The Interrupted Nativity

by Stephen O'Rear

CHARACTERS
Mary
Joseph
Baby (Jesus)
Shepherd
Sheep
Zadok, a guest at the inn
Cow

SCENE: The manger, early morning. MARY, JOSEPH, SHEPHERD and SHEEP gaze lovingly upon the BABY. Gently hum “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger” to help set a quiet Christmas mood.

Zadok: (shouting from outside) Bashan! Time to wake up, beautiful.

(ZADOK enters.)

Zadok: Oh, sorry. I didn’t know anyone else was up this early.

Joseph: That’s OK. It’s been a night full of surprises.

Shepherd: No kidding. I was out in the field, tending my sheep, when suddenly the sky filled with—

Zadok: (interrupts) I don’t mean to be rude, but I have a long journey ahead. I’m just here to pick up my cow and . . . (horrified) is that a baby?

Mary: His name is Jesus.

Zadok: Why did you put him in the feed trough?

Joseph: There was no room in the inn.

Zadok: No room in the inn for a newborn baby? I really ought to speak to the manager.

(SHEEP baas lazily.)

Zadok: (to SHEPHERD) You seem to be missing a few sheep there, shepherd.

Shepherd: As I was saying, I was out in the field, when—

Zadok: (interrupts again) I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but leaving your flock seems like a pretty shaky financial strategy.

Shepherd: (frustrated) Ugh, if you’d just—

Zadok: And speaking of missing animals, where is my cow? Bashan!

Cow: (offstage, lazily) Moo.

Zadok: Ah, there you are. (exits, cooing) Did you have a rough night with that baby hogging your feed trough?

Shepherd: I don’t get it. A star shines right above our heads, angels sing praises in the heavens and all he cares about is his cow.

(SHEEP baas.)

Shepherd: Oh, don’t start. You know there will never be a night like that ever again. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” Who could go back to work after hearing what the angel said?

(ZADOK returns, along with COW.)

Zadok: Well, I’m about ready to take off. Mazel tov, congratulations on the baby, you two.

Joseph: We’ll pray for your journey.

Zadok: Hey, since I’m leaving, there’s room in the inn now. You should get your child indoors; he doesn’t belong out here.

Shepherd: Yes, He does. This is exactly where He belongs.

Zadok: What do you mean?

Shepherd: The angel said, “You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” We were supposed to find Him here. God planned every detail!

Zadok: OK, but why do you need to be here? Why not just let this new mother get some sleep?

Shepherd: (uncertain) We came to worship.

Zadok: Hmmm. Well, come on, Bashan. We’ve got a long way to go.

(COW moos as they exit.)

Shepherd: (to JOSEPH AND MARY) He still doesn’t get it. How can you let him leave when he doesn’t see the truth that’s staring him in the face?

Joseph: Only God can open his eyes. He isn’t ready to understand what happened.

Shepherd: But the angels, the star . . .

Joseph: . . . were there for you. And the story you tell will be retold through the ages.

Mary: Who knows? There may come a time when he hears your story in some distant town and thinks back to this night.

Shepherd: And until then?

Joseph: We pray, we trust and we celebrate. For the Messiah has come!

(Hum the last two lines of “What Child Is This?” The scene goes silent as MARY, JOSEPH, SHEPHERD and SHEEP gaze at the BABY.)

After the shepherds had seen Him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.—Luke 2:17-18

This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine. Photo © Ralph Daily/Flickr.com; used under Creative Commons license.