Summary: A sketch to illustrate how easily we can become deflected from finding the real meaning of Christmas. It presents the quest to discover the truth about Christmas as a train journey to Bethlehem, with a second character boarding the wrong trains.
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 12min
Scripture: Luke 1: 5-7, 11-14, 57-66
(Note: the sketch can either be performed in two parts or as one continuous sketch. It is presented in two parts to show where the break comes)
[The scene opens with John entering from left with a suitcase which he calmly sets down on the ground before looking up at an imaginary departures board. He is followed by Joe entering impatiently and in a more agitated manner from the right. He doesn’t set his case down but jostles in front of the other to see the display board. He then quickly gives up looking and turns to John.]
Joe: You don’t happen to know the time of the next train to Christmas do you?
John: Well, yes – I’m going that way myself, but there’s plenty of time yet – the next one’s not until 24th December.
Joe: No, sorry, you don’t understand. I need the express service. I can’t wait for that slow old train.
John: But that’s the one that goes all the way to Bethlehem.
Joe: Oh, I don’t really care where it goes. I just promised my family that I’d spend time with them at Christmas, so any Christmas train will do.
John: As far as I know, there is only one proper train to Christmas and that’s the one that takes you to Bethlehem.
Announcer: Advent Trains is pleased to announce the departure from platform 4 of the mid-November Christmas Shopping special, calling at Hamleys, Oxford Street, Santa’s Grotto, the Christmas lights, a large overdraft and all stations to Star-bucks. Please note that there are no restaurant facilities on this train.
Joe: Oh! That’ll be mine.
John: Are you sure?. It doesn’t go to Christmas
Joe: Of course it does. It’s called the Christmas Shopping Special.
John: But it doesn’t go to Bethlehem.
Joe: Do I care? This is what Christmas is all about for me.
John: Oh well. Have a good journey
[Joe dashes off]
[Joe re-enters, burdened with shopping bags and looking grumpy!]
John: Hi there! Back already!
Joe: Yeah! I’ve had just about as much as I can take for this year.
John: So you didn’t get to Christmas then?
Joe: What do you mean?
John: Well, you said you were trying to get to Christmas to spend time with your family. You obviously had in mind a happy family celebration and it doesn’t sound to me as if you found it.
Joe: Oh! - well, I suppose I didn’t. All we seemed to do was argue about where to go next and how much money we should spend.
John: You don’t get that on the train to Bethlehem.
Announcer: The next train to arrive at platform 7 is the fast train to the Office Christmas party. This train offers a full buffet and bar service and passengers are advised that there is no quiet zone. All passengers must have a ticket before boarding this train.
Joe: [fumbling in his pocket] I should have a ticket for this train. Ah yes, - found it.
John: So are you going to get on this train now?
Joe: Sure am. My Christmas is now well and truly back on course. Christmas party here I come [he does a little wiggle]
John: But that train doesn’t go to Bethlehem either. If you want to reach the true Christmas you need to be patient and wait for the right train.
Joe: [already distracted – smoothing his hair and straightening his tie] What? Oh no, not me. This train will suit me down to the ground.
Hey have you seen that over there – great fancy dress! They’ve even got the sheep.
Joe: ‘Em guys dressed as shepherds. I suppose they’re what you call party animals! [laughs at his own joke!] I should offer my services for writing cracker jokes!
John: I think you’ll find that isn’t fancy dress.
Joe: What? You think they’re real? Naaa! Can’t be. Anyway must dash or I shall miss my train [he runs off out of one door and immediately round to re-enter by the other door]
John: Some people! No patience whatsoever. But no point worrying about him, things are beginning to get interesting round here.
Announcer: Advent Trains announces the arrival on platform 1 of John the Baptist. Passengers are advised that this service previously had a no-children policy but this policy has been revised following the unexpected birth of a baby to an old woman on this train. Ze-car-higher up the train was previously a quiet zone but talking is now permitted….Advent Trains would also like to apologise to passengers for that dreadful pun!
[John is listening excitedly to this announcement as Joe re-enters rather the worse for wear and staggers into John]
John: Hey steady o…Oh, it’s you. I take it you didn’t get to Christmas then?
Joe: Ssssh! Turn it down mate, I can hardly think. My head’s about to split.
John: Clearly you didn’t find Christmas peace and goodwill then?
Joe: I don’t know what I found – it was wild…a bit over the top really. Strange how people you work with show a different side at the Christmas party.
John: You’re not exactly the height of respectability yourself this morning.
Joe: Oh! [he looks at himself] I’m not sure I can go back to work like this. And I just can’t remember what it was we all started arguing about at the end.
Announcer: Advent Trains is pleased to announce the arrival on platform 3 of the Orient Express. Passengers are kindly requested to step away from the edge of the platform to allow the three royal parties arriving on this train to disembark.
Station Master: [walks along in front of John & Joe to clear a space]
Prepare the way! Make a straight line please. We want everyone to see God’s salvation when the Christmas Star pulls in.
John: Oh, how exciting - things are really starting to happen now. It won’t be long now before the train to Christmas. Hey, why don’t you hop on the train to Bethlehem with me? It might help you get things back in perspective.
Joe: Naa, not me mate! I’ve just about had it up to here with Christmas for this year. I’m off to watch a few movies, open another bottle and sleep off this hangover! [Joe exits]
John: [shakes his head] Oh dear – it happens every year. People get so distracted by the trappings of Christmas that they miss the real thing. Still, nothing I can do now - I’ve got a train to catch to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ. [exits]
© Copyright Ian Wallace, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.