Summary: A simple Nativity play, for those who like traditional carols with their nativity.
Style: Dramatic.     Duration: 15min (?)
Actors: All the usual, including choir, animals, and angels.

CAST in order of appearance:
CHOIR OF ANGELS
OX ONE
OX TWO
INNKEEPER
JOSEPH
MARY
DONKEY
SHEEP
SHEPHERDS
SHEP – A SHEEPDOG
ANGEL GABRIEL
STAR
THREE KINGS  
THEIR THREE ATTENDANTS
THEIR THREE CAMELS

Script

(THE SCENE IS THE STABLE, WHICH TAKES UP THE CENTRE OF THE STAGE, WITH A DOOR AT THE BACK AND  A LOW WALL  OF STRAW BALES ROUND IT.  THERE ARE TWO BALES OF STRAW IN THE CENTRE, AND A MANGER, WHICH HAS A POWERFUL TORCH (SWITCHED OFF AT THE START OF THE PLAY)  IN IT, COVERED IN HAY.  THE  HEAVENLY CHOIR OF ANGELS IS ALL ROUND THE STABLE.  THEY SING THE FIRST TWO VERSES OF ‘ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY’. )

CHOIR:    
Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

THEN TWO OR FOUR ANGELS STEP FORWARD, GOING ROUND THE STABLE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THE MANGER AND READ OR RECITE ‘THE OXEN’ BY THOMAS HARDY, A VERSE OR TWO EACH.

ANGEL ONE:    
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
 "Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

ANGEL TWO:    
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

ANGEL THREE:    
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

ANGEL FOUR"    
"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

CHOIR sing ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ first verse.
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

DOOR AT THE BACK OF THE STAGE OPENS AND THE OXEN COME IN.  THE DOOR IS SLAMMED BEHIND THEM, THEY HURRY TO THE MANGER AND START TO EAT THE HAY.

OX ONE:    I needed that.  I’m hungry, it’s been a hard day.  I’m tired, brother.

OX TWO:    Strange, I don’t seem to be hungry, or tired, brother.  I’ve got this strange feeling.  Like something special’s going to happen.

OX ONE:    What could happen?  Nothing ever happens here,  to us.

OX TWO:    I don’t know.  It’s just a feeling.

OX  ONE: You and your feelings.  They never come to anything.

DOOR OPENS AGAIN.  INNKEEPER LEADS IN MARY (WHO IS HOLDING A DOLL UNDER HER SKIRT, SO LOOKS PREGNANT), JOSEPH AND THE DONKEY.

INNKEEPER: I’m really sorry I can’t give you a room.  We’re fully booked.  It’s the census.  But you’ll be in the dry here.  And the animals will keep you warm.

JOSEPH:    Thank you.  We’ll be fine here.

MARY:  Thank you.

MARY AND JOSEPH SIT DOWN ON A BALE OF HAY.  DONKEY LOOKS ROUND UNCERTAINLY.  

OX ONE:    (TO DONKEY) Welcome, friend.  Come and share our hay.

DONKEY:    (COMING OVER TO THE MANGER) Thank you, friend.  It’s good to see you.  I’m tired and hungry. (HE STARTS TO EAT)

OX TWO:  Have you come far, friend?

DONKEY:     All the way from Nazareth.   It’s this census.  They had to come.  But you can see my master’s woman is in no state for traveling.  She’s been in pain for the past few hours.

OX ONE:    Well you can see, she’s about to give birth.

OX TWO:     She’ll be all right here.  We know all about birth.

DONKEY:    An angel came to her and told her about the baby.

THE ANIMALS EAT HAY.  THEY ARE NOW ALL IN FRONT OF MARY AND JOSEPH SO THAT WE CAN’T SEE THEM.   

CHOIR:    
Angels, from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:

Gloria, in excelsis deo
Gloria, in excelsis deo

DURING THE CAROL THE ANIMALS MOVE AWAY FROM THE MANGER SO THAT WE CAN SEE THAT MARY IS NOW HALF LYING ON THE GROUND, LEANING AGAINST THE BALE.   SHE HAS TAKEN THE BABY OUT FROM UNDER HER SKIRT AND IS CRADLING HIM.  JOSEPH IS SITTING ON THE BALE WITH HIS ARM AROUND HER.  THE ANIMALS GO OVER TO LOOK AT THE BABY.  MARY HOLD HIM OUT TO SHOW THEM.

