Written by Angela Blundell with bible versus from Matthew 1 and Luke 1 using the Contemporary English Version. First used 2014.
The goal of this play was to do something in place of the traditional children’s Christmas play that involved minimal word learning for the children, low stress for the teachers and included much of the congregation in recreating the Christmas story. It would work particularly well if a church had a lot of preschoolers and younger primary children who may not be able to learn large parts.
Adult 1 and Adult 2 – preferably well recognised teachers.
Four children/young people to read the story
Other children dressed as Mary, Joseph, Angels, Shepherds, Sheep.
Music person to play Christmas Carols on piano/organ/keyboard
A couple of adults/parents to help guide children.
Cards with Angel, Wise Person, Shepherd written on them, suggest minimum of 5 Angels, 5 Shepherds, 3 Wise People but you can do as many as you want or have costumes for.
Child sized costumes for Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Sheep and Angels
Adult sized costumes for Angels, Wise Person, Shepherds, (use old choir surplices for Angels if available, poncho shaped material with a waist tie for Shepherds, royal coloured capes and crowns for Wise People).
Powerpoint with Christmas Carols written on and/or handout with carols on them.
Two chairs for Mary and Joseph to sit in with a small cradle in front.
Microphone set up for children to speak into or if a lectern is available, use a stool to ensure child is the right height.
Set up the scene to allow those up the front to see music words on a screen or provide them with words already.
Notes: Prior to the service, a number of pieces of paper are handed out to members of the congregation as they come in. These have written “Angel” “Wise Person” and “Shepherds”. These adults will be called up the front during the service to form a tableau of the Nativity with the children.
One adult standing in front of church looking somewhat worried, another adult comes rushing in. Children are positioned at the side ready to come in when summoned.
Adult 1 Hey ______, sorry I’m late, we had dramas at home involving nerf guns, lost shoes and barbie doll dispute
Adult 2 ________ Where have you been? Apparently we’re doing the pageant this week!
Adult 1 What do you mean? It’s next week (finds her diary), see look…it’s… oh no! How on earth did I miss that?
Adult 2 So what are we going to do? We’re just not ready for this?
Adult 1 OK, let’s think, we’ve a few minutes to think…. it’s such a pity I’m still suffering from nappy brain..
Adult 2 Well the kids can help… and we’d best get Music person on board too, she could do some music for us.
Adult 1 Great idea…Music person, are you around? Sorry to spring this on you, Could you help us with some music?
Music Person Um, okay, let me see what I can do.
Music Person gets up and goes to organ. Shuffles music around.
Adult 1 KIDS… CAN YOU COME HERE.
Kids come up to front and wait
Adult 2 Okay kids, can you put on these? – hands out King, Shepherd, Angel, Mary and Joseph costumes and we might sing OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL to get us in the mood.
Sing OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL
While they are doing this the kids put on their costumes and take places, assisted by the two adults. The four readers come up to microphone with an adult standing by to help out if needed. Children will stand on a stool to reach the microphone.
Adult 1 Well I’m feeling a little more sane now, (turn to audience) Some people would have been given a piece of paper with a word on it? Okay, now as you listen to our story we’re going to need you to join in and help us out. So check out who you are going to be and stay awake!
Reader 1 It happened like this. Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.
Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Adult 2 Lets all sing SILENT NIGHT
(children are helped to take their places if needed)
Reader 2 That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”
Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God.
Adult 1 Could all the angels come forward while we sing HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING.
All adult angels come forward and are assisted to put on angel costumes by the children.
Reader 3 After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.
When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.
As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.
Adult2 Could all the Shepherds please come up while we sing WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED.
All adult shepherds come up and are assisted to dress up by the children.
Reader 4 The star the Wise Men had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him.
Adult 1 Could the Kings please come forward while we sing WE THREE KINGS
Reader 4 They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
Adult 2 Oh wow, it looks like we’ve done it. Look at everyone, don’t they look wonderful. It’s gone pretty well really.
Adult 1 I know, it’s been pretty crazy but you know now I am feeling much better. I think it’s really important take some time to remember the real reason behind Christmas, that God sent Jesus to us to save us from our sin.
Adult 2 Let’s join in together as a church family and sing AWAY IN A MANGER