(Based on Luke 2:1–20 and Matthew 2:1–18)
This is a short play I wrote for our church; my daughter Maria and I performed it together when she was about 12.
Cast of Characters:
FATHER (a shepherd in the year 10 A.D.)
DAUGHTER (12 years old)
When the scene opens, Father is standing alone, looking out over the horizon and to the sky. Daughter enters and comes up behind him. He hears her and turns to her.
FATHER: My child, is something wrong.
DAUGHTER: No, Father. I could not sleep. (She stands next to him and hugs him.)
FATHER: Your mother and your sisters — are they awake?
DAUGHTER: No, Father. I did not wake them. (They stand together, and she looks up at the stars. After a moment, she speaks.) The stars are so bright tonight, Father. Why is that?
FATHER: It is a clear night, and the moon is new. (Another pause.)
FATHER: Yes, my child.
DAUGHTER: Tell me again about the Night of the Angel.
FATHER: You have heard that story many times.
DAUGHTER: Please, Father.
FATHER: The sheep, too, are restless this night. Let us walk and comfort them, and I will tell the story. (They begin to walk.) The Night of the Angel was much like this one: clear and bright with stars. I remember it well because your brother had been born earlier that day.
DAUGHTER: Father, how old was I?
FATHER: You were only two years old on that night. You slept with your sisters, and your mother fed your brother for the first time. (Father stops and becomes very pensive.)
DAUGHTER: Tell me more, Father.
FATHER: Your uncles and I watched the sheep that night. I looked to the heavens, and I thanked God for my first son. Then, I saw the Angel appear. We were all terrified by the light, and we huddled together like lambs when the wolves are near.
DAUGHTER: But the Angel spoke to you.
FATHER: I will never forget those words. The Angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
DAUGHTER: Then, there were more angels, right?
FATHER: You know the story well, my child. A host of angels appeared, and they began praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Your uncles and I, we fell to our knees, and we praised God with the angels.
DAUGHTER: Tell me about the Christ Child, Father.
FATHER: When the angels left, we went to Bethlehem immediately. There, on the edge of town, in a manger behind an Inn, we saw the Child. He was sleeping in his mother’s arms. He looked like a newborn lamb.
DAUGHTER: What did you do when you saw Him?
FATHER: Again, we fell to our knees and gave thanks to God for this Child’s birth. Later, we told all the others about what we had seen and heard. In the temple, the teachers of the law said the birth of the Child fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. For Isaiah had said, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.” Do you remember what Immanuel means, my child?
DAUGHTER: It means “God is with us.”
FATHER: Yes, my child. Yes. (Pause.)
DAUGHTER: Father, where is the Christ Child today?
FATHER: He lives, my child, but I know not where. He is growing into manhood. He will do great things; of this, I am certain.
DAUGHTER: When, Father? When?
FATHER: Patience, my child, patience. Only God Himself knows the time and the place. (Pause.)
DAUGHTER: Father, what happened to my brother?
FATHER: Your brother is dead, my child.
DAUGHTER: How did he die?
FATHER: Your mother has not told you?
DAUGHTER: No, Father. She thinks I’m too young.
FATHER: Your sisters have not told you?
DAUGHTER: They treat me like a baby. Please tell me, Father. Please.
FATHER: It is a hard story, my child.
DAUGHTER: I am 12 years old, Father. Soon, I will be old enough to have a child myself.
FATHER: Very well. Very well. Some time after your brother was born, Magi came from the East looking for the Christ Child. They called Him “The King of the Jews.” When King Herod heard this, he made plans to find the Christ Child and kill Him.
DAUGHTER: Why did he want to kill the Christ Child, Father?
FATHER: King Herod was a ruthless man. He would kill anyone who was a threat to him.
DAUGHTER: But, Father, a baby is not a threat.
FATHER: King Herod had already killed his wife, three of his sons, his uncle, and many others close to him. King Herod wanted to kill the Christ Child before He became a threat to him. (Pause.)
DAUGHTER: King Herod killed my brother, didn’t he, Father. (Father shakes his head yes.) Why, Father? Why?
FATHER: (He takes a deep breath.) When King Herod could not find the Christ Child, he ordered his soldiers to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem, so that the Christ Child would not live.
DAUGHTER: Couldn’t you protect my baby brother? Couldn’t you keep him away from Herod?
FATHER: I tried, my child. Oh, how I tried. (He takes another deep breath.) When the soldiers came, I hid your brother and said we did not have a baby boy, but they knew the truth. They threatened to kill you, your mother, and your sisters if I did not give them the baby. So I handed over my only son so that you might live. (Father puts his arm around his child and they exit.)