Act One, Scene 3

Segment 3.5


 

[Music cue: “Scene Change to Bethlehem” underscore MP3, PDF ]

(The scene is transformed to the streets of Bethlehem. The shepherds enter.)

ELI: Everyone, come quickly. This is it. This is where we will find Him.

NATHAN: How do you know?

The shepherds at the stable
ELI: (Approaching a stable door) Here. Nathan, come. Up you go.

(Eli boosts Nathan high to see into the stable. Lights up on Mary and Joseph beside the manger.)

ELI (cont’d): What do you see?

NATHAN: It’s just as they said.

REUBEN: A manger?

Nathan looks in the stable
NATHAN: Yes.

ELI: And the swaddling clothes? Is He wrapped?

NATHAN: Yes!

(Eli lowers Nathan. Subdued, the shepherds walk away from the stable.)

REUBEN: It is the sign.

ELI: We must tell. We must tell and testify of these things.

NATHAN: How do we do that?

ELI: What do you mean, son?

NATHAN: We’re just shepherds.

ELI (kneeling before Nathan): Yes, Nathan, just shepherds. But tonight we are servants, servants of a King.

(Joseph emerges from the stable, carrying a clay vessel. The shepherds see him and kneel. Noticing them, he stops.)

JOSEPH: Are you looking for someone?

ELI: Will you tell us about the Child, sir?

JOSEPH: The Child? Stand up. Who are you?

NATHAN: We’re shepherds.

JOSEPH: Yes?

NATHAN: And we know about the baby.

REUBEN: He is the Lord.

ELI: The Messiah, the Savior of the World.

JOSEPH: Who told you?

ELI: An angel—angels, actually. A whole multitude of them.

JOSEPH: Where?

NATHAN: With the sheep.

ELI: In the fields, sir.

NATHAN: We were keeping watch.

JOSEPH (shaking Eli’s hand): Fields . . . all manner of wondrous things.

ELI: I’m not sure I understand . . .

JOSEPH: Just a moment, let me tell my wife.

(As Joseph returns to the stable, we see Mary, holding the Child wrapped in the swaddling bands. She hums to Him.)

JOSEPH (cont’d): Mary, there are shepherds here to see the Baby. Angels sent them.

MARY: Angels?

JOSEPH: Yes.

MARY: Then they must see Him.

(Joseph and Mary sit, with Mary holding the Child. The shepherds enter the stable and stand in the doorway.)

JOSEPH (to the shepherds): Come in.

(The shepherds enter.)

MARY: Come close.

(The shepherds kneel around Mary and Joseph, their heads bowed. Nathan looks up.)

NATHAN (to Mary): I’ve seen many lambs just born.

MARY: Have you?

NATHAN: He looks sort of soft and helpless, just like a baby lamb.

MARY: He is a lamb. The Lamb of God.

NATHAN: What does that mean?

REUBEN: Hush, child. Mustn’t speak too much.

MARY (reassuring Reuben): Oh, no, no. (To Nathan) What is your name?

NATHAN: Nathan.

MARY: Oh, like the prophet.

NATHAN: Was he a shepherd?

MARY: In a way, all prophets are shepherds. I am glad you’ve come, Nathan. All of you. God didn’t let Him come into this world alone, and for that, His mother is grateful. (pause) I should have known it would be shepherds who would come—someone who could be trusted to believe.

ELI: And tell.

MARY: Tell?

ELI: Yes. The angel said it was unto all people. So if you’ll excuse us, we should go.

NATHAN: And do as he said.

(The shepherds rise and begin to exit. Mary and Joseph watch them go. Eli stops and whispers to Nathan. Nathan returns to Mary and Joseph.)

Nathan talks with Mary and Joseph
NATHAN: My father said I should start with you.

JOSEPH: With us?

MARY: For what, Nathan?

NATHAN: The message from the angel.

MARY: Very well. Go ahead.

[Music cue: “Come, Lord Jesus—End of Act OneMP3, PDF ]

NATHAN: Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you . . .

MARY: Go on.

NATHAN: . . . for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

(Nathan kneels and kisses the child. He exits the stable. The shepherds move toward the audience, proclaiming the message. Jacob, Eli and Nathan are also added to the following sequence of lines.)

JESHUA:

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

  
 

REUBEN:

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

 
  

AMON:

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

(As the Chorus sings, a few of the angels descend from the colonnade and gather at the edge of the stable. As they watch, the light narrows around Mary, Joseph, and the baby.)

CHORUS
Come, Lord Jesus, to the manger;
May we see Thy tender face?
Great Creator, here a stranger,
Infant in this humble place.
Come in glory to the earth,
Come to us to rule and reign.
Ready us to kneel and greet Thee.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Come in glory to the earth,
Come to us to rule and reign.
Ready us to kneel and greet Thee,
Come, Lord Jesus, come.

(Underscore continues. LUKE appears on the colonnade.)

LUKE: And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.45

The Nativity scene
MARY and JOSEPH
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

BLACKOUT

END OF ACT ONE

 

NOTES
45. Luke 2:40.


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