Try Family Theater:

By Mabel Jones Gabbott

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    Meaningful glimpses into the thoughts of those who might have shared the first Christmas

    How may the Christmas story acquire shape and reality for family members? One way is by using this reader’s theater, in which the characters of the Bible share their thoughts on this sacred event. Families may add more characters, use props and sets, simplify, develop … the possibilities are endless.


    Merciful God!

    She is preserved.

    Thy son is born.

    How wondrous are thy ways;

    How wise!

    The Son of God, born of a virgin,

    as the angel said,

    For truly I knew her not.

    How beautiful Mary looks

    No weariness is in her now,

    But a radiance past all believing.

    Strange, indeed, that Caesar’s own decree

    should bring us this long way—

    “And thou Bethlehem,” it is written.

    Mary was so weary,

    and no room

    but this lowly stable.

    “That all might be fulfilled.”

    Innkeeper’s Wife:

    But there was no room;

    we were crowded, overflowing;

    Besides, she had no place

    among that noisy crowd.

    There would be no quiet for her coming labor,

    for she was large with child.

    She looked so pale and wan; her time was near.

    I would gladly have made room at the inn,

    But where was peace for her in all that merrymaking.

    Yet, my husband would have turned them away.

    I am glad the stable

    where I found them rest

    was sweet and clean.


    It was here we stood,

    upon this hill,

    We were not asleep.

    The flocks were restless,

    Perhaps they sensed the difference in the night.

    For suddenly the sky was filled with radiance,

    And the angel of the Lord came upon us,

    The glory of the Lord shone round about us,

    And we were sore afraid.

    Had I been alone, I might

    have doubted its reality,

    But it was true.

    We heard the angel say,

    “Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior.”

    We heard it!

    And we saw the multitude of the heavenly host,

    We heard them praising God:

    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth

    peace, good will toward men!”

    Oh, I am glad I went to Bethlehem

    and saw the holy Child

    wrapped in swaddling clothes

    and lying in a manger—

    the Savior, Christ the Lord.

    How great for him to come so humbly to his own


    It is over.

    These long precious months he has been

    heartbeat of my heart

    and breath of my being.

    Now he is here,

    And he is whole and perfect.

    I have borne a son.

    That he is the Son of God is no less miracle to me

    than any who believe it so,

    Oh, every birth is a little miracle—

    a miracle of faith and love

    and God’s own wondrous working.

    Yet none so great as this:

    For Gabriel said, “That holy thing which Shall be

    born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

    I wonder why this humble place—this stable.

    Does it portend the life of God’s own son,

    among the lowly ones of earth?


    Yet kings will bow before him,

    And wise men listen to his word,

    And little children love him.

    The babe is quiet now.

    Already my moment fades.

    Let earth receive her king.

    The Son of God is born.

    Wise Men (Magi):

    We beheld a flood of sudden light

    breaking in glory,

    quickening even endless space.

    Magnetically the star, unparalleled,

    led us from the east.

    Impelled by study long and searching,

    we gathered myrrh and frankincense and

    gold, and hastened over desert dune and drift,

    seeking always the heaven’s foretold gift.

    “Where is he,” we asked, “That is born king of

    the Jews?”

    But Herod feigned no knowledge,

    No sudden news of miracle or light or chosen being.

    Until his chief priests and his scribes,

    seeing we sought the truth,

    remembered they had heard,

    “In Bethlehem of Judea.”

    “Bring me word,” said Herod, “When you have

    found him, that I may worship, too.”

    And there in the house

    we found the young child with Mary his mother,

    and we knelt down

    and worshipped him.

    But we left another way,

    returning to our own far land,

    being warned in dreams what Herod planned.

    He was the King.

    We had seen his star in the east;

    We came and worshipped him in Bethlehem.

    We saw the King, foretold to save all earth.

    Show References

    • Sister Gabbott serves as inservice leader in Bountiful First Ward Sunday School, Bountiful Stake.