I have started a series of dramatic readings for Christmas intended to be acted/dramatically read to children. We are using them during Advent for our God'z Kidz Wednesday night group (Godly Play). I thought having a dress-up box for the kids to play with fits right in with the Godly Play philosophy. So, that's what we're doing! I am also writing a little story book for the kids to take home and read the story in a more traditional manner. If you use these stories, please understand that they are my creative work and I'd like to be credited.
Here is the Christmas story from Grandfather Shepherd:
Hey, you kids. Have I got a story to tell you! You remember who I am? Well, I'm your grandfather! Of course, you remember me. Now, I bet you think that I did the same thing my whole life…farming. But when I was younger, I was actually a shepherd. That's right! I was a shepherd just like King David used to be a shepherd. Too bad I didn't become king like he did!
Anyway, what do you know about shepherds? I think shepherds protect their sheep, they guide the sheep from going into dangerous places, and shepherds find their sheep when they are lost. Oh, and shepherds are with the sheep ALL. THE. TIME. Boy, howdy! That got tiresome! We, me and the other shepherd boys, were with the sheep all the time. We smelled like it too!
So, get this. One night we were lying down to sleep in the field. Yes, we even slept with the sheep. And I have to tell you, I woke up more than one morning with sheep doody on my cloak. Pee-ewe! [ha ha!] Well, this one time, we were settling down, we had cooked a small meal over a fire, and we were kind of lounging in the field watching the flocks snooze, and suddenly! Sha-zam! An angel appeared before us.
Oh, wait, the other shepherds were your Uncle Reuben and your Uncle Nicodemus…
So, this angel just appears! I was terrified. And I'm pretty sure Reuben and Nicodemus squealed in surprise. Angels don't pop up every day. I wasn't even sure it was an angel. It was just a tremendous sight. Beyond my description. Terrifying and beautiful at the same time.
The angel turns to us and says, "Don't be afraid!"
Well, it was too darn late for that! But as the angel talked, we calmed down. Then the angel said, "I am bringing you great news for all the people of the world. Today, in the city of David, (get it…we were shepherds and David, the greatest king of Israel and who the city of David is named for was a shepherd! That's an important connection!).
Gee…your old gramps is getting off track today! The angel said, "in the city of David, a savior is born…the Messiah…the Lord. And you will find him in a manger wrapped up in a mangy old blanket."
And then, when the angel was done telling us that, suddenly a whole bunch of angels started singing together. It was beautiful. Better than any choir I have ever heard. It was like God's blessed choir. Amazing. They sang, "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for all..."
Do you know what we did next? After the angel told us that, we scurried off to Bethlehem, the city of David—where King David was born, and found this baby that the angel told us about. Now, when I first saw the baby, I was like, "hey, let's get over there and look!" But your Uncle Nicodemus wasn't so sure. It was as if he knew there was a miracle happening. Your granddad is a little thick in the head on some days, but Uncle Nico got it right. It was a miraculous thing. And the baby Jesus was beautiful. Just sitting in his presence, with Mary and Joseph, made me feel such a sense of peace and love. I can hardly describe it!
Well, we told Mary and Joseph all about the angels. You could tell Mary was amazed. Then we went back to our sheep. We didn't want anything to happen to them after all! But all the way back to our hillside, we were singing, "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for all."
And now the Christmas Story from the Shepherd's viewpoint as a story:
One night, there were some young shepherds on the hillside watching their sheep. As they were looking around, making sure that no wolves were getting ready to sneak up on the sheep, an angel suddenly appeared!
The shepherds all jumped in fright! The angel had to turn to them and say, “Don’t be afraid!” When the angel started talking, the shepherds became very peaceful because the voice of the angel was so beautiful. The angel must be there to tell them something important!
The angel said, “I am here to bring you great news! Such great news that all the people in the world will be joyful! Today, this very day, in the city of David’s birth, a savior is born. The messiah! The Lord! You should go find him.”
The shepherds didn’t know how they would find him. After all, there was probably more than one baby born on that day. Bethlehem was a pretty big city.
The angel said, “You’ll be able to tell that it is the messiah because he will be in a manger wrapped up in a tight blanket.”
Well, the shepherds thought that was a little weird. After all, a manger is what animals eat their food out of! But, the shepherds decided they were not going to argue with the angel!
After the angel delivered his news, a choir of angels broke out in heaven. It was a beautiful, awesome sound. They sang, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on all the earth.”
After this beautiful music, the shepherds headed out to find the baby that the angel told them about. They went into the town of Bethlehem and sure enough! The city was so crowded that people were camping out on the streets. It makes perfect sense that they’d put a baby wherever there was room, even if it was in a manger.
The shepherds searched, and then they finally found the baby. His name was Jesus. They spent some time with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They told Mary and Joseph all about the angel. Mary, especially, thought the story was amazing. The shepherds felt such love and peace there that they didn't want to leave. But they had to go back to their flocks and continue protecting and guiding their sheep. So they said goodbye to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and sang this song all the way home: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on all the earth.”
To find out more about the story of the shepherds, you can read the Bible! It is in Luke 2:8-20.
(c) 2011, Terri Stewart