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
[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
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
What the Romans say –
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
"You have broken the yoke of
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
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
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
And that baby was coming
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...
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?
Well, God always seems to do
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
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
"And is he wrapped in
swaddling cloths, lying in a manger?" they asked.
This, how should they
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
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
"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.
Praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest! And peace! Peace to his people on earth!"
What a wonderful thing that
[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
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!]