Birth of Christ
- A Dramatic Reading -
|Copyright © 2000, 2003 - All rights retained by author|
|Written by: Jane E. Booth and C. W. Booth|
(Based on the accounts in Luke and Matthew)
(Quotes based on New American Standard Version)
Cast of Characters:
This is a dramatic reading. Dramatic readings are not plays or sketches, but rather a retelling of biblical stories using the voices of individuals to represent different Scriptural characters. Sets, props, and "acting" are not required. However, the readers must deliver their lines as if they were the characters they represent, demonstrating proper emotion, emphasis, and intonation. Readings must be properly cast, practiced, and rehearsed just as with any drama.
ALL: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
ZACHARIAS: I am called Zacharias, of the division of Abijah, a priest of the temple in Jerusalem. I have always tried to live a righteous life, and walk blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But I had no child, because my wife Elisabeth was barren. Oh, she was righteous too, and blameless, but the ways of the Lord are beyond understanding.
GABRIEL: I was sent by God to the temple in Jerusalem, to speak to Zacharias. According to the custom of the priestly office, he had been chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
ZACHARIAS: And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. That is when the angel appeared to me.
GABRIEL: By the Golden Altar.
ZACHARIAS: And I was troubled when I saw him, and fear gripped me.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elisabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
ZACHARIAS: How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.
GABRIEL: I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.
ZACHARIAS: And when I came out of the temple, where the people were waiting, and wondering at my delay, I was unable to speak to them, and could only make signs to them, and I remained mute all through my wife’s pregancy and the child’s birth, until the day they named him. Because God’s Word was true, Elisabeth did become pregnant.
ELISABETH: This si the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.
GABRIEL: Now in the sixth month I, Gabriel, was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.
MARY: But I was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will have no end.
MARY: How can this be, since I am a virgin?
GABRIEL: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elisabeth has also conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.
MARY: Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word. Now at this time I arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elisabeth.
ELISABETH: And it came about that when I heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in my womb; and I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
ALL: And she cried out with a loud voice:
ELISABETH: Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy! Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord!
MARY: My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed! For the mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And I stayed with Elizabeth until she gave birth to a son.
ELISABETH: All our relatives and neighbors heard that the Lord had displayed his great mercy toward me, and they were rejoicing with us. On the eighth day we went to circumcise the child, and they wanted to call him Zacharias, after his father. But I said, No, indeed; but he shall be called John!
RELATIVE 1: There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.
RELATIVE 2: Let’s make signs to Zacharias, and see what he wants him to be called.
ZACHARIAS: So I made signs to them to get me a tablet to write on, and I wrote just what the angel had told me, "His name is John."
RELATIVE 1: We were all astonished! And then his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.
ZACHARIAS: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel! You, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
RELATIVE 2: And fear came on all of us living around them, and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.
RELATIVE 1: And all of us who heard these matters kept them in mind, saying,
RELATIVE 2: What then will this child turn out to be? For the hand of the Lord is certainly with him.
JOSEPH: My name is Joseph. I have always tried to be a righteous man. When Mary was found to be with child, I did not want to disgrace her, so I desired to put her away secretly. But when I had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to me in a dream.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
ALL: Now all this took place that what was spoken by the LORD through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying,
PROPHET: Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, "God with us."
JOSEPH: And I arose from my sleep, and did as the angel of the LORD commanded me, and took Mary as my wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son.
ALL: And they called his name Jesus.
MARY: Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth…And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph said to me,
JOSEPH: This is not a good time to be traveling. But I went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because I am of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to me, and was with child. When we got to the city Mary said to me,
MARY: This is not a good time to be traveling.
JOSEPH: But this was done so that the prophecy might be fulfilled, that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem.
PROPHET: As for you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. (Micah 5:2,3)
MARY: And it came about that while we were there, the days were completed for me to give birth.
JOSEPH: But you must have a room somewhere! My wife is in labor! Would you have the baby born in the streets?
INNKEEPER: I am full to overflowing now! What can I do? This was hardly the time to take your wife traveling!
INKEEPER’S WIFE: Abram, you know that they had to come. Follow me, there may be an empty stall in the stable. It is all we have.
MARY: And I gave birth to my first born son; and I wrapped him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for us in the inn.
