"No Practice" Christmas Pageant

Thanks to LeAnn Hodges for sharing this Pageant with us at the Online Church Leaders’ Roundtable!

Overview: The following is written to serve as a come-one, come-all, “no practice” Christmas pageant. The participants move and respond to lines prompted by the Narrator. The script is adapted from Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of the gospel narrative in his book The Message.

Cast:

  • narrator
  • Mary, Joseph and Jesus 
  • Herod 
  • camel 
  • camel herder 
  • shepherds – congregation
  • angels – congregation
  • wise people 
  • star

Props:

  • star
  • halo each for angels (50)
  • head scarf for sheepherders (50)
  • crown for Herod
  • camel costume (for two)
  • chair for Mary
  • manger for baby
  • 3 crowns, 3 capes, 3 gifts for wise men
  • Reserved seats for worship leaders & cast

The Pageant

The Narrator speaks from __________________. Mary, Joseph and Jesus, the camel, the star, Herod, and the wise ones are in the narthex, ready to enter from the back.

Narrator’s Introduction

Following the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem we hear about visits from shepherds, angels and the wise. This morning we will re-tell the story involving everyone. Shepherds will be all of you with cloth headbands, and angels are all of you who have halos. In the pageant you will be directed to say short lines by saying: the angels said, or the shepherds said, then you are simply invited to respond by repeating your lines.

Gabriel’s Announcement, Luke 1:29-38

Narrator: In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph and the virgin’s name, Mary. (Mary enters and comes in and stands ______________________.) Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty. Beautiful inside and out!” And the angels said, “God be with you.”
Angels: God be with you.
Narrator: She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. “Mary, you have nothing to fear,” the angels said to her. “God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call him Jesus.” As angels often do, the angels said, “Do not be afraid.”
Angels: Do not be afraid.
Narrator: After a short discussion with the angel, Mary knew it would be OK, saying “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me, just as you say.” Then the angel left her. (Mary departs, returning to the narthex.)

Carol 16 (stanzas 1 &3)   The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came The angel Gabriel from heaven came, His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame; “All hail,” said he, “O lowly maiden Mary,” Most highly favored lady, Gloria! Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head, “To me be as it pleases God,” she said, “My soul shall laud and magnify God’s holy name.” Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

The Birth of Jesus, Luke 2:1-7

Narrator: About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancé, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

Away in a Manger #115 (After song, Mary, Joseph and Jesus enter, going to the chair located ___________________.)

The Shepherds and the Angels, Luke 2:8-18

Narrator: There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angels said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Angels: Don’t be afraid.
Narrator: Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger. At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praise. The angels said, “Glory to God!”
Angels: Glory to God!
Narrator: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us. The sheepherders said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem.”
Shepherds: Let’s go to Bethlehem!
Narrator: The shepherds left and they found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. The sheepherders said, “Angels told us of the Christ child.”
Sheepherders: Angels told us of the Christ child.
Narrator: All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

“The First Nowell” #147 (Stanzas 1-4) (During the singing of stanzas 3 & 4, Herod walks up the center aisle, and stands in the middle of the aisle, half way down to the front. Star is carried in after him, and the camel and then the wise men down the center aisle to face Herod.)

The Gifts of the Wise – Matthew 2:1-11

Narrator: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory–this was during Herod’s kingship–a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. The wise asked, “Where can we find the newborn king of the Jews?”
The Wise: “Where can we find the newborn king of the Jews?”
Narrator: They had observed a star in the eastern sky (narrator points to the star held by ___________) that signaled his birth. When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified–and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” They told him “Bethlehem.” Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. (Herod moves into the midst of the wise men and pretends to talk with them.) Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.” Instructed by the king, they set off. (The wise and star move down the aisle to the front of the congregation.)  

Anthem “We Three Kings of Orient Are”     Arr. Mark Hayes

Narrator: Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: they were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house… (The star and the wise go to the holy family. The star stands behind Mary and the wise kneel then present his or her gift to Jesus; Mary and Joseph thank each of them.) …and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Narrator: As the wise of old gave their gifts to the Christ Child, we too have gifts to bring, the gifts of our lives, in service to the one who willingly comes to dwell among us.

O Little Town of Bethlehem (While we sing, congregation brings thanksgiving offering of food/money forward)

Narrator: The shepherds and wise ones returned to their homes and the angels returned to heaven, glorifying God and rejoicing in the mercy of God! Christ is born!

“Joy to the World” #134 – Standing

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