MARY: You take him, Joseph.  I’m tired.

OX ONE:    I told you so.  A baby.

DONKEY:    Already?

OX TWO: I told you something would happen.

JOSEPH TAKES THE BABY AND ROCKS HIM IN HIS ARMS, WALKING ROUND THE STABLE, WHILE MARY GETS UP AND SITS ON THE BALE AGAIN.

THE CHOIR SING:
Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir;
We will lend a coat of fur.
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you.
See the fur to keep you warm,
Snugly 'round your tiny form.
Mary's little baby, sleep, sweetly sleep,
Sleep in comfort, slumber deep.
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you.
We will serve you all we can,
Darling, darling little man.

JOSEPH PUTS THE BABY INTO THE MANGER.  THE ANIMALS MOVE BACK AND   GAZE INTO THE MANGER,

JOSEPH:    Sleep sweetly, my darling.  

HE MOVES BACK, AND SITS ON THE BALE NEXT TO MARY
THE SHEPHERDS AND SHEEP GATHER OUTSIDE THE STABLE, AS A SPOTLIGHT LIGHTS UP THE SCENE OUTSIDE. THE SHEPHERDS SHIELD THEIR EYES. THE CHOIR STAND ROUND THEM AND  SING WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCH THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT, (POSSIBLY TO THE TUNE OF ON ILKLEY MOOR BAR’TAT).

CHOIR:    
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
"Fear not," said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind,
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind."

"To you, in David's town this day,
Is born of David's line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God and thus
Addressed their joyful song:
"All glory be to God on high
And on the earth be peace,
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease.

ENTER ANGEL GABRIEL

GABRIEL:     Don’t be afraid.  God’s son has been born.  Come and see him.

HE BECKONS, THE SHEPHERDS GET UP, AND FOLLOW HIM.
SHEPHERD ONE: Let’s take him the baby lamb as a present.
HE TAKES THE BABY LAMB BY THE HAND. THEY START TO WALK TOWARDS THE STABLE, SHEP FOLLOWING.

SHEPHERD  TWO:    Shep, you stay here and mind the sheep.

SHEP:     Grrr

SHEPHERD TWO:    Shep – Stay!

SHEP MOVES BACK.

SHEPHERD TWO: Good dog, Shep.  Good dog.

SHEP: Good dog, that’s me.  Always given the boring jobs, chasing sheep.  They know I’m a good dog.  Why can’t I go and see the baby king?  (HE GROWLS, AND ROUNDS UP A COUPLE OF SHEEP WHO WERE STARTING TO FOLLOW THE SHEPHERDS.)  

CHOIR:
Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant light:
Gloria, in excelsis deo. Gloria, in excelsis deo

SHEPHERDS AND GABRIEL GO QUIETLY INTO THE STABLE, AND KNEEL IN FRONT OF THE MANGER.  BABY LAMB HESITATES

OX TWO:    (TO BABY LAMB)  Have some hay, little one.

BABY LAMB: baaa (unhappily)  

SHE GOES AND SNUGGLES UP TO MARY, WHO PUTS HER ARM ROUND HER.

OX ONE:    She’s too young to be taken away from her mother.

CHOIR:  ‘Away in a manger.’
Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars
In the bright sky
Look down where lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying he makes
I love you Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle
'Till morning is nigh.

Be near me Lord Jesus
I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray
Bless all
The dear children
In thy tender care
And fit us for Heaven
To live with thee there

WHEN THEY REACH THE SECOND VERSE,  ‘the cattle are lowing’ THE OXEN MOO QUIETLY
WHEN THEY SING ‘the baby awakes’ BABY LAMB KISSES MARY AND THEN COMES FORWARD, BOWS AT THE MANGER AND REACHES HER HAND INSIDE AND TURNS ON THE TORCH.  JOSEPH PUTS HIS HAND UP TO HIS FACE TO SHIELD HIS EYES

OX ONE:    What’s that light?

DONKEY:    I don’t know.  

OX TWO :    I said something was going to happen.

OX ONE:    It’s time we were going to sleep.  We’ll all be working tomorrow.

