What Can I Give Him?
by Deb Brammer
Cast: Mr. Steve Abercrombie, Mrs. Jennifer Abercrombie, Ryan Abercrombie (may also be Joseph), Angela Abercrombie (also Mary), Emily Abercrombie (also an angel), Mr Parker, Mrs. Parker, Wise-men (three speaking parts, you may combine parts and use two or include more than three), shepherds (at least two), angels (at least two including Emily, may have a whole choir of angels), Narrator
Props: newspaper for Steve, paper and pen for Ryan, catalog and gum for Angela, podium for narrator, packages in bags for Jennifer, doll, blanket, bottle for Emily, manger, two stools, doll with blanket to be Baby Jesus, gold, frankincense, and myrrh
Scene I: Steve-dress pants and shirts with loosened tie, cornstarch may be sprinkled in hair at temples for gray. Jennifer-somewhat casually dressed but with fair amount of jewelry. Kids-casual dress.
Scene 2: Joseph and shepherds-bath robes, towels on head tied back at sides. Mary-plain T-shirt with sheet draped to make skirt and over one shoulder, scarf draped on head Wise men-bathrobes and towels wound into turbans on head. May attach jeweled pin to front of each turban Angels-simple white gowns.
Scene 3: All dressed for church.
Settings: Scene I and 3 in living room decorated for Christmas. Emily leaves seat for Mr. and Mrs. Parker while they are there. She may sit on floor in front of Angela or in another chair. Furniture should include a couch, 2 chairs and a footstool. Scene 2: May use bare stage. Add manger for stable scene and two stools for house scene. If more things are used, they must be able to be moved quickly
Setting: The living room of the Abercrombie family. Steve sits in an easy chair, reading the newspaper. Ryan is writing out a shopping list. Angela looks through a catalog and blows bubbles with her bubble gum. Emily sits playing with a doll. Jennifer enters, scatters packages, and plops down in a chair.
JENNIFER: Oh, my aching feet! I’ve had about all of the Christmas I can stand for one year!
STEVE: Have a rough shopping trip, Jennifer?
JENNIFER: Rough? Steve, it’s a jungle out there. I’ve never seen the mall so crowded.
STEVE: Where’s your Christmas spirit, dear?
JENNIFER: Christmas spirit? If you want to see Christmas spirit, just try to get in on a blue light special. Everyone pushing and shoving … I must have gotten my foot stepped on at least ten times and not once did anyone say, “I’m sorry.” I can do without that kind of Christmas spirit.
STEVE: Well, what did you get under the flashing blue light?
JENNIFER: I almost got a Bratz doll for my niece. I was holding the last one when some “lady” grabbed it right out of my hand.
RYAN: Here’s my shopping list, Dad.
STEVE: You already gave one to your mother, Ryan.
RYAN: Don’t you need one, too? Anyway, I thought of some more things I want.
STEVE (reading): I-pod. Mountain bike. Your old bike’s not good enough? Mobile phone with camera. You have a phone and a digital camera. Why do you have to have them together? You’ve got to be kidding me! What do you think I am, rich?
JENNIFER: Now, Dear. Where’s your Christmas spirit?
STEVE: Bah, humbug!
JENNIFER: Hit you where it hurts, didn’t it? Right in the wallet.
STEVE: There was a day when only “visions of sugarplums danced” in the heads of children on Christmas Eve. Now as they sleep, visions of i-pods and mobile phones dance in their heads. Why, when I was a boy I was very glad to get a few small toys for Christmas. Some kids didn’t get that much.
RYAN: Yes, we know-back in the good old days. (Rolls eyes.) This is the twenty first century, Dad.
ANGELA: I suppose this isn’t a good time to mention the opal earrings I saw at Goldstein’s.
STEVE: Not exactly.
ANGELA: Well, Ryan gave you his list. The good news is, if I get opal earrings and a notebook computer, I could get along without the watch I wanted.
JENNIFER: Such generosity!
ANGELA: But if we don’t tell you what we want, how will you know what to get us? Personally, I think it would be better it everyone just bought himself what he wanted. Then we’d all get what we wanted. And I wouldn’t have to wear that awful green scarf every time we visit Aunt Barbara just because she made it for me last Christmas.
