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A Play by Adults for Kids

Summary: The Christmas story told by the most famous participant in the story, but who remembers it least. There are three levels to this play, the story and the characters, the small kids who are sitting and listening to the play, and the ‘tweens’ who are doing what they do best… whispering and making comments about how boring things are…
Style: Light-hearted.  Duration: 20min
Actors: Puppets, or if live:  2F, 5M, 5+M/F, 2VO

 

 

Cast
Mary
Angel
Joseph
Jesus
Shepherd
Shepherd’s voice off stage
Inn Keeper  
Innkeeper’s son off stage
Wiseman
Wiseman’s voice off stage
Whisperers (Tweens or teens)
Adult (teen or tween teacher, play director, pastor, or any adult who can say SHHH! Loudly)


(Director’s Notes: This was written as a puppet show. The Christmas story characters are all puppets. The whisperers are tweens or teens (live). Ideally, they will be sitting on the front row, but can be anywhere microphones are available. They need to be heard clearly.
Pre-school, and through third or fourth grade kids are the audience of the puppet show. Do not allow them to see the puppet show before the program, while telling them they have a very important part in the program. Let the program be the first time they see it so they will interact with the puppets spontaneously.
The exception to that will be the innkeeper’s son, who ideally should be an upper elementary child, as the character provides comic relief.
This play will work with live people in costume in a story telling setting. However, the adults will have to work harder to catch the magic kids feel with puppets.
It will also work in the classic readers’ play form with the characters talking to the kids in the audience, with or without costumes, and the whisperers left out.  It’s not quite as much fun this way, though.)


Script

(Jesus pops up in puppet stage or walks on stage if using real people in costume.)


Jesus
Hi Kids, My name is Jesus of Nazareth. Do you remember when you were born?
Well, neither do I, but I’ve been told about it over and over. I bet if you ask your mother or Dad, they can tell you. They remember.

Whisperer # 1
That’s silly. No one remembers when they were born.

Whisperer #2
I remember when my little brother was born. I got to stay alone all day.

Whisperer # 1
What did you do?

Whisperer # 2
Watched TV and ate junk food.

Whisperer # 1
Did your Mom find out?

Whisperer # 2
Only when I got sick.

Adult
Shh….

Mary (from off stage)
Jesus, let’s get to the story.

Jesus
That’s my Mother, Mary.

Mary (off stage)
Just tell the story, Son.

Jesus
Yes, Mother. Okay. Tonight’s story is about when I was born. My mother, who was really young and my earthly father, Joseph, weren’t married yet.

Mary (off stage)
Son… quit stalling.

Jesus
Yes, Ma’am. (speaks to audience). Let’s start when an angel visited my mother.  (Jesus starts to go off stage and stops)

Mary (Talking to the children as she comes on)
Now, Kids, pay attention. (She takes a praying position)

Jesus
What are you doing?

Mary
I’m praying. I was praying when the angel came.
(Jesus leaves while kids are whispering)

Whisperer 3
Those costumes are weird. Who did them anyway?

Whisperer 4
Probably Miss. Jo*.
(Substitute your kids’ favorite teacher’s name)

Whisperer 3
She needed help.
(They giggle together.)

Adult
Shhhh….

Angel
Mary, blessed are you among all women on earth.

Mary
What?

Angel
You are blessed, and God will give you a special Baby.

Mary
What Baby?

Angel
The baby God will give you.

Mary
Oh… God will give me a baby.  But why me?

Angel
You love God with all your heart and are devoted to following God.

Mary
Some of my friends do too.

Angel
But God knows you can do this.

Mary
But what about Joseph?

Angel
We will visit him when it’s time.

Mary
I will do what God wants me to.

(She leaves and Joseph comes on. He Lays down and goes to sleep. While he is getting into position, whisperer 4 begins.)

Whisperer 4
What are you doing after this?

Whisperer 5
We’re going to get pizza. Wanna come?

