Thursday, August 5

Christmas through the Eyes of Herod’s Little Sister

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 story of the Magi as told through the eyes of Herod's little sister

Before beginning, get the church calendar out. Remind the children that we are in the time of Christmas still and that Friday is Epiphany. Epiphany is the day that Jesus is revealed to the world as the Messiah by the Magi. Then begin the script.

Boy has it been busy around here! Let me tell you what has been happening.

My brother, Herod, the King of the Jews, is a little bit of a tyrant. Do you know what a tyrant is? It is somebody who bosses people around a lot. Well, Herod was sitting around the royal grounds and he called in his royal advisors. He was always bringing them in. He wanted to make sure that everybody in the kingdom was doing the right thing. Because if he got in trouble with Rome, well, boy howdy! They were mean people if things don't go correctly!

Anyway, Herod heard from his advisors that there were travelling dignitaries coming near town. And that these dignitaries were seeking the King of the Jews. That's Herod! He is the King of the Jews!

So, Herod invited the travelling dignitaries to the palace. It was grand fun! Have you ever gotten ready for a big party? We made preparations of décor and food. The finest of everything for these visitors! I was at the top of a tower looking out waiting for their arrival. I finally saw them! It was awesome because I hardly ever get to see people from other lands. I could see the dust cloud miles away and as it got closer and closer, I could make out more of the details. It was a caravan of wonder. They were so colorful and travelling on donkeys and camels. They had cooks and servants with them. And one very special wagon that looked like it held treasure. I was fascinated.

They finally got to the palace. Herod had the royal trumpeters there and they played their trumpets all together…duh duh duh duuuuh…and said, "Announcing the arrival of the gentlemen from Persia." Then, Herod sent out his secretary to greet the visitors and take them into the royal hall where Herod was sitting on his throne. Herod was dressed in his finest purple robe and looking very kingly. Well, after all he is the King of the Jews!

Herod greeted the men and asked them what their business was in the area. They said, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him respect."

Herod's face turned so purple that it matched his robe! You see, Herod is the King of the Jews and there has been no child. So this means someone is committing treason!! Do you know what treason is? It is committing a crime against the entire nation! If Herod doesn't put an end to it, Rome might put an end to him!

Well, Herod quickly sucked in his breath and calmed down. I have never seen him so calm. Scary calm! Then he turned to his advisors and he bellowed, "Get me the Chief Priests and Scribes! I need to know what is going on!" He yelled it out so loud that my ears are still ringing a little bit!

He then asked them, "Where is the Messiah going to be born?"

They told him, "Bethlehem." So Herod told the visiting dignitaries to travel to Bethlehem. And said, "when you find him, will you come back and tell me so I can pay my respects?"

I was trying to figure out what Herod was up to! I know he didn't want to pay respect to ANYBODY!!

That's when things got really interesting. I ran downstairs and hid away in one of the wagons in the caravan of the travelers. I was determined to find out what was really going on. Plus Herod is a pain. He's my brother, but I still think he is a pain. He doesn't let me do anything!

So, I hid away until we were two days away from my home. Then I came out. Boy, you should've seen the look on the traveler's faces! I still laugh thinking about it. I tricked those people who thought they were so smart.

They decided that I would be safest travelling with them and that they would find a way for me to go home after they were done with their quest. That was good news for me!

I asked them what they were doing. They told me that they were magi—that is an educated person. Magi are people who study prophecy and the stars in order to help them live in a better way. Like studying all the prophecy and the stars in order to find the King of the Jews. They told me that they were following a star in the sky in order to find the Messiah, the King of the Jews. It was fascinating! And they were so smart. But, I still did manage to trick them into taking me with them!

Anyway, we resumed the travelling and eventually, we got to a small house in Bethlehem. It seemed very ordinary to me. After all, I am a princess. I'm used to jewels and silk and all kinds of comfortable things. But this house had just dirt and bare floors. But there was something about it. Almost like a holy presence. You could feel it before you even went in.

The Magi went up to the house and announced their presence. They told the woman, I think her name was Mary, that they were seeking the King of the Jews. Mary looked startled! I bet you can imagine what it would be like to be in an ordinary house and have a caravan of travelling dignitaries and wise men and women arrive at your house! That would be beyond weird.

While they were talking, getting all the adult stuff taken care of, I slipped away and ran around into the back of the house. I was curious. Who would this King of the Jews be? Then I saw a little boy. He was maybe two or three years old. He was bending over playing with a little sparrow on the ground. It was almost as if they were talking. I just stayed back, watching him. Then I realized that the bird was injured. The little boy just held the bird and then it flew away. I was amazed! Surely, this must be who they were talking of!

Then Mary came around the corner and I was caught! She just laid her hand on my shoulder…so gently…I can still remember it. And she showed the Magi her son. I think his name was Jesus. Yes, that's it. Jesus. The Magi peered in. Then they went in and said hello to him. It was really funny. After all, Jesus was just a little kid and here were all these grown-ups in fantastic robes from foreign lands coming in and talking to him! He just looked up at them with serious eyes. Almost like he knew what they were there for.

Then, the Magi gave him some presents that were boring presents for a little boy. Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold. Crazy. What is he going to do with that stuff? His mom took the presents and said she would store them away for when Jesus was older. Then the Magi bowed to Jesus! Can you imagine? A grown bowing to a little boy? When they were done, they went back into the front of the house and had dinner with the mom, Mary and her husband, umm, Joseph—yes, that's his name.

During dinner, they told Mary and Joseph about meeting Herod. Now, I happen to think that Herod is kind of a pain because he is my brother, but the Magi seemed to think that Herod would try and do something to Jesus. They said that an angel had come to them in a dream and warned them not to go back home the same way they came here. They were supposed to avoid Herod. Uh-oh! How am I going to get back home?

After dinner, the Magi packed up and started to leave. Then, one of them looked at me and remembered that I was there. He arched his eyebrow and said, "and what are we to do with you?" He called over the other Magi and they chatted. All the time, I was so worried about what to do. I love the adventure of travelling, but going home to a warm bath would be awesome! They decided that they would pay Joseph's brother to travel with me back to Herod's palace. He would then drop me off right outside the palace and I would sneak in. Seemed like a good plan to me!! I asked them to wait just one minute. I ran back inside the house and found where Jesus was sleeping (after all, it was late by then). I just had to see him one more time. I reached out and touched his little cheek. He looked so happy and peaceful. It filled my heart.

Now, I was ready to go home.

(c) 2011, Terri Stewart


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