1 SO WHAT IF IT IS CHRISTMAS?
Directed by Carole Nickerson, Narration by Stan Brown Performed December 13-14, 2008 Prescott United Methodist Church NOTE, Narration from podium by organ. Voices from narthex (back of sanctuary) CHOIRS enter before Prelude & take places. PRELUDE: [before 7 PM] Christmas Duet, Patty Newton & Jacque Stewart Angels We Have Heard On High, Kay Keeley trumpet STAGE, As organ plays softly, the choirs come to their places. NARRATOR: Don’t those old familiar carols open up your memory bank? Images from years gone bye, and oh so many folks to thank. We anticipate the smell of turkey, Putting greens up for the season, Children’s faces, music, legend, But for it all there is a reason. How easy that amid the rush The Christmas news is lost from sight. Surrounded by a troubled world God’s message to us takes its flight. Many folks are caught in turmoil, loss of jobs or family sadness. “So what,” they say, “that Christmas comes? We have yet to catch the gladness.” But listen! Here amid confusion A voice is heard, “Prepare the Way!” His name is John, he came proclaiming, “Good News is come to us today.” “So what if it is Christmas?” So what, you ask? We’ll tell you how God is at work to save this world! The answer’s coming; hear it now!
STAGE: Lights up COMBINED CHOIRS, I Hear The Prophet Calling STAGE: choirs seated, Mary & Joseph come down center aisle MARY/JOSEPH DIALOGUE, Mary & Joseph with wireless mikes, as process down aisle. MARY SPEAKS: Joseph, why do we have to come so far? I know what you said, about reclaiming your heritage as a son of David, and being recognized by the Roman government. But we both know that just means more taxes. It means a lot to you, but does it means more to you than I do? This trip has been so very long; so hard over these rocky trails. So what if we are descended from King David? Who cares? Right now all I can think about is getting this baby born. I’m feeling contractions again. JOSEPH THINKS OR SPEAKS: Oh dear Mary, I don’t know how to answer you. I want to say that God must have some plan that is bigger than what we would like. Sure, it would have been easier to stay in Nazareth. But something in me said we had to do this. I wish you would remember that we were both visited by a vision – God telling us not to fear but go forward with this thing. Here, let me fix a place for you in the straw. STAGE: Mary and Joseph take places in manger. CHANCEL CHOIR, Advent Cry SOLO, Good News, Jean Canoose VOICES OF MARY AND JOSEPH JOSEPH: Do you think this baby will really be someone who can save the people from their sins. like the angel said? MARY: I don’t know how it can be! All I know is I’m afraid. I’ve never had a baby before. JOSEPH: I don’t know how it can be either, Mary. But maybe we have to just trust, like Abraham. I remember the scripture the rabbi taught, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” The Lord took him to the Promised Land! Right?
3 MARY: So what has that got to do with us? We knew where we were going, and it’s no land promised to us. I’m sorry Joseph. I’ll try to remember the promise that my baby is going to be special for Israel. NARRATOR: At Mary’s well the angel of the Lord came down to her with news that overflowed the water vessels of the world. And she received the wondrous Word, with all its newness to our ears, that started rivers flowing to the generations. KATIE REUTER, Solo about Mary NARRATOR: The angel told me, little one, To be your guardian here. Your earthly father I will be Protecting you from fear. Angels brought you, child; You came on wings of a dove. Now I guard your manger bed While hosts resound above. Heaven lights those eyes that Look upon the mother’s face. What tender love I feel for her; What wonder at her precious grace. SOLO, Joseph’s Prayer, ________________ NARRATOR CONTINUES Darkness shrouds the earth While you sleep upon her breast. I will keep you from all harm As you safely take your rest. Hope wells up within me; My vision sees you growing strong; In favor now with God and man, Setting right the awful wrong.
4 Angels brought you, child, Heaven lights your radiant eyes; Darkness shrouds the gloomy Earth But hope now spreads across the skies. SOLO, Do You Know? Mary Newman STAGE: Spotlight on Innkeeper & Wife, stage right INNKEEPER AND WIFE VOICES INNKEEPER: So what if they did have to have the baby with the cattle. It’s warm in there. WIFE: So what? I’ll tell you what! You’re the owner of this Inn. You could have kicked out those noisy college kids & made room for this couple and their baby, that’s what! INNKEEPER: Well, they should have planned ahead. They shouldn’t have come here unless they had a reservation or a relative to stay with. Some people are just n’er-do-wells; they bring on their troubles by poor choices. I can’t be responsible for people like that. WIFE: You stood there in the open door & didn’t even let them in out of the cold night air. You know what I was thinking? I was thinking about the prophet Micah: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” INNKEEPER: Yeah, well I was thinking of the prophet Daniel who told about “one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.” Daniel said he would be given all power and authority, his Kingdom would never be destroyed and every body would worship him. That’ll be the day when nobody will be poor like that couple we sent to the barn, and these blasted Romans will be gone. I can’t save these people now, but some day that Messiah will come with the clouds of heaven, like it says, and I’ll be in his presence. WIFE: What if you have already been in the presence of the Messiah? STAGE, Spot off; Innkeeper and wife leave scene. DUET, No Greater Purpose, Lee Weston & Kelly Poynter CHANCEL CHOIR, Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel STAGE: Star over manger lights 3 shepherds in center aisle.