Whisperer 6
I’ll have to ask my mother. You’d better ask your mom.

Whisperer 5
It is okay with my mother. I asked her already.

Adult
Shhhh…..

Angel
Joseph … Wake up!

Joseph
What? Huh?  Who are you? And what do you want? I finally got to sleep.

Angel
I’ve got a message from God about Mary.

Joseph
That’s why I can’t sleep. She’s going to have a baby and we are not yet married. I didn’t touch her. I love her, so I think I’ll send her away to keep her from disgrace. Then we’ll see what to do about the baby.

Angel
You don’t have to. Mary’s child is a gift of God. He is God’s Son--- Not any man’s son. Marry her as you planned.

Joseph
Oh, really. She wasn’t unfaithful to me? Good. Thank you. I will do as God says.  (He lays down and goes back to sleep)

(Jesus comes on and Joseph exits while Jesus is talking)

Jesus
So, really soon after my parents married, the ruler of the country decided to count how many people he ruled over.

(Mary and Joseph enter together)

Mary
Why do we have to go to Bethlehem?

Joseph
Because that’s where my family’s from. The king says that’s what we have to do.

Mary
Can’t we wait until after I’ve had the baby?

Joseph
It would be too late.  The registration would be over.

Mary
I suppose we have to. It will be uncomfortable, though. I just pray the baby doesn’t come while we’re traveling.

Joseph
God will take care of us.

Jesus
So, they traveled to Bethlehem, where my earthly father was born and his father and his father’s father and his father’s father’s father ….. well, you get the picture. That’s where the family was from.  As soon as they entered Bethlehem, they realized something ….

Mary
Did you ever see so many people?

Joseph
Bethlehem is usually so quiet.

Mary
It’s not quiet now.

Joseph
Here’s the first inn, I guess we’ll start looking for a place to stay here.

Jesus
And some time later, they were still looking.

Whisperer 7
This story sound familiar… But this is for little kids.

Whisperer 8
Maybe there’s a grown up version. I’d like that better.

Whisperer 7
I don’t know why we have to come to this.

Whisperer 8
Because your little brother is in it.

Whisperer 7
Oh, yeah… and we get to go out after.

Adult (turns and looks at them.)
Shhh…

Mary
Dear God, guide us to a place with room for us.  
Joseph, the contractions are strong now.
Joseph, why are we turning? The inns are all on this street!

Joseph.
I haven’t been here in a long time, but if I remember right, there was a little inn at the end of a street we played on when I was a kid. It’s probably gone by now.

Mary
I hope you have a good memory,

Joseph
Yes… See, there it is! Come on, hurry. There are other people on the street.

Mary
I cannot go any faster.

(Joseph pantomimes knocking on door)  (The innkeeper comes on stage)

 Innkeeper
What do you need?

Joseph
A room. We’re afraid the baby will be born on the street.

Innkeeper
That close, huh? Come for the census registration, I suppose.  I hope you wouldn’t be traveling so close to the baby being born if you didn’t have to.

Joseph.
Right. How about that room?

Innkeeper
Just gave the last one away.

Mary
Oh, Dear!

Joseph
Is there any place?

Innkeeper (looking backstage)
Solomon, did you clean the stable as good as I told you to?

Son (offstage)
Yes, Dad,

Innkeeper
Did you change the straw out like I told you to?

Son (offstage)
Yes, Dad.

Innkeeper
You sure? These people have come a long way.

Son (Offstage)
Well, it’s okay.

Innkeeper
Is it good enough for the lady to deliver her baby in?
(silence)
Solomon?

Son (off stage)
Ah… (stutters) I’ll be right back.

Innkeeper (to Joseph)
The stable will be available soon. It’s all I have left.

Mary
Please, Joseph.

Joseph
It’s probably all that’s left anywhere. We’ll take it.