JENNIFER: Now Angela, it must have taken Barbara many hours to knit that scarf.
ANGELA: It probably did, it’s twenty feet long. (Doorbell rings.)
JENNIFER (wearily): Will you get the door, Emily? I don’t think my feet would carry me that far. (Urgently.) Angela, take these packages into our bedroom, quick! What a messI (Angela does so and returns to room. Mr and Mrs. Parker enter)
STEVE (standing): Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Parker. Hello.
MRS. PARKER: Hello Steve, Jennifer.
MR. PARKER: You don’t seem to you have the Christmas spirit, Jennifer.
STEVE: Jennifer has the Christmas shopping blues.
MR. PARKER: Well, Steve, I’m glad you have the Christmas spirit. We came to ask you to play the trumpet for the cantata on Christmas Eve. Andrew Johnson is sick and in the hospital again so he won’t be able to. But I hear that you play.
STEVE: I’ve hardly touched a trumpet in recent years.
JENNIFER: Why, Steve, you had your trumpet out just last …
STEVE: No. Mr. Parker, I’m afraid I’m far too rusty.
MR. PARKER: You have three weeks left to practice. It’s not a very difficult piece, but it would add a lot to the cantata and no one else plays the trumpet.
STEVE: Sorry I’m just not up to it. (There is an awkward pause. Mrs. Parker breaks the silence)
MRS. PARKER: Emily, may I see your doll a minute?
(Takes it.) Why this is just like the doll Sarah Thompson lost in the fire.
JENNIFER: Yes, Emily and Sarah got identical dolls for Christmas last year. Sarah always had hers with her-just like Emily does. Too bad the Thompsons can’t replace it. It was her most treasured possession.
MRS. PARKER: Yes, I know. I’ve tried to find one like it, but they just don’t sell them anymore.
JENNIFER: That’s how toys go, these days. One year you’re a social outcast if you don’t own a certain toy. But the next year it’s out of style and you can’t buy one for anything.
MRS. PARKER: I’m afraid it’s going to be a hard Christmas for the Thompsons. They lost everything in the fire.
STEVE: How are they doing, Mr. Parker?
MR. PARKER: As well as can be expected, I guess. It’s been quite a strain on them. I’m afraid their fire insurance was not adequate. I wish they could get away from it all for a while but with Sarah, they can’t ever get away together.
MRS. PARKER: I’ve been hoping that some of the ladies of the church could watch Sarah, but everyone seems to be too busy.
JENNIFER: Yes. And then it’s not easy to watch a child who is so severely disabled by Down’s syndrome, if you’re not used to it.
MRS. PARKER: Mrs. Thompson would be glad to give you instructions if you are interested.
JENNIFER (nervously): Well … ahem … I want to help, of course, but I’m busy, too, you know. I have to make the angel costumes for the Christmas play and Angela’s, too, since she’s Mary.
MRS. PARKER (disappointed): Yes, I know you’re busy. Let me know if you have time after the Christmas program. It would be such a help to the Thompsons to get away even for a few hours. I’d like to help but between directing the Christmas program, playing the piano for the cantata, and making popcorn balls for the candy sacks, I just don’t have a spare moment these days.
MR. PARKER: Yes, Dear. Speaking of the program, you have practice tomorrow morning at nine. We’d better go.
MRS. PARKER: Yes, we’d better. We’ll see you children at practice. Good-bye everyone.
(Parkers rise and leave during these last lines. Steve and
Jennifer see them to the door.)
JENNIFER: Drive carefully. Watch out for that icy spot at the end of the driveway. (Dropping in chair) Whew! Was that a close call! We both almost got “volunteered” that time. And right at Christmastime when we’re so busy!
EMILY: Mommy, don’t you like Christmas?
JENNIFER: Of course I do. It’s just a lot of work-and expensive, too. We have a lot of people to buy presents for-
EMILY: I don’t understand. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, right?
EMILY: So how come everybody gets presents except Him?
JENNIFER: You do ask the most ridiculous questions, Emily! Off to bed, now. We need to get up early so I can get in a full day of shopping.
