The First Christmas

And a Marvelous Change of Plans

(illustration... little girl singing)

A One Person Play by Paul Dallgas-Frey

The Setting

A long time ago, in a place far away, a little town called Nazareth. We see a young girl standing at a basin doing dishes. She has a towel (a hand-woven looking one, with colored stripes would be nice!) and is finishing off drying a clay pitcher. She is obviously "great with child"!


Her name is Mary.



The Play Begins


[Mary speaks throughout]



Oh... what a mess!


What a wonderful, unbelievable mess! Oh... no – not this old pitcher...[she holds up the pitcher] This cleaned up real good! I mean what's happening to me!


[she pauses in thought, looking back on the recent events]


First there was an angel!


Have you ever had an angel come visit you in the middle of the night?!


Me either!!!


It's scary!!!


There he was, standing there next to my bed, in a light so bright I could barely open my eyes! I was scared to death!!!


But then I heard this strong, kind voice say, "Don't be afraid, Mary." And when I heard him say my name for some reason I wasn't afraid anymore.


And then he said, "Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you!"


And I thought [she looks behind her as if the angel is talking to someone else] Are you talking to me???


But then he said, "You are going to have a baby!"


Uh boy.


And that's the mess!!!


Joseph and I aren't even married yet! All my life I have dreamed of my wedding day. All the feasting, all the celebrating! My family and friends all so happy for me! It was supposed to be the biggest day of my life... no, the biggest week of my life! That's how long our wedding celebrations are!


And now this. [she puts her hand on her stomach]


This changes everything!


I am going to have a baby. [she says matter-of-factly]


I am going to have a baby!!! [she says excitedly]


I am going to have a baby!!!! [in a panic!]


You know, I could be stoned for this!


That's what happens to a girl who has a baby before she is married!


And Joseph! He was so upset when I told him an angel told me I was going to have a baby!


But I told him what Gabriel said – that's what the angel said his name was, Gabriel – I told him what he said,


"The Holy Spirit will come to you, and you will have a baby. You will name him Jesus.


He will be great, the Son of the Most High. He will sit on the throne of David, and he will be King forever and ever!"


The Son of the Most High!




My baby?!!!


This little baby growing inside of me – is GOD? The One who made everything there is?!


The One who made ME?!


Right here, inside of me????


[she feels her belly again, looking down in absolute wonder]


I don't understand it!



Oh! I just felt him kick! [laughs] – what a kick he has!



[sighs] It is all so hard to believe!!!



I think Gabriel could see I was having trouble believing it all. He said to me, "Your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a baby too!"


Elizabeth??!! My cousin??? Is going to have a baby?? She is old!!!


Gabriel must have known I was thinking that too, because he said, "God's promises never fail!"


I didn't know what to say. And so I said, "I am the Lord's servant. I will do whatever he asks me to do."


And then, just like that, he was gone.



[she pauses to think, finishes drying the pitcher]



And there I was, alone in my room again.


I didn't know what to think!


What would you think?


I must have been dreaming or something!



And Joseph! Poor sweet Joseph!


He thought I was crazy!


Can you blame him??!!


You probably think I am crazy!


I know! It sounds crazy! I could barely believe it myself – and I was there!


But Joseph... he was so upset. But he is a good man. He is a kind, wonderful man! He knew how bad it can be for a girl who has a baby before she is married. So he was going to quietly call off the wedding and hide me away.


But then guess what happened?!


Something wonderful!


The angel Gabriel came to him too!


He said, "Joseph, son of David! Do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife! The baby she is going to have is from God!"


And Gabriel told him to name the baby Jesus – Yeshua – it means "God Saves," because he will save us from our sins!


And then Joseph remembered what the prophets from long ago had written, "A young girl will have a son, and he will be called Emmanuel, God with us."


God... with us!!!



[sighs a wistful sigh] Can it all be true?



Well, as soon as I could I went to see my cousin Elizabeth.


