The Promise continues with the birth of Christ as told through song, the story of Mary, and five narrators.
Narrators A, B, C, & D
Pianist (other Musicians as available)
Staging and props can be as complicated or as simple as your budget/time/resources will allow. I was privileged to personally direct this play twice. One time we opted for a very literal interpretation of the scene complete with painted sets depicting period style homes, elaborate props, scrims, and moving staging. The second time we opted for a simpler approach – stationary black stages of varying height – allowing the audience to fill the scenery in with their imagination. Each was a lovely presentation in it’s own right. I really don’t think you can go wrong :).
I have not indicated how many CROWD PEOPLE, ANGELS, or SHEPHERDS to use because I don’t think it is imperative to note for the script. Use the people you have (perhaps numerous times over with different costumes) and focus more on characters that have lines.
Any MUSICIANS should be positioned in such a way as to remain invisible to the audience/congregation.
Part II | Promise of Emmanuel uses music from the SUGGESTED TRACK LIST as well as live vocalists (singing acapella).
A black slide is suggested between OMNISCIENT NARRATIONS. During narrations there are cues for scrolling scripture verses (white text on black background).
Additional notes are indicated throughout the script in bold or italic font.
Part II | Birth of a Savior
Script with notes
(PIANIST plays “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” over OMNISCIENT NARRATOR
and NARRATOR D.)
OMNISCIENT NARRATOR: (Micah 5:2) . . . you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.
NARRATOR D: After four hundred years of silence, God spoke. In the midst of oppressive Roman rule, with the Jewish nation scattered throughout the Empire, God was ready to enact the promise He made to man from the very beginning of time.
He spoke first to the priest Zechariah through an angel telling him that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son that would be great in the nation of Israel; a son that would prepare the way of the Lord. (pause) Zechariah did not believe the angel’s message, so as a sign that the angel’s words would come true, Zechariah was struck dumb until his son John was born.
(PIANIST concludes “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and transitions. Lights come up center stage where MARY is washing clothes.)
NARRATOR D: While people were still murmuring about the angel sighted in the temple, another angel appeared with a message (ANGEL 1 appears on stage behind MARY) this time to a virgin named Mary in the town of Nazareth; Elizabeth’s cousin. The angel came to her and said . . .
(Lights intensify around ANGEL 1 causing MARY to fall to the ground in fear)
ANGEL 1: Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you (MARY shies away). Don’t be afraid Mary. You’ve found favor with God. You’re going to have a baby – a boy – and you are to name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom is never going to end.
MARY: (amazed) How can this be? . . . I’m a virgin . . .
ANGEL 1: The Holy Spirit is going to come on you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. The Holy One born to you will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age! Everyone said she was barren, but she is now in her sixth month! Mary, nothing is impossible with God!
MARY: I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen as you have said.
(PIANIST begins playing “Breath of Heaven.” MARY slightly bows her head and ANGEL 1 disappears. MARY stands alone contemplative.)
NARRATOR D: As quickly as the angel came, he left. (Lights fade on MARY. She exits in darkness.) Mary, a mere teenager, was left with the promise of God in her womb, and with that the consequences that came with this change. How could her parents, or sweet, gentle Joseph understand the Angel’s message? Who would she turn to that would not first cast their judgement? She knew the road ahead would be hard, but that did not alter her countenance. Instead, she chose to trust God.
The promise solidified in her heart as her body underwent the changes all too common of pregnancy. She could not hide this promise inside her, and in no way would she try to. She loved Joseph and in faith, told him of the angel’s message. Joseph, devastated with the news, could not go through with the engagement. He was an honorable man and couldn’t bear to subject Mary to the public scorn women like her received. But he also could no longer take her as his wife.
Because God had chosen Joseph as well as Mary, an angel . ..
(NARRATORS A, B, and C appear in a fog.)
NARRATOR A: . . . the angel of the Lord . . .
NARRATOR B: . . . appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him of the child . . .
NARRATOR C: . . . that was the Immanuel Israel waited for.
(Lights come up on CROWD PEOPLE in Bethlehem. MARY and JOSEPH enter through the audience. MARY is visibly pregnant and struggles as JOSEPH tries to help her.)
NARRATOR D: Joseph wasted no time. He took Mary as his wife and they traveled together the long journey to Bethlehem where they were required to register for a census.
(Spot on MARY and JOSEPH. Mary begins singing the first verse of “Breath of Heaven” with PIANIST accompaniment.)
(MUSICIANS continue playing as the following is acted out. MARY and JOSEPH approach CROWD PEOPLE. JOSEPH pantomimes asking several people where they can stay, they all shake their heads, pointing to someone else. JOSEPH is desperate and attempts to bargain for a room.)
NARRATOR A: Bethlehem was overrun with people.
NARRATOR C: By the time Mary and Joseph arrived . . .
NARRATOR B: . . . tired and alone . . .
NARRATOR C: . . . the only shelter they could find was with the animals.
(MARY begins singing the second verse of “Breath of Heaven.” MUSICIANS continue playing. CROWD PEOPLE begin to exit the scene. MARY and JOSEPH settle into the stable and MARY goes into labor.)
NARRATOR B: Mary and Joseph found themselves among weary and traveled animals.
NARRATOR A: It smelled of defecation and musty hay mixed with the cool damp air of night. . .
NARRATOR C: . . . but it was all they had.
NARRATOR B: The baby began kicking inside of Mary . . .
NARRATOR A: . . . first signs of the struggle that awaited them that night.
NARRATOR B: With haste Joseph rushed to Mary’s side . . .
NARRATOR C: . . . an unlikely mid-wife for the soon-to-be King of Kings.
(MARY cries out in pain)
NARRATOR A: This was no place to welcome the Son of God . . .
NARRATOR C: . . . without royal fanfare or declaration the child was laid in a humble manger.
NARRATOR B: Even the smallest things Mary and Joseph could have afforded Him they had to do without.
NARRATOR C: All they had was themselves.
(Lights fade off NARRATORS. Lights come up on BABY JESUS in MARY’S arms. NARRATORS A, B, and C exit. MARY begins singing the chorus of “Breath of Heaven.” MUSICIANS continue playing. Lights come up on ANGELS standing above frightened SHEPHERDS.)
NARRATOR D: There were shepherds in the fields nearby watching over their flocks of sheep and a host of angels appeared to them. The angel of the Lord said to them . . .
ANGEL 1: Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in Bethlehem a Savior is born; He is Christ the Lord. You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
(SHEPHERDS quickly make their way to the stable. Lights on ANGELS fade and they exit.)
NARRATOR D: So the shepherds went in search of this baby, and when they found Him they praised God.
(SHEPHERDS find BABY JESUS in the stable and bow in worship. MARY sings whole chorus of “Breath of Heaven.” WISE MEN enter through audience bearing their gifts. Music crescendos. ANGELS enter from backstage and stand on either side of the stable, hands raised toward heaven. MARY sings whole chorus of “Breath of Heaven” again. MUSICIANS continue playing softly under narration. Lights fade. All actors except those at the stable exit in blackness. Lights come up on NARRATOR D.)
NARRATOR D: That night, almost unnoticed by the world, the promised Child was born to man. Watched over by angels, visited by shepherds and wise men, the Son of God wrote Himself onto the pages of human history as one of us, setting a course that would develop in a way no one would have been able to dream, or believe if they had known that night in Bethlehem.
(Lights fade on NARRATOR D. MUSICIANS conclude song. End Scene.)