I’m ‘on’ Sunday school for December and in previous years, I’ve written short nativity plays. As the children are now older and range in age from 7-15 for the speaking parts with many 3-5 years olds tagging along as silent angels and surplus shepherds, I wanted to write something that was longer and wittier.
Many thanks to Paula Sheridan who loaned me a copy of Jesus’ Christmas Party, the story of the first Christmas which is told from the point of view of the innkeeper who just wants a good night’s sleep. I’ve adapted it and added some ‘Irish’ and ‘rural’ jokes especially for our own congregation so if anyone wants to use parts of it, do feel welcome to help yourself but I’d love to know if you do, so just leave a comment below 🙂
Nativity Play for Mayo Church, Crettyard
It starts with the innkeeper asleep and snoring on the pulpit.
Narrator 1 ? It is 2011 and this hotelier is exhausted of a busy year of receiverships, Nama, selling half price rooms, feeding kids sausage and chips for free to entice their parents here not to mention all the free face painting. He has eventually finished off the year with a full hotel as everyone had come to Carlow for the national census.
Star ? with a wicked cackle of laughter ? But I am going to keep him awake later on.
Narrator 2 ? lots of people are still? looking for rooms for the night before the general census tomorrow.
Guest 1 & 2 walk halfway up the aisle
Guest 1? knocks on the door of a pew and sticks his head in ?Hello, any vacant rooms please? No, oh, okay.
They walk on another 2 pews.
Guest 2 ? Look there?s a vacant sign ahead
Guest 1 ? oh no, it has just been switched off but let?s ask, they might have a small room left
They walk up to the front and knock on the door which is yanked open
Innkeeper ? Yes?
Guest 1 ? Do you have any rooms left please?? We?ll pay double.
Innkeeper ? Just sold the last one, sorry, goodnight.
Guest 1 ? Please, we really need a bed for the night, look, I have gold galleons here, you know gold is the only currency worth having nowadays
Innkeeper ? Okay, okay, but you?ll have to have my room, that?s the only one left
Guest 2 ? Where will you sleep?
Innkeeper ? I?ll sleep in the top bunk in my son?s bedroom. Now, come on, it?s late. I?ll show you where it is and then I want some shuteye.
They all go inside and the innkeeper stomps up the stairs to the pulpit.
Narrator 2 -? The innkeeper ?likes nothing better than a good night of uninterrupted sleep. They all settle down for what they think, is going to be a good night?s sleep. The innkeeper has his bag of gold tucked under his pillow.
Narrator 1 ?? Mary and Joseph are about to see if they can find better hospitality in 2011 than they did over two thousand years ago.
Mary and Joseph come in the church door and walk about one third of the way up the aisle, Mary complaining bitterly
Mary ? If you had only stopped at the last services, we wouldn?t have run out of diesel Now it is dark and I just know this baby will come soon.
Joseph -? The diesel was 150 a litre there, I was planning to wait till we got to Wilson?s. The gauge must be faulty. Look, I?m sure we?ll find a hotel soon.
They walk up another 2 pews when Mary stops and points
Mary ? What?s that?
Joseph ? It?s a bike. Now, if it was a tandem, we could borrow it.
Mary ? It must be Billy Neale?s, he?s always out? cycling this weather.
Joseph knocks at the next pew and sticks his head in ? No room here, Mary (shaking his head) they?re all packed like sardines into this one.
They walk to the front and knock loudly.
The innkeeper lifts his head ? What was that?
Joseph knocks again, louder this time.
The innkeeper struggles to his feet and clambers noisily down the steps to the ?door?.
Innkeeper ? What do you want?
Joseph ? We have walked for hours since our car ran out of fuel, my wife is soon to have our baby, can we have a room for the night please?
Innkeeper ? We?re totally full, ?sorry
Joseph ? Please, do you have any rooms at all?
Innkeeper ? No, look if you go on about a mile there?s another hotel in receivership, they might have rooms.
Joseph ? but my wife is about to have a ….
Innkeeper ? well, then go along for half a mile, there?s a ?estate of ?NAMA houses, you might find an empty one there
Joseph ? but my wife …..
Innkeeper ? What part of NO do you not understand. Look, I don?t have any rooms in the hotel, unless you want to sleep in the stable around the back. (he turned as if to go)
Joseph looks at Mary
Mary ? It would be better than nothing, we?ll take it
Innkeeper looks around ? Really?? Oh, alright then, here?s a couple of blankets, just go around the back, the porter will show you.
They turned to go and he called to them ? ?breakfast isn?t included in the room rate by the way.
He walks back up to his bed and settles down
Narrator 1 ? The Innkeeper shuts and locks his front door, climbs the stairs, gets into bed and goes to sleep but there won?t be peace for much longer.
There was another knock at the door. Joseph is standing there.
Innkeeper stomps down the stairs and flings open the door and barks ? Yes?
Joseph ? Excuse me, I?m very sorry for disturbing you, Our baby has been born, can we have another smaller blanket please?
The innkeeper grunts and hunts around.
Joseph ? Err, a blue one if you have one, we?ve had a baby boy.
Innkeeper hands him a small blanket ? That?s all I have, now goodnight.
Narrator 2 ? the Innkeeper stomps back up the stairs, gets into bed and goes to sleep.? Soon, he is gently snoring
Narrator 1 ? until a bright light shines in through the window and wakes him up.
The star is shining brightly into the window from its position over the stable.
Star ? I?ve to stay here until everyone comes to see the new Messiah, I?m shining as brightly as I can.
