Summary: Two broadcasters are discussing possible content for their Breakfast show when news comes of an amazing event that has happened overnight in Bethlehem. As they hear about it, they discuss the possible significance of what has occurred and whether to broadcast it.
Style: Light-hearted Duration: 5+min
Scripture: Luke 2:8-18
Benjamin, Martha and Ruth, who all work for the broadcasting company ‘Jerusalem News’. (The 3 characters can be any combination of male & female actors, with their names being changed accordingly.)
B: Right, then, Martha – what stories have we got for the Breakfast show?
M: Not a lot, Ben, I’m afraid. We could try and find yet another angle on the census I suppose ...
B: (interrupting) No, no, please no ... I’m sick to death of stories from people whingeing that they’ve got to travel miles and miles to get to their registration centre ...
M: (interrupting) But that’s reality for many people, and we’re absolutely right to focus on all the distress and upheaval this latest Roman imposition is having on our nation. The best example I’ve heard of are some who’ve had to travel all the way from Nazareth up in the north right down to Bethlehem in the deep south – that’s about 80 miles you know – and that’s a long way to have to walk!
B: (snorting) They should get themselves a horse and cart!
M: (indignantly) Sometimes I wonder if you’re on the same planet as the rest of us! The poor of this land can’t afford to hire let alone buy a horse – they’ve got a donkey if they’re lucky.
B: (unsympathetically) I’m not doing any more hard luck/oh dear me stories. Enough is enough.
M: (hesitantly after a short pause) Well, we could do a feature on the real reason for this census, which can be summed up in three words: taxation, taxation, taxation ...
B: (interrupting) What ... and have our broadcasting station shut down by the Romans for spreading social unrest? I don’t think so! There’s got to be something else we could feature.
M: (hesitantly after a short pause) Well, we could always do another piece about Herod’s latest building project.
B: (sarcastically) Oh, he’d just love that, wouldn’t he! He’ll stop at nothing to try and impress the people that he’s really one of us, when we all know that he’s at best only half-Jewish and hates our guts! He can build as many temples and public works as he likes, but that’s not going to change the views of one single Jew in this nation about that mad tyrant!
M: (cheekily) We could always do a phone-in on the subject!
B: (ruefully) Yes ... and that would get us shut down for sure!
M: So ... what are we going to do as our main breakfast feature?
[Knock on the door. Enter Ruth.]
R: Sorry to disturb you, but I’ve just had a call from Josh.
B: (sarcastically) Oh, this is bound to be good!
M: Ignore him, Ruth! What’s he got to say for himself that’s so important?
R: Well, he was phoning from Bethlehem.
B: (interrupting, annoyed) Bethlehem! What’s he doing there? He’s supposed to be here, in Jerusalem!
M: Don’t you pay attention to anything I say? I told you yesterday that he’s taken a few days leave to go and visit a sick relative in Bethlehem.
B: (deflated) Oh ... right.
M: Carry on, Ruth. What was Josh phoning from Bethlehem to say?
B: (sarcastically) Probably wanting even more time off, and expecting me to pay him!
M: (exasperated) Ben ... please give Ruth a chance to explain! Go on, Ruth.
R: Well, Josh says that about 2 o’clock this morning, angels were seen by shepherds who were looking after their sheep on the hillside outside the town.
B: (guffaws) Shepherds! Shepherds! You can’t believe a word unsavoury characters like shepherds say! They are were probably blind drunk at the time anyway!
R: But there’s more to it than that!
B: (sarcastically) Oh really! I can’t wait! You’ll be telling me next these angels sang to them and told them something amazing was going to happen!
R: Had already happened, actually.
B: (disbelievingly) Unbelievable! I told you they were drunk!
M: (exasperated) Ben! For goodness sake let Ruth get to the end of her story!
B: (muttering) ‘Fantasy’ would be a better word.
[Martha glares at Ben.]
R: Apparently, one angel appeared first and announced that a baby had been born in Bethlehem who will be the Saviour of the world, The Messiah! And then a host of angels appeared with him singing a song of worship to God and peace to all mankind.
[Ben makes to interrupt, but Martha points a silencing finger in his direction.]
M: Did Josh say anything else, Ruth?
R: Yes, actually.
B: (sarcastically) I can’t wait!
[Martha glares at Ben.]
R: The angel apparently told the shepherds that they could prove that what he’d said was true by going into Bethlehem, where they would find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
M: And did they?
R: Yes, they did. Josh managed to speak to one of the shepherds to confirm the details, and that they had actually found the baby – in a stable behind the local pub of all places. In fact, these shepherds were so excited that they roused the whole town to tell them the news!
M: We’ve got to run this story, Ben, before any other station gets hold of it! This will be a fantastic exclusive for us!
B: ‘Fantastic’ is right! Martha, we can’t do this ... it’s ridiculous! We’ve only got these shepherds’ word for it, and it’s well known they make very unreliable witnesses. And I’m still not convinced they weren’t drunk, or hallucinated the whole thing.
M: They can’t have hallucinated it – mass hallucination of the same thing just doesn’t happen. And as for being drunk, on the basis of Josh’s report, it doesn’t sound like they were to me.
R: Nor me. And Josh was quite convinced they were telling the truth and never suggested that they were drunk.
B: Well, even if all that is true, how do you think Herod and the Romans are going to react if we broadcast that a Messiah has been born! Remember what’s happened before to so-called ‘Messiahs’ – they’ve all either come to nothing or been crucified and forgotten about.
M: But that’s a risk we’ll have to take. If this baby is truly God’s Messiah, then surely He will take care of him, won’t He? Look, if you’re really worried about the possible consequences, we’ll play down the Messiah bit and focus on the angels and baby-in-a-manger angle. What do you say?
B: (after a short pause for thought) I’ve got a funny feeling I’m going to regret this, but OK, let’s run with it.
M: (turning to Ruth) Ruth, get hold of Josh, and tell him we want interviews with some of the shepherds, the owner of the pub, residents of Bethlehem, the baby’s parents, the donkey – anybody who has something interesting to say about what’s been happening down there.
R: Right away, Martha.
M: Then get on the phone to all the staff, wake everybody up and get them to meet in the newsroom in 30 minutes from now for a briefing.
R: I’m on it! [Exit Ruth]
M: (to Ben) You know, I think you’ve made the right decision to broadcast this.
B: That’s easy for you to say – it’s not your head on the block, is it?
M: But, just think – if this story is true, and I’m convinced it is – it will be us who’ve broken the news of this world-changing event to the whole world. Isn’t that an exciting thought?
B: Well, yes – if this baby does turn out to actually be The Messiah after all these years of waiting.
M: Of course, the really frustrating thing is that we won’t know for sure for about 30 years, will we? I just hope I’m still around then to see it and report on it, because that will be the greatest news the world has ever heard! Come on, let’s get down to the newsroom.