Setting: Narrator stands to one side of the stage in front of curtains. If there is room, Mr. and Mrs. Parker and Steve and Jennifer may sit on the sides in front of the curtains, facing the stage as if part of the audience. The Biblical scenes are in the following settings: a field, a stable, a house.
NARRATOR: Christmas is the season of giving. Much of the Christmas season is spent choosing special gifts for those we love. We buy the gifts, wrap them up, set them under the tree, and wait for the expressions of delight they will bring on Christmas morning.
But the greatest Christmas gift ever given was also the first. For on that very first Christmas God gave us His only Son. Any other gift would have cost Him nothing for He could have created another world with the snap of His fingers. But this Gift, His own precious Son, cost Him everything.
Of course, there were other gifts given that first Christmas. They were given to the Lord Jesus. For after all, it was His birthday.
The angels started the giving. They gave Him their worship in a song of praise. It happened like this.
(if using curtains, open them. Two or three shepherds should be sitting on the ground.)
It was an ordinary night. Some poor shepherds sat in a field watching over their sheep as they did every night. Then suddenly a bright light shone on them and an angel appeared.
(Enter angel #I.)
ANGEL #1: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:I0-I2).
(Other angels enter Emily is one of the angels.)
ALL ANGELS: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:I4).
(All angels sing “While Shepherds Watched their Flocks,” verse five which begins: “All glory be to …” All angels exit and shepherds stand.)
SHEPHERD #1: “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us” (Luke 2:I5). (Shepherds exit. Curtains close.)
NARRATOR: The shepherds hurriedly left their sheep to search for the Christ child. Their sheep were important, for they were shepherds by occupation. But finding the baby Jesus had even higher priority. The shepherds followed the angel’s instructions and soon they came to a humble stable, aglow with the joy of the parents of this newborn baby boy.
(Curtains open. Mary, played by Angela, and Joseph, played by Ryan, stand around a doll in a manger. Shepherds enter)
SHEPHERD #1. We came to see the Baby. Some angels told us that the Messiah was born tonight. Is this the Baby they told us about?
MARY: Yes. Isn’t it wonderful?
JOSEPH: We have called His name Jesus. God told us to name Him Jesus for He shall save His people from their sin.
SHEPHERD #2: He looks like an ordinary baby. Yet, imagine, He’s the Christ, the Savior!
(Mary picks doll up by the feet and holds him. Shepherds bow before Him, worshiping, then exit. Curtains.)
NARRATOR: After the shepherds left the stable, they told every one they saw about the Christ child. First they gave God their priorities, then their worship, and now their witness. God certainly was pleased with their gifts.
Later some learned men came from the East to see the Lord Jesus. Late one night they arrived at the door of the house where Jesus was.
(Curtains open. Mary and Joseph sit on stools holding a larger
doll. Joseph answers a knock at the door. Three Wise men enter.)
WISE-MAN #1: There He is, the King of the Jewsl
MARY: How did you find us?
WISE-MAN #2: We followed the special star that God put in the sky. We’ve been searching the heavens for years for it and now God has led us by that star to the Christ child. Even now that star hovers over this very house.
WISE-MAN #3: We’ve been traveling months for this very moment to see the King and worship Him.
WISE-MAN #1: The presents! Bring out the presents.
(Wise-man #2 opens a bag, takes out three gifts, handing two to the other Wise-men. They kneel before Jesus.)
WISE-MAN #3: Here. Gifts for the King. We bring gold, frankincense and myrrh–the best we can offer.
(Curtain closes. All exit.)
NARRATOR: So there were many gifts given that first Christmas. Most importantly, God gave us His Son. Then the angels gave their song of praise. The shepherds gave their witness. The Wise-men spent many months traveling to bring Him costly presents. Mary gave up her reputation, for not everyone believed that Jesus was God’s Son. And Joseph gave up his ambitions as they moved to Egypt and back, protecting the Holy Child. Mary and Joseph both invested a major portion of their lives in Him, assuming the awesome responsibility of taking care of the child Jesus as He grew and learned and became a man. What will you give Jesus this Christmas? Remember It is His birthday.
