By John Cosper, jr.
A well-to-do family is condescending towards a homeless man - but in reality he has something more precious than they have.
Charlie - A homeless man
Tom, Lynn - Parents shopping for their children
Chris, Brandi, Melinda - Teenagers
Tom - Another homeless man
[DIRECTOR'S NOTE: The focal point of this skit is the birth of Christ, not the fact that Charlie is a homeless man. The actor portraying Charlie must be careful to convey this in his tone; he cannot be 'preachy', but at the same time he is not out to make the audience feel sorry for him.]
(Tom and Lynn enter from stage right carrying several large shopping bags each. Lynn is looking at a handful of receipts. Charlie, who wears old looking clothes and looks haggard, enters from stage left.)
TOM- (looks over Lynn's shoulder) Let's see. Are we evened up yet?
LYNN- It looks like we're okay on Jan and Casey, but we're twenty dollars short on Brian.
TOM- Ooh! I know just the thing! He's been crazy about the Dallas Cowboys ever since we went to that game with the McDaniels in September. I saw a Cowboys football at--
(Tom and Lynn and almost run into Charlie at center stage. They both look up just in time and are startled. They excuse themselves and continue on around him towards the stage left exit. Tom glances at Charlie. Charlie watches them.)
TOM- (as if nothing had happened) I saw this Cowboys football in Toys R Us. We can stop by there on our way home.
(Tom and Lynn exit.)
CHARLIE- You know, it never changes. Every year it's always the same. Parents running around at the last minute to even up their kids' wish lists. You've gotta be real careful with that stuff, you know. Jean Sheppard says the entire kid year revolves around Christmas. They don't care how tough a year it's been. Their only concern is what kind of loot they'll find under the tree with their name on it.
(Charlie sits down.)
CHARLIE- I can still remember sitting up all night with my brother watching the snow fall outside and dreaming of that special Christmas toy: bikes, trains, dolls -- (as if the last comment was a joke) no, wait, forget I said dolls. I'll tell you what, I never grow tired of watching the beaming faces of little kids on their way to see Santa Claus; of seeing the lights strewn across the streets twinkle in their eyes. I always look forward to Christmas. Of course, I don't enjoy the cold that comes with it, but even on the coldest nights, when the only bed I have is a snowy sidewalk, I can lose myself in the lights and decorations. There's something extra special about Christmas. Everyone becomes filled with love and goodwill for his fellow man. It's like you can hate everybody all the rest of the year, but for one month we all get along. For one month it becomes the in thing to help those who are 'less fortunate'. More people volunteer to work the local soup kitchen or donate food and clothes to the shelters. And if nothing else, everybody throws money into the Salvation Army pot...with the nut ringing that bell all night.
(Chris, Brandi and Melinda enter. Brandi and Melinda are giggling.)
CHRIS- So anyway, the bum walks up to Santa Claus and goes, 'Hey, man, I don't think you should let that one reindeer drive.' Santa said, 'Why not?'
(Brandi and Melinda see Charlie, look at each other, and giggle.)
CHRIS- (continuing) He said, 'Because his nose is redder than mine!' (laughs)
BRANDI- Umm, Chris? (points to Charlie)
CHRIS- (sees Charlie, then says) Oh...hi, there. (pulls out a dollar and says in a condescending tone) Here you go, man. Merry Christmas.
(Brandi and Melinda exit laughing. Chris calls after them and follows.)
CHARLIE- Everybody's full of goodwill. Everybody thinks they can solve all your problems with a few bucks and maybe a meal. They all think they have the answer, that they know what's best. Boy, are they missing it. I guess that's why Jesus talked about looking at the world through the eyes of a child, and that only then we could believe in Him and accept the gift of his love. You see, I already have something that's the answer to all my problems. Something more powerful than money, and more real than their goodwill. I have Jesus. And Jesus is more than just a once a year thing. He's my Savior the whole year round, not just December.
(Charlie stands up. Tom enters, shivering like he's cold, and sits off to the side.)
CHARLIE- When others walk by, all they see is a dirty old bum who can't keep himself clean or find a job. But God sees at my heart, and I'm thankful he does, because what he sees inside of me is beautiful. I'll bet when you first saw me, you thought you were going to hear me talk about how miserable I am, or how much I wish I had a roof over my head or a warm meal. That's not what I'm about. I'm just an ordinary man, in an extraordinary situation. But no matter where I go or who I become, I know Jesus loves me, and he can use me just as well as he can use you to reach out and tell some one, 'Jesus loves you.'
(Charlie hands Tom the money Chris gave him, then exits.)
© John Cosper Jr 1996
All rights reserved. This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.