SHEPHERD 1: And in the same region we shepherds were staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over our flock by night.
SHEPHERD 2: And an angel of the LORD suddenly stood before us, and the glory of the LORD shone around us,
SHEPHERD 1: And we were terribly frightened.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
SHEPHERD 2: And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,
ALL: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
SHEPHERD 1: And it came about when the angels had gone away from us into heaven, that we began saying to one another,
SHEPHERD 2: Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the LORD has made known to us!
SHEPHERD 1: And we came in haste and found our way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger, saying,
SHEPHERD 2: We have come to worship the Savior.
SHEPHERD 1: And when we had seen this, we made known the statement which had been told us about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things we told them.
MARY: But I treasured up all these things, and pondered them in my heart.
SHEPHERD 1: And we went back to the hills, glorifying and praising God for all that we had heard and seen,
SHEPHERD 2: Just as it had been told us!
JOSEPH: And when eight days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
MARY: An when the days for my purification according to the law of Moses were completed, we brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
ANNA: And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. I saw him often in the temple. He was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
SIMEON: And I came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus…then I took him into my arms, and blessed God. Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou has prepared in the presence of all people, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.
MARY: You know about Him?
SIMEON: The LORD has revealed it to me! Bless you, my children. This child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed--and a sword will pierce even your own soul--to the end that thoughts from many hearts will be revealed.
ANNA: Thanks be to God! This child is the redemption of Jerusalem! This is the Chosen One!
JOSEPH: Who are you?
ANNA: A poor widow.
SIMEON: She has been a widow for most of her life. She is in the temple night and day, fasting and praying. You can believe what she says, for she is a true prophetess of the LORD. Go home now, my children, and raise the child carefully. You have done all the law requires. Now, Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.
MAGI 1: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, we magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
MAGI 2: Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?
MAGI 3: For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.
HEROD: But I am King of the Jews. How can this be? Send for my chief priests and scribes! They will know of this matter!
PRIEST: Here we are, your majesty. How may we serve you?
HEROD: These magi have traveled here from very far away, and they have the audacity to ask me where the King of the Jews is! They have been following a certain star that has appeared. Tell me, you know about the prophesied Messiah. Where is the Christ to be born?
PRIEST: In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:
PROPHET: And you Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, for out of you shall come forth a Ruler, who will shepherd my people Israel.
HEROD: Clear the room! Let me speak to these magi alone.
MAGI 1: Have you found the birthplace?
HEROD: When exactly did this star you have been following appear?
MAGI 2: And when he heard our answer, he sent us to Bethlehem, and said,
HEROD: Go and make careful search for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, that I too may come and worship Him.
MAGI 3: After we heard the king, we went our way, and lo, the star, which we had seen in the east, went on before us, until it came and stood over where the Child was.
MAGI 1: And when we saw the star, we rejoiced exceedingly with great joy!
MAGI 2: And we came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother.
MAGI 1: We have come to worship the King of the Jews. Here are our gifts: Gold, for his kingship.
MAGI 2: Frankincense for His worship.
MAGI 3: And myrhh for His anointing and burial.
MAGI 1: Beware of Herod. We have been warned by God in a dream not to return to him. For he is deceitful and wishes to harm the child.
MAGI 2: So we departed for our country by a different way.
JOSEPH: And when they had departed, behold, an angel of the LORD appeared to me again in a dream.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.
JOSEPH: So I arose and took the Child, and his mother by night, and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod.
ALL: This was so that what was spoken by the Lord through he prophet might be fulfilled, saying:
PROPHET: Out of Egypt did I call my Son.
HEROD: And when I, King Herod the Great, saw that I had been tricked by the magi, I became very enraged and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which I had ascertained from the magi.
ALL: Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying:
PROPHET: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.
GABRIEL: But when Herod was dead, the LORD sent me in a dream to Joseph while they were in Egypt.
ALL: And the angel said:
GABRIEL: Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.
JOSEPH: So I arose and took the Child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel…and came and resided in a city called Nazareth.
MARY: Where our family was.
JOSEPH: Yes, but this was so that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled:
PROPHET: He shall be called a Nazarene.
MARY: And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.
JOSEPH: And He continued in subjection to us, his parents.
MARY: And I treasured all these things in my heart.
JOSEPH: And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
ALL: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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