(All people from Scene 2 gather on stage and sing “What Shall
I Give Him?’)
NARRATOR: This year Jesus wants a special gift for His birthday. He wants your heart. First He wants your heart in salvation. Really, Christ’s birth in the stable is only the beginning of the Christmas story. The baby Jesus grew to be a man. Ho died for our sins, and rose again in victory over sin and death. God gave His Son to us so that we would believe in Him and be saved from our sin. Have you given your heart to God?
Then God wants us to give Him our hearts for service. Perhaps you’ve asked Christ to come into your heart, but you’re not serving Him with your whole heart. We can show our love for God by showing our love for other people. How pleased God would be if we would all give Him hearts full of service.
This year, when you’re buying perfume for Aunt Margaret and socks for Uncle George, don’t forget that Jesus wants your heart and it is His birthday.
Setting: The Abercrombie family enters and each takes his place in the living room as in Scene1I.
STEVE: Well, the Christmas play is over for another year. It went very well, didn’t you think Jennifer?
JENNIFER: Yes. The children all did very well; though I do wish you could have stood still, Emily.
EMILY: It was so hot on that stage.
STEVE: You were still cute. You girls really sounded like angels singing.
RYAN: Who, Emily? Sing like an angel?
RYAN: Angela doesn’t know how to hold a baby either. I bet even baby Jesus would have cried if Mary would have picked Him up by His feet.
STEVE: Now Ryan, your sisters did an excellent job. I thought the program was quite touching, myself. It had such a good lesson to it, that we should give Christ something at Christmas, since it is His birthday. Don’t you think that was good, Jennifer?
JENNIFER (hesitating): Yes … though perhaps not very practical.
It’s all very fine to talk about giving God our hearts. But when we come down to it, God has everything He needs. He doesn’t really need any gifts.
ANGELA: I asked Mrs. Parker about that. She said we give to God when we give to each other without expecting anything in return.
EMILY: Mommy, is it all right if I give my dolly to Sarah?
JENNIFER: That doll? But Emily…I don’t understand. You love that doll. We could never buy you another one like it. They don’t make them anymore.
EMILY: I know.
JENNIFER: But you’d miss her if you gave her away.
EMILY: Yes. But Sarah needs her more than I do. I’d miss her, all right, but I suppose God the Father missed His Son when He gave Him to us that first Christmas, too. I want to give my doll to Sarah as my gift to Jesus, this year. May I, Mommy?
JENNIFER (touched): Of course, if you’re sure you want to, dear.
STEVE: You know, Jennifer, I wonder if Mr. Parker still needs a trumpet player for the Christmas cantata. I’d still have a few days to practice.
JENNIFER: But I thought you….
STEVE: The angels gave Christ their song of praise. I guess this could be my gift.
ANGELA: I could try to be friendly to Amy Dexter, that new girl at school. She still doesn’t have any close friends. Maybe that could be my gift to Jesus this year.
RYAN: And I could ask Logan to come to our Christmas cantata. Then maybe I could talk to him about the real meaning of Christmas. I’ve known for a long time that I should share with him.
JENNIFER: Well, it looks like everyone has a gift for the Birthday Child except me. I don’t feel very comfortable about taking care of Sarah Thompson. I’ve never cared for a disabled child before. But I don’t suppose Mrs. Thompson had either when Sarah was born. Maybe I could learn.
STEVE: Now that’s what I call true Christmas giving. If everyone gave gifts like these at Christmas, it would certainly be it season of love and joy and peace…like it’s supposed to be
RYAN: You just like that kind of giving because it’s cheap.
JENNIFER: No, not cheap. It’s usually easier to give of our money than to give of ourselves. But giving of ourselves is more meaningful. God certainly didn’t give a cheap gift when He gave His Son.
STEVE: And after all, isn’t sharing and caring what Christmas is all about? Finally we’re back to the basics in Christmas celebration.
RYAN: Just like the good old days, Dad?
STEVE: Kind of. And yet in all the years I’ve celebrated Christmas, this is the first year I’ve even considered what I should give Christ. You know, these modern Christmases may not be so bad after all.