Innkeeper
Oh, good. I’ll…ah… just…. Go check on my son.  (leaves)

Jesus
So, they went to the stable and I was born there. But in the night they heard noise.

Mary
Joseph, wake up.

Joseph
What? Is the baby okay?

Mary
There’s someone outside.

Joseph
Who?

Mary
How do I know? Go look.

Joseph  (looking out at the audience)
Hello? Is anyone out there?

Shepherd    (comes on stage)
Only us and the sheep.

Joseph
What do you want?

Shepherd
We want to worship the baby.

Joseph
How did you know?

Shepherd
Angels … hundreds, thousands, came to where we were watching our sheep.

Off stage Shepherd’s voice
And boy, were we afraid!

Shepherd
 But the angels said not to be afraid. A baby was born and wrapped in swaddling clothes… lying in a manger.

Off stage Shepherd’s voice
Yours is the only baby in a manager. God sent us.

Shepherd
He will be the savior of the world.

Mary
I think I would have liked to see the angels.

Shepherd
Tell us why your son will be the savior of the world.

Jesus
So, my parents told the shepherds about me, and they liked the story so much, they went away and told everyone they met.

(Every one goes off but Jesus. While they are going off, the whisperers talk)

Whisperer 9
Hey, this is the Christmas story, isn’t it?

Whisperer 10
Duh!  It’s Christmas!

Whisperer 9
I kind of like this story… The angels are cool.

Whisperer 10
I didn't see any angels.

Whisperer 9
The shepherds talked about them.

Whisperer 10
You were listening to the play? I missed that part.

Adult (VERY LOUDLY)
SHHHHHHHHH!

Jesus
My mother says the next two years I grew up a got into everything. I don’t believe her.
(To the kids)
None of you ever got into trouble did You?
(Waits for kids to answer)
Then one night at the house where we lived, my parents heard a noise, and their conversation might sound familiar.

Mary
Joseph, wake up!

Joseph
What? Is the baby okay?

Mary
There’s someone outside.

Joseph
Who?

Mary
How do I know? Go look.

Joseph (looking out over the audience)
Hello! Anyone out there?

Wise men
Sir, we have traveled many miles, following a new star. It brought us to this place.

Joseph
What do you want?

Wiseman
We want to worship the new king.

Joseph
A king? My son?

Wiseman
Only a king would deserve a star to guide us to honor him.

Joseph
Mary, it’s kings from far away who came to honor Jesus.

Mary
We’ll come immediately.

Offstage Wiseman’s voice
We can wait until morning…

Mary
How many people are with you, and what would you like for breakfast?

Wiseman
Our camp is outside the city. We will have food. We will come back.

(The king goes off.)

Jesus
A few hours later, the kings returned.

Mary
Welcome into our house.

Wiseman
We have gifts to honor your son, the king.


Offstage Wiseman’s voice
Yeah, gold, frankincense and myrrh

Wise man
Gifts for a king.
Tell us why your son is a king.

Jesus
My parents told the wise men the same things they told the shepherds. And from then on, people have told this story every year at Christmas when you celebrate my birthday. Has anyone told you this story before, Kids?
(Wait for kids to answer)
There’s a lot more things to learn about my life and my Heavenly Father, God. Ask your teachers and parents, Will you?
(Wait for response)

Okay!  Goodbye for now. And have a good season celebrating my Birthday.

Whisperer 11
I liked that… I guess.

Whisperer 12
It was okay… even if it was for little kids.

Whisperer 11
Shhh… They’re going to have prayer.

(Pastor or leader dismisses in prayer.)

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(c) Copyright Jo Bower, all rights reserved.

No charge for use of play. Please let me know if you use it. Feel free to improvise and change this material to meet your needs.  I hope you have a little fun and well as get the story told. Blessings, Jo Bower. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

http://jobowerwrites.wordpress.com for information about the author and Readers’ Plays For small Churches (Of all Sizes), a collection of plays by Jo Bower.