Monday, December 25

The Nativity

I wrote this script for our live nativity at church, trying to capture the thoughts of what the various characters might have been thinking as they experienced Jesus' birth. It's a story that we've all heard a million times, and I find that 2000 years later, many people think of the Christmas story as a fable or a folk tale. Sometimes it's difficult to really grasp the fact that this story really happened, and it happened to regular, ordinary people like you and me. Our nativity on Christmas Eve attempted to bring the story back to life and help each of us connect ourselves with the people that were around during the time when the event actually happened.

I wrote the script on request--it's definitely out of my comfort zone to do dramatic writing for a public audience like this was, but hopefully it will make the meaning of Christmas more personal for you as well.

Mary’s Reflections
I am but a girl who intended to marry a man and eventually start a family together with him. I was anticipating my life plans as any ordinary young woman does, when an angel of the Lord brought me a message that I would become the mother to a child who would be like no other. I am willing to participate in this wonderful event, but the price has been difficult to pay. I was stricken with fear and anxiety about the reaction I would get from those around me when I related this unlikely story. I am not fit to be the mother of a king, and certainly not the mother of the Messiah who has been expected since ancient times. This is an honor that I know I do not deserve. I experienced doubt and disappointment from my parents even though I have kept myself pure. I was nearly abandoned by my beloved Joseph even though I have always been honest with him.

In his kindness, God gave me comfort when I visited my cousin and her own unborn child gave a sign that the Messiah was in our presence. In that moment, I realized that I would be able to bear this burden and that I am not alone. I also felt validated when Joseph received his own message from the Lord and decided to partner with me to parent this child. As the arrival of my little one draws near, I am fearful of what is to come. I yearn for my child to grow up happy, healthy and strong. I want a safe, comfortable life for him rather than the one of sorrow and pain that he will have. I am heartbroken over the fact that many will deny that He is the One sent from above, and they will scoff at the sacrifice He makes for mankind. I can only do my best to fulfill the promise I made to the angel of the Lord - that I would indeed be the best mother I can with the strength that comes from relying on God.

Joseph’s Ponderings
From the time I was a young boy, I have had plans for my life that included marrying a girl from my village and setting up shop as a local carpenter. I intended to raise a family with sons and daughters and to be a man of honor and respect among my friends and neighbors. It will be difficult to accomplish these things with the arrival of this child that is coming. I am taken for a fool because I have stayed loyal to Mary even when she declared that she was having a baby that is not mine. Although I doubted the story at first, I received a personal visit from the Lord, brought by an angel from the heavens. Imagine the pressure of knowing that you will be responsible for rearing this little child in an environment that nurtures and develops the plan that God has for Him. I am a tradesman – not a rich man, not an educated man. I will not be able to give this baby a life of privilege. I cannot teach this child important things about the world. I can only offer myself, my heart, my example of what a Godly man of strength and honor should be. I don’t know if that’s enough - especially with the opinions and advice of those around me who will be sharing how they think the Messiah should be raised. But God gave this job to me and I have to believe that He did that because He will be working through me.

Wiseman’s Musings
The day I saw the Star was a day that changed my perspective on life forever. I study the heavens and I learn things that are only revealed from above. I have been waiting especially for something that has not come to pass until now An ancient prophesy about the arrival of a new king has been passed down for generations, and many have thought it just a tale. Suddenly the sign has arrived and I believe it will be proven true. I am a man who has important things to accomplish, a family to provide for and I do it on my own. I am a man of influence, an advisor to the king, a respected thinker, a man of significant material possessions. I am able to succeed in my world without the help of anyone. But as I was conducting the business of my life, the very stars that I read every day finally proclaimed the arrival of a Jewish king who will rule the world.

I must admit that the sign given in the heavens is surely sent by a God who is bigger than any god I’ve known before. Although I am a man of importance in my world, I am taking precious time from my busy schedule to accomplish something much greater than anything on my own agenda. I am seeking the truth. With this message from the stars, I am also beginning to understand that I do nothing on my own, that everything I have is a gift from above, and I have needs that I can’t meet through my own strength. With this Jewish king comes the promise of hope for our world.

Shepherd’s Thoughts
I am a man simple man, one who is looked down upon by society. I lead a lonely, solitary life among the animals and no one envies my lifestyle. Because of the responsibilities I have in tending my flocks, I’m not able to participate in many of the customary practices of my people, even important rituals like observing the Sabbath by attending the Temple. For this reason, no one wants to associate with me and I am considered unclean. I am held in such disrespect that I am not permitted to testify in a court of law – not only is my lifestyle undesirable, so is my character. But the God Most High, Creator of the Universe has seen me in my humble state and has granted me the privilege of sharing firsthand in the joyous news of the birth of the Messiah. The heavens burst open with a throng of angels announcing the arrival of the child who will bring to pass God’s master plan for the world. God saw through my outward appearance into the heart of my soul and found that He could fulfill part of His purpose through me.

3 of Your THINKS:

Debbie said...

I don't know what else to say, your words are beautifully woven into a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

Emmanuel

Christmas with Jenlo

Time Magazine Writer of the Year

Mary Ellen said...

Very well done - I'm sure the entire congregation was touched - if they weren't they should have been.