Jethro, young boy Eleazar, elderly shepherd (grandfather) Gethar, married, middle-aged shepherd Judith, wife of Gethar Margaret, servant girl Deborah, Eleazar’s granddaughter Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus
Scenes: On the hillside, outside the stable, within the stable.
Scene 1: On the dark hillside outside Bethlehem, three shepherds gaze at the star-scattered heavens.
What does it mean? What has happened?
Look, the rays of light are fading;
just a few minutes ago
we were watching our flocks on the Bethlehem slopes;
then a glory came!
It must have been the glory of God,
such as our fathers have described,
and their fathers before them for generations.
You are old; you must be wise, Eleazar.
Tell me, what did the voices mean?
Did you not hear, Jethro?
The voice declared: “For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
He has come at last, the Savior,
the King of Israel, the Messiah.
He has come, and I have lived to see it.
Glory be to God!
A savior? In the city? In Bethlehem?
A savior of what?
Can he save my home? My marriage?
What hope does he bring for me?
Come, let us go to Bethlehem and see this miracle.
(Three shepherds exit.)
Scene 2: Stable scene in background with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Three shepherds go in, kneel before the child, then come out and stand talking.
Tell me, do you feel as I do?
What is it?
It is love. We have found the fountainhead of love.
Here in a stable—in the child Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes,
and lying in a manger,
just as the angel said.
Oh, that my family
could know and believe.
My son, Josiah, will not listen.
And it is no use to tell his wife, Anna; she would just mock me.
But my grandchild!
Deborah will listen; she will believe—
The very old and the very young.
I must go and bring Deborah, my granddaughter, to see the Messiah.
I shall bring Belshira, the singer;
I will go to the inn and tell her of the King.
She will be the first woman in the city to see the King of Israel.
I have wanted to give her so much,
but I am only a shepherd.
Now I can give her something beyond sun and stars.
I will bring her to the King.
Love! It has been so long since I have felt love,
And never such love as this.
It fills the stable and enters into the heart,
It reaches out to my most hidden and starved feelings
and warms them.
I wonder, would it reach Judith’s heart?
Since no children have come to bless our home,
she has turned cold toward me, indifferent.
Perhaps it is just as well.
Children need love.
But I have turned away, too,
and perhaps Judith has smothered her feelings
and hidden them from me.
I am not one for pretty speeches nor tender language,
but I must find the words to tell Judith
about the man and the woman and the love—
the wonderful love that has come to earth in this child.
Perhaps she has need of it, as I need it.
Perhaps together we can find the Savior and his love.
(Three shepherds exit in different directions. )
Jethro walks on stage toward the stable, looking dejected. Margaret, servant girl, runs up to him, stops him, takes both hands.
Jethro, you do not know me.
I am a servant girl at the inn.
I have seen you there;
often I have watched you as you listened to her singing.
Tonight I heard you talking to her,
and I heard her cruel words to you
(mimicking the haughty tone of Belshira):
“A savior? Who needs a savior?
As for kings, I have seen many kings.”
I am sorry, Jethro. May I come with you?
I have never seen a king.
I know you wanted her to go because she is so beautiful.
But I—I would like so much just to see him.
Come, I will take you to see the King.
(They walk together to the stable where Eleazar, Deborah, Gethar, and Judith are already gathered.)
Stable scene. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are gathered in semicircle with the six other characters.
In the manger, Deborah, see,
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
a baby such as other babies—a beautiful baby—
yet so much more.
You can feel it here in the stable.
And the heavens have declared it.
He is the Messiah.
Our people have waited long for him,
our Savior, the King, the Son of God.
And now you have seen him;
as a child, you have seen the Savior, your Messiah.
You must never forget.
(Deborah nods, smiles, and snuggles close to Eleazar.)
Jethro and Margaret:
We believe it, too.
We have seen and we will never forget.
He is our King,
a light in the darkness.
Those who need him most may deny him,
but we will help.
We will serve the Child always.
(They clasp hands and bow their heads to the Child.)
Gethar and Judith:
Now that we have found love,
we will share it,
When others know what his love can do for them,
they will come to him,
for he is our Redeemer, our loving Redeemer.
(Judith puts her head on Gethar’s shoulder.)
Mary sings lullaby to Jesus.
The babe is quiet now,
and it is almost morn;
let earth receive her King!
The Son of God is born.
Joseph joins in the song the second time, and all on stage repeat the last two lines as conclusion. Stage could be in cultural hall or in living room. The stable scene could be set throughout the performance, and lighted when it is the focal point in scenes two and three. Costumes of the period should be improvised, and members of the ward or family should be chosen to fit the ages of the characters.
[photos] Photography by Longin Lonczyna, Jr.