousin!
Miriam: Not as long as God is God!
Matthew: Papa, was that a miracle? (Jacob gathers his family in a group hug.)
Jacob: Yes, Matthew, that was a miracle.
Copyright John & Joanne Miller, all rights reserved.
This script may be performed free of charge, provided no charge is made for entrance or for programmes. In return, the authors would like to be notified of any performance. For further information regarding performance rights, they may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.