The innkeeper puts up his hand to shield his eyes, stomps down to the bottom of the stairs and pretends to pull curtains vigorously.? ? ?That?s all I need?.? He stomps back up and settles down again.
The shepherds come in the door and wander aimlessly up the aisle.
Shepherd 1 ? I?m really tired looking after all these sheep, they are all over the place tonight, let?s lie down for a while.
Shepherd 2 ? First good idea you?ve had all night, I won?t say no.
Narrator 2 ? As the shepherds settle down for the night, the Angel Gabriel comes along to give them some news helped by the Star in the background
Angel Gabriel ? Oy, you guys you have to wake up
Shepherd 1 shielding his eyes against the star.- what?s going on?
Angel Gabriel ? You have to go to the hotel at the top of the town.? Our Messiah has just been born and you have been chosen to go and greet him.
Shepherd 2 ? What? Now? But we?re tired.
Shepherd 1 shielding his eyes ? We?re not going to get much sleep with that thing shining in our eyes. What is it?
Star ? I?m the star of the East and I?m here to guide you to the Messiah, to ensure you get there on time.
Shepherd 1 grumbling ? Well, could you dim yourself a bit, you?re blinding us
Star ? Look, I?m not a car headlight you know, and there?s going to be lots of people coming so if I were you, I?d get a move on if you want to get there first.
Narrator 2 ? The shepherds struggle to their feet and walk slowly towards the hotel when one of them spies something.
Shepherd 1 ? What?s that?
Shepherd 2 ? that? Oh, it is one of those newfangled tractors, Massey Ferguson I think they are.
Shepherd 1 ? Are you sure it isn?t a John Deere, Derry Neale has one of those
Shepherd 2 ? No, ?it?s a Massey, must be Leeson Neale?s, it?s only tillage farmers can afford those latest models nowadays.
Narrator 1 ? They knock on the door and wait for it to be answered. The innkeeper wakes up with a jump, groans and then jumps out of bed and runs down the stairs and flings open the door.
Innkeeper ? NO NO NO, There?s no rooms left.
Shepherd 1 ? We are shepherds.
Innkeeper ? So? What?s the matter? Lost your sheep? They?re not here!
Shepherd 2 ? We?ve come to see Mary and Joseph, we?ve been guided by that bright star.
Innkeeper ? ROUND THE BACK! Now, goodnight!
Narrator 2 ? The shepherds make their way around to the back where they are welcomed by Mary and Joseph.
Narrator 1 ? The innkeeper makes his weary way back to his top bunk bed, checks his bag of gold and falls to sleep again.
Narrator 2 ? this time the kings are trying to find the destination of Mary and Joseph and their new baby.
King 1 ? this sat nav just doesn?t seem to be working properly
King 2 ? I told you we should have brought a map.
King 3 ? it must be nearby, we?ve been walking for hours.
King 1 ? What?s that? (looking up into the sky)
King 2 ? Is it Santa Claus?
King 3 ? I don?t think so, it?s not red.
Angel Gabriel and the Star march down to meet them
Star ? Look, I?m shining my hardest in the sky for you, would you stop looking at that sat nav and just look in front of your noses.
King 3 ? What? Who are you?
Angel Gabriel ? We?ve come to get you to hurry up. Baby Jesus has been born, the shepherds have arrived and we?re waiting for you.? You need to follow the East Star to your destination.
Star ? What have you brought for him?
King 2 ? I?ve got some gold here
Star ? Well, as long as it isn?t leprechaun gold …
King 1 ? I?ve got myrrh
Star ? Can I check my reflection in it?
King 3 ? It?s not a mirror.? I?ve got frankinsense and don?t you dare make a frankinstein comment.
Narrator 1 ? Angel Gabriel and the Star disappear and the 3 kings are left to make their own way to the stable. They stop in front of the hotel and knock on the door.
Narrator 2 ? the Innkeeper has just managed to fall into a deep sleep and is enjoying a nice dream of spending his gold on a sun holiday in the Maldives.
Narrator 1 ? when he is rudely awoken by a loud knock on the door. He sits up and listens and hears the knock again. With a loud sigh, he bounds down the stairs and flings open the door.
King 1 ? We are the 3 kings. We?ve come to …..
Innkeeper -? ROUND THE BACK!
Narrator 1 ? He slammed the door, climbed the stairs, got into bed and went to sleep.? Suddenly a chorus of singing woke him up and he tried to cover his head with his pillow to drown the sound.
Everyone sings the first 2 lines of ?Away in a manager, no crib for a bed, but little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head?
The innkeeper stands up ? RIGHT, THAT DOES IT.? He stomps down the stairs, throws open the door, walks around the back, stormed into the front of the aisle where everyone was sitting.
Innkeeper ? All this fuss about a baby, look there?s a baby boom on, there?s thousands of them about to be born next year, What is all the fuss about?
He looks into the manger and everyone waits silently.
Innkeeper ? Oh?
Narrator 1 ? At that moment, the innkeeper?s anger seems to fly away.
Innkeeper ? Oh! Isn?t he lovely?
The innkeeper turns to go back to the hotel and goes to wake up the other guests.
Narrator 2 ? the Innkeeper thought he was so lovely that he goes to wake up all the other guests. He then goes up to the bedroom and finds his bag of gold.
The other guests go in to see the baby too, closely followed by the innkeeper.? The innkeeper gives Joseph his bag of gold.
Narrator 1 ? No one got much sleep that night as they all celebrated the baby?s arrival.