5 VOICES OF SHEPHERDS (when ½ way down aisle) Shepherd 1: This is some dirty job, hard work and low pay. Shepherd 2: Yeah, and how about not having a roof over our heads; sleeping out here in the weather? Shepherd 3: And no health insurance! Look at those Pharisees and members of The Council: big health benefits and huge salaries! What good is this job if it won’t even support our families? Shepherd 1: Oh my Lord, what’s that? Angel Voice (Narrator): “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news about a great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior had been born to you; he is Christ the Lord…” Shepherd 2: Is this just another commercial to get us to go and buy stuff from the merchants? Shepherd 3: No! Listen! What if the Christ should come to us tonight? Would we know him? I think it’s worth going to find out? Shepherd 1: Baloney! So what if Christ is being born tonight? Will that make any difference for us? How can a baby bring the changes we need? Shepherd 2: I’ll vote for anybody that promises change. Shepherd 3: Let’s go find out! STAGE: Shepherds proceed to the manger as Celebration Choir takes places. CELEBRATION CHOIR: Rise Up Shepherds & Follow CELEBRATION CHOIR: Hush, Mrs. Teenage Mary STAGE: Celebration Choir sits during short interlude on organ HOSANNA BELLS, In The Bleak Midwinter NARRATOR: Many are they for whom The winter of their lives is bleak; But they are also the ones God comes in the darkness to seek.
6 This hour in hist’rys procession, This night when God comes to Earth Will be the answer to prayer Appearing to us in this birth. O wondrous invasion of Love, O peaceful and star-studded light, We rest in the promise you bring, We wait in this holiest night. CHANCEL CHOIR: O Holy Night ORGAN INTERLUDE, Patty STAGE: 3 Wise Men Enter during organ piece & cluster in front. Freeze when their voices begin. VOICES OF WISE MEN (Dialogue begins when Wise Men ½ way down aisle.) CASPAR: I wish you guys hadn’t dragged me out on this wild goose chase. It’s been a couple of weeks, and following a constellation of stars just seems like a waste of time. We had a cushy job in Persia, and lots of money. So here we are in the middle of the desert, and our gold and incense supplies are shrinking because we have to use them for bed and breakfast stops every day when the stars aren’t shining.. MELCHIOR: Cool it Caspar. The stars say there is a new king born in Israel. You know what that means! It means we are the special descendents of our captive ancestors in Babylonia. You know what the prophets said! Maybe this is the time of God’s promise to restore the glories of King David. CASPAR: So what? All that means is we leave Persia and go back to Jerusalem to live like nobodies. What do you think Balthazar? BALTHAZAR. I have been wondering about the wisdom of this trip myself. When we do find the king we’ll just have to give up the rest of our gold to him. Then where will we be? MELCHIOR: Okay – remember we are Wise Men. And wisely we will go to Jerusalem where we are sure to find the new king. And besides, maybe somebody needs this gold and expensive incense more than we do. Some poor family, maybe, who crosses our path before we even get to meet the king. BALTHAZAR: Oh good grief!
STAGE: Wise Men move to manger, & pose in adoration; Quartette comes up. Bells come up & wait in place QUARTETTE: Lo How A Rose STAGE: Wise Men take seats in front CHANCEL BELLS: Silent Night STAGE: Mary & Joseph remain in places. NARRATOR: It soon was time to dedicate The infant to the Lord; Bestow the name the angel gave And offer what they could afford. The couple to the Temple go And name him as the angel spoke, “Jesus” means “the Lord will save;” “Jesus” means “we can have hope.” But in the Temple Simeon waited To whom the Spirit had revealed He would not die before he saw God’s promise to the world unsealed. He took the baby in his arms, “This child will be a sign,” he said, “For the rise and fall of many; And Mary, you will see his blood run red.” Simeon praised God for the Light That now had dawned upon the world; God revealed in all Love’s fullness! Let the Gospel be unfurled! CHANCEL CHOIR: Let There Be Light
NARRATOR: So, what if it is Christmas? Can the question still be asked? Do anxious thoughts and fears still grip Your soul as did they in the past? Christmas means that all has changed; Audacious hope has come to stay. Christ was born and now He lives To guide His own from day to day! Have joy and join with Heaven’s chorus; Be quick to take God’s love with you. Go live the Christmas truth from now on, Each day let Christ be born anew! CELEBRATION CHOIR: 2 numbers In Excellus Deo The Work of Christmas Begins COMBINED CHOIRS AND ORCHESTRA, The Little Drummer Boy CHOIRS AND CONGREGATION, Peace, Peace