The First Christmas

Making Room

(Illustration - a little boy singing)

A One Person Play by Paul Dallgas-Frey

The Setting

It is a long, long time ago, in the little town of Bethlehem. We see a man with a broom, sweeping the floor (imagine him a bit like David's Jewish father in the movie "Independence Day"!).



The Play Begins


[The 'innkeeper' speaks throughout.]



Oy... the mess these people made! Would you look at this mess!


What am I? An innkeeper?!!! This is my house!


I should be an innkeeper, with all the people who came to stay with us!


Ah... but you don't know what I am talking about do you?


Sit! I will tell you!


It all started when Caesar Augustus – [insincerely] may he live forever - sent out a decree that all the world should be counted. That all the world should be taxed is what it really was! Those Romans! They think they rule the world!


Eh... maybe they do!


So why did all my relatives have to come to my little town of Bethlehem and stay at my house?




I will tell you why!


Because the Romans said so!


Those Romans! Why can't they just go back to Rome where they came from and leave us Jews alone?! They come here with their armies and soldiers and chariots and swords and take over everything! They think they are so tough!


We should be so tough!



Ahhhh... but when Messiah comes! Then! Then watch those Romans run! We will see who is so tough then!


You know what the prophets have written, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light!"


Oy! "The people that walked in darkness." That is us! These are dark times - the Romans are so mean to my people! They boss us around. They take our money. They barely leave us enough to buy food for ourselves!


Did you know they can stop any one of us and make us carry their heavy stuff for one mile? That is Roman law!


What the Romans say – we do.


They should be nicer, those Romans! Oh, sure, there are some nice ones. My good friend Markus is a Roman. The rest should be so nice!


Instead they spit on you when you walk by!


Oh, that Messiah would come today!


"You have broken the yoke of our burden,

you have broken the staff that strikes our shoulders"


That's what the prophets have promised Messiah will do. May he come soon!



So what was I saying?


Oh, yes, the taxes! So mighty Caesar – may he live forever - decides he needs more money – and he is going to take it from us poor Jews. So he sent out a decree that every Jew must return to the home of his family to be counted.


And all of a sudden my house is filled with relatives! Relatives I don't even know, from places I have never heard of! Everyone from the Family of David has traveled here to my little town, to Bethlehem – the City of David. All looking for a place to stay!


Oy! What a noise! All those people! Crowded into my house! My guest room was full! My spare rooms were full! I put these travelers wherever I could find room!


But what a time we had!


Sitting by the fire, those cool nights. And stories?! You have never heard such stories! Strange places... Strange people... Old friends... new friends! You have never had such a time!



And then came the knock on the door.



In the flickering light of the fire I saw a young girl, "great with child" as we say [pantomimes Mary's large belly], and her husband - so tired, so dusty and dirty from a long journey. It was my cousin Joseph and his bride-to-be Mary.


She was so young!


My house was so full!


What could I tell them? I had no more room for them?!


I should turn them away, back out into the dark? With no place to go?


And then it came to me!


The stable beneath the house! Where we take in the prized animals for the night to keep them safe. It was perfect!


Smelly? Maybe! But no more smelly than a house full of people who haven't had a bath since who-knows-when!


But it was warm, and safe – and best of all, private.


Mary was going to need her privacy... what with babies and our Jewish laws for purity and cleansing and all that!


And that baby was coming soon!


And he did!


And just as soon as he came the whispers started! [whispers, as if talking to another] "Who was this baby? Where did he come from?"


The things I heard! The wonderful things! Amazing things!


This was no ordinary baby, this baby who came that night!


I heard someone whisper he heard Mary say to Joseph something about welcoming the Son of the Most High into the world!


Is that possible??!!! The Son of the Most High... God! Born right here in my stable??!!


And the stars that night! The stars were shining so bright! I have never seen such stars! It was almost as if they were singing... singing to welcome the birth of...


...their king?!


Could it be??!



And then an old aunt of mine remembered what she learned when she was a child, what the prophet Isaiah wrote a long time ago.


A child would come from the family of Jesse – the father of our great King David. The Spirit of the Lord will be with him. He will be wise. He will defeat our enemies and with him will come an everlasting peace, she said.


He will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords!


This baby, this King of Kings... right here?!! That little boy crying in my stable???


This is the House of David. Joseph is from the family of David – and so is his wife Mary!


Could it really be?


Could this be...


[whispers] the Messiah???!!!



And then I saw the baby lying there in my manger - you know, the wooden box we use to feed our animals – it is a perfect cradle!  I saw the baby sleeping there, wrapped in swaddling cloths – and I thought of another baby - baby Moses. You remember how Moses's mother put her baby in a basket – kind of like a box, to keep him safe from Pharaoh's army.


God sent Moses to save my people from our enemies back then...


Has God sent us another savior, to save us from our enemies again?


A baby?


This baby??!!!


Well, God always seems to do the unexpected!



But I should tell you more!


There was another knock on my door. Who comes knocking on my door in the middle of the night?




There were shepherds at my door!


And the look on their faces! Such a look you have never seen! Like they had seen a ghost...or an angel!


Not just ONE angel – but a whole HOST of angels!


"Has a baby been born here this night?" they asked.


Yes, I said. How did they know?!


"And is he wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger?" they asked.


This, how should they know???!!!


Yes, I told them.


"Then we must see him!" they said. So I brought them in to see the baby. And when they saw him, they fell to their knees.... fell right to their faces! Like they were in the presence of a King!


And then they told us about the angels.


They were out on the hillside, watching their sheep in the night when an angel came to them. And all of a sudden they saw a great light! The Glory of the Lord was shining all around them!


"It was so bright!" they said. "We were so afraid!"


"Don't be afraid!" the angel said to them, "I come to bring you great news! This night your savior has been born – the Messiah, the Lord has come to you!"


And then the angel said, "This is how you will know what I am saying is true – you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger!"


And then, suddenly, the angel was not alone, he was surrounded by a great crowd of angels, the host of heaven, in the blinding light of God's Glory. And they were singing!


"Such singing, you never heard!" They said.


Heavenly voices!


Praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest! And peace! Peace to his people on earth!"




What a wonderful thing that would be!


[sighs, pauses to reflect on the wonder of it all]



And now here they were, and here was the baby, just as the angel had said!



Now, I will tell you, I have heard people say the sky was filled with angels that night. That I don't know. The shepherds never said that exactly. They said there was a great company of angels all around them – but they never said anything about wings, or flying or anything like that.


Maybe so, maybe no! You know how stories get started!


But I know this for sure – something wonderful has happened here! Something amazing and wonderful!


[Goes back to sweeping, thinking of all he has just told us. Stops and reflects...]


Can it really be???


Messiah, the Son of God, The Lord of Lords and King of Kings... has come to us?!!


What kind of King must he be??? He doesn't come all high and mighty, with trumpets and armies like the kings we know... he comes as a tiny baby – truly like the least of one of us!


Oy! My head is spinning!!!!


Angels and shepherds... and this very moment...



...the Son of the Living God is asleep in my house!!!



[he looks off to the room where Jesus is sleeping]








[he continues sweeping quietly. Lights dim... fade... or whatever!]




The End

2012 Paul Dallgas-Frey