And guess what?!


She was pregnant! Just like Gabriel said! Right then I knew we weren't dreaming, and everything Gabriel told Joseph and me was true!


Elizabeth told me she felt her baby jump when she saw me! And then I guess she was filled with the Spirit, and she said,


"You are blessed above all women,

and so will your baby be blessed!


How can it be that the mother of my God should come to visit me?

But when my ears heard the sound of your voice,

the baby inside me jumped for joy!


How blessed you will be

because you have believed God's promises!"


And then the Spirit must have filled me too, because these words came pouring out,


"My soul will tell how great God is!

And my spirit rejoices

in God my Savior!


He has looked on me,

His lowly servant, with favor.

From now on,

all people will call me blessed,

For Almighty God

has done great things for me!


His name is Holy!

And He will show great mercy

to everyone who believes in Him,

From generation to generation!"



[she pauses again to dry some more and consider the wonder of God's blessings!]



Well, I stayed with Elizabeth until she had her baby. Everyone was so happy for her. I guess everyone knew what a miracle it was!



Oh, this is a funny story!


When it came time for the ceremony to name the baby, we all thought he would be named Zechariah, like his daddy. But Elizabeth surprised everyone and said, "No! His name is JOHN!"






No one in your family is named John!!!"


So we all turned and looked at Zechariah. [pantomimes turning to stare at Zach]


And this is the funny part – Zechariah couldn't talk! Ever since the day he came home from the temple nine months ago he couldn't say a word. So he asked for something to write on, and he wrote – in giant letters –




Everyone was totally surprised! We were even more surprised when all of a sudden he could talk again!


Finally he could tell the story of what happened to him that day in the temple.


Turns out, the angel Gabriel came to see him too. He is one busy angel!


Zechariah was serving in the temple like he always did, and the angel Gabriel came and told him God had answered his prayers, and Elizabeth was going to have a baby.




"My Elizabeth??? Is going to have a baby?!" he said.


He didn't believe it either!


So Gabriel said, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty God! I have been sent to bring you good news! But because you don't believe me, you won't be able to speak until you see it come true!"


And that's just what happened.


Truly it was a miracle!


[she pauses again, thinking]


But Zechariah said Gabriel told him something more.


He told him his son would have the spirit of the prophet Elijah.


He told him his son is being sent to prepare the way for God to bring His children back to Him. He is being sent to prepare the way for One who is even greater...


[Mary feels her belly again]


...for the baby growing inside of me???



It is all too strange wonderful for me.


I don't know what it all means!



God has changed everything - Jesus changes everything!



[thoughtfully] My plans for a wonderful wedding – God has changed all of that.


I guess our plans aren't always God's plans! But I know this – God's plans are always even more wonderful than we can imagine - even though it doesn't always seem like it!



Well, Joseph will be here soon. We have a long journey to make! Caesar Augustus has sent out a decree that all the world should be counted. So we have to leave our home here in Nazareth and go to the little town of Bethlehem, where Joseph's family is from.


Did I tell you that?


Joseph is from Bethlehem, the City of David. Joseph is from the family of King David! Our family is a family of kings!


[knock on the door]


That must be Joseph! Well - unless it is an angel again... except angels don't usually knock! [she laughs]. Time for me to go!


[she goes to set pitcher down, but has a thought and stops, studying it]


You know... maybe in a way, I am like this pitcher. It's just an ordinary pitcher. But if we choose to use it for Passover, and fill it with the Passover wine – then it becomes special. It becomes holy. Not because it is special, but because we have chosen it for something special - and filled it with something special.


Maybe I am like that. God has chosen me for something special too!


[thinking....] Hmmmm... I wonder what wonderful things God is going to do next?



[Mary sets the jar down, picks up her cloak and begins to exit]


I have to go – we are already late!


Coming, Joseph!




The End

2012 Paul Dallgas-Frey