CHOIR:    
Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill his Father's throne,
Gather all the nations to him;
Every knee shall then bow down:
Gloria in excelsis deo.  Gloria in excelsis deo

THE ANIMALS LIE DOWN.  

ENTER STAR, LEADING  THE KINGS ONTO THE STAGE, FOLLOWED BY THEIR ATTENDANTS WHO ARE LEADING THE THREE CAMELS.  

STAR:     This way, this way.  We are there.  Come in.  come in.

CHOIR SING:    
We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.

STAR, KINGS, ATTENDANTS AND CAMELS COME INTO THE STABLE.  THE CAMELS JOIN THE OXEN, THE DONKEY AND BABY LAMB BY THE MANGER

OX TWO (TO CAMELS): Come and share our hay, brothers.

OX ONE: Good job there’s plenty of it tonight.

CAMEL ONE:  Thank you, brother.

CAMEL TWO: There was this bright star in the sky.  

CAMEL THREE: I’ve never seen one that bright.  We’ve been following it for days.

CAMEL ONE: Our masters said it was leading to a baby King.

CAMEL TWO: And here we are in a stable.

OX TWO: What better place to find a baby?

CHOIR:        
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.
        (Refrain)

KING ONE: We bring gold, for a king.  

ATTENDANT ONE:     For the Prince of Peace.

THEY STEP FORWARD, AND THE ATTENDANT PLACES THE GOLD BESIDE THE MANGER.  BOTH KNEEL AND BOW THEIR HEAD.

CHOIR:    
Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worshiping God on high.
(Refrain)

KING TWO: I bring frankincense, for a God.

ATTENDANT TWO:     You will be a King in Heaven, not on earth.

THEY KNEEL AND BOW

CHOIR:    
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
(Refrain)

KING THREE: I bring Myrrh, for yours will be a sad life

ATTENDANT THREE:  You will share your people’s suffering, and bring comfort to us all.

THEY KNEEL AND BOW.

CHOIR:    
Glorious now behold him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
sounds through the earth and skies.
(Refrain)

DURING THIS LAST VERSE THE ANGELS MOVE THE  WALL OF BALES, THEN THEY ALL MOVE NEARER TO THE MANGER AND KNEEL DOWN.  ALL THE ANIMALS KNEEL.

MARY:    Thank you for all your gifts.  I knew this baby was special.  But all this – you’re so kind.

OX TWO:    I said something was going to happen.

OX ONE:    What has happened?

OX TWO: I’m not sure.  But there’s a baby.

OX ONE:    Only a baby?  I thought you meant something important.

DONKEY:    An angel came to her, so I guessed this would be a special baby.  But, every baby’s  special.  There’s nothing more important than a baby.  

CAMEL ONE:  This baby will go far.

OX ONE:    But where?  

CAMEL TWO: Who knows.

CAMEL ONE: I think that baby’s going to change the world.

CAMEL THREE:  Well, that can’t be a bad thing.

OX ONE:    I’m not sure I want the world to change.

SHEP:  The angels sang of peace on earth.  That would be something.

DONKEY:    Whatever, we’ve got something to celebrate.

STAR: Come and join our celebration.  SHE BECKONS TO THE AUDIENCE, TO JOIN IN,  AND CLAPS

CHOIR SINGS   ( INVITING AUDIENCE TO JOIN IN – CLAPPING, DANCING ETC).

DURING THE LAST VERSE EVERYONE GETS UP AND STARTS DANCING.  STAR CAN ENCOURAGES AUDIENCE TO JOIN IN.

Come and Join the celebration
It’s a very special day
Come and Join the celebration
There’s a new King born today

See the shepherds
Hurry down to Bethlehem
Gaze in wonder
At the son of God who lay before them

Chorus

Wise men journey
Led to worship by a star
Kneel in homage
Bringing precious gifts from lands afar, So

Chorus

God is with us
Round the world the message bring
He is with us
Welcome all the bells on earth are peeling

Chorus

LAST CHORUS CAN BE SUNG SEVERAL TIMES

..................................................

© Mary Brown. All rights reserved.
This script may be used free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged to a performance. In exchange, the author would appreciate being notified of any occasion the script is used in public performance. She may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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