I have started a series of dramatic readings for Christmas intended to be acted/dramatically read to children. We are using them during Advent/Christmas/After Advent Ordinary Time 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 young Jesus' story:
I remember when my family first came here. I know that I was only two or three years old, but it was so much fun that I'll never forget it! Oh, wait…you don't know where I am or who I am!! My name is Jesus and I'm about six years old. My family…my mom Mary and my dad Joseph…live in Egypt.
When I was little, I'm big now! I am starting school. Anyway, when I was little, I was at home playing and these people came and visited our house. They were wondrous! They had massive cloaks, camels, and a huge caravan. And there was this little girl I kept seeing spy on me. She was so funny. They came to our house and gave me presents! I couldn't believe that I was receiving presents. You see, my family was poor. My mom tells me that when I was presented at the Temple, we were so poor that they had to make an offering of a pair of pigeons. They couldn't afford a lamb. Just the pigeons. It was a sacrifice that my parents were happy to make because they loved going to Temple.
Wait…what was I telling you? Oh yeah! These really impressive people came to see me and give me presents. They gave me, let's see, m.m.m..mirth? no, myrhh? Myrrh! Blech. That is like medicine. It helps heal people. I thought they were a little crazy. They also gave me frank..frank..in..cense. Frankincense. Another yucky, smelly thing. People use frankincense to pray with. The smoke of frankincense during prayer time lifts your prayers and takes them straight to God!! And also they gave me Gold. At least gold is shiny and pretty to look at. And my family could use it. Gold is a gift that is fit for a king! Ta-da! So those people, they called themselves magi, gave me these weird gifts and then they left.
After they left, my parents came and started packing all of our stuff up. They told me that an angel had come and said they must leave and go to Egypt. I know the angel came because I saw him. I see all the angels. About packing, luckily that was not very hard because we didn't have a lot of stuff. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh were helpful because we needed to travel far away, my parents said. They told me to put together a bag of my favorite toys. So I packed up my favorite ball and my favorite stuffed animal. Do you have a favorite stuffie? I do! Mine is a lion. I make mine growl and call him the Lion of Judah. Growwl.
We packed our stuff and loaded the donkey up and started walking. Oh. my. I could not believe my mom and dad wanted me to walk. We walked and walked and walked. And I was so tired and my feet hurt so bad, I burst into tears. My mommy came and picked me up and carried me a little ways. I think I fell asleep on her shoulder for a little while. When I woke up, my daddy was carrying me! I could not believe that we were still walking. And let me tell you. It was boring. I looked right and saw desert mountains and looked left and saw desert mountains. It was all I could see hills and brown and little patches of green that all blended together. Bleh. Have you ever been so bored?
We walked and walked for days! My dad told me we walked about 265 miles. We walked for seven days according to my dad. My dad is smart and big and strong! Finally, we got to Egypt. After crossing into Egypt, my mom and dad found a little place that we could stay at. I was so happy to not be walking any more. I just went and sat down. Whew! I sat outside the motel and played with my ball. And just between you and me, I don't know why my parents let me pack my ball for the trip because they wouldn't let me play with it at all during the traveling. *roll eyes*
I sat down and bounced my ball against the wall, just listening to all the strange sounds and watching the strange new things I was seeing. When I looked around I could see pyramids in the background. They were so big that their tall points could be seen from almost anywhere! And people were dressed differently and some of them wore make-up. And there were these little animals the made meow sounds that I have never seen before! They were so friendly, but they totally freaked my mom out. She thought they were like rats, but real big. I found out they liked to be with people. People also talked funny. I couldn't understand anybody. And there was weird writing on walls that looked like little pictures. Mommy says they are called, uh, hyro-pictures? no. heiroglyphics. that's it.
Daddy got a job here as a carpenter. He's lucky to have a job that can be done anywhere. We moved into our own house. After we moved in, we looked for a place that we could go and worship Abba God. My mom and dad took me to Temple in Egypt and there was nothing that was supposed to be in Temple! They had little statues of funny little beings. I asked my new friend, Akhom, what the statues were. He told me that they were the Egyptian Gods. Weird. I can't understand how a thing made of rock can be a God! And especially when I know that there is only one God and that is Abba God. Abba is another word for daddy. So really, I have two daddys! My daddy here and my daddy, God. They both love me. I wonder how something made of stone could love me like Abba God loves me. It can't be possible.
After Akhom told me what these statues were, and I didn't believe him, I kept my eyes on them. I wanted to see if they would do something like Abba God does. They never did anything. One day, I snuck into the Temple in Egypt just to see if I could catch the little statues, idols really, by surprise. And you know what? They were doing the same thing they always do. And that is nothing. Nothing at all. Then something bad happened. Don't tell my mom. I tripped and when I did, I landed splat on top of the statues. All the statues shattered. Now some people think that the statues shattered because I was there, but we won't tell anybody, will we! Who knows, maybe an angel tripped me so that I would shatter the statues. Ha ha! You should have seen Akhom's face when I told him what happened. He thought I was going to get into soooooo much trouble. But my mom and dad weren't really bothered. They just said that it was too bad, but since they weren't really anything but rock, there was no harm done. Did I tell you my parents are awesome? They are. And you know what they told me today? We are going home. I hardly remember what home is like. I can't wait until we get back to Nazareth. In Galilee.
For information on the Infant Gospel Apocrypha, go here: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2003/11/Toddler-Jesus-Topples-Egyptian-Idols.aspx
And now Jesus' story in story format…
One day, right after the Magi visited the home of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that it was going to be very dangerous to stay where they were living. The angel told Joseph that he should gather up his family and run away to Egypt. What Joseph didn’t know what that King Herod was very jealous. And when King Herod heard that there was an infant born who was going to be king, he flipped out! He ordered the death of all Jewish children that were two years old and younger. It was a very horrible time.
Joseph and Mary gathered the presents that the Magi left for Jesus. They left gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is a precious gift that was given to kings. Frankincense was often used as incense and was thought to carry people’s prayers to heaven. Myrrh was used to heal people sometimes and sometimes. Gold was a precious gift that only kings received. These were all perfect presents for Jesus and for a family about to travel far away. I bet Mary and Joseph were happy to have their prayers carried close to God!
Joseph packed up his family and fled to Egypt. From Bethlehem to Egypt is about 260 miles. If you walked 3 miles per hour, 12 hours a day, it would take about 7 days to get to Egypt. That is a lot of walking! And Mary, Joseph, and Jesus had to carry all their stuff with them.
They travelled to Egypt and lived there happily.
They stayed there until another angel appeared to Joseph and told him it was safe to return home. It was safe because King Herod had died and couldn’t hurt them any more.
On their way home, Joseph heard that Archelaus was the new king. Archelaus wasn’t a really nice guy either so Joseph became afraid. It turns out that Joseph was right to be afraid. Another angel appeared to Joseph! This angel said that Joseph should take his family to Nazareth in Galilee rather than to go back to Bethlehem. So Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Galilee and made a home there. And you know what? All this just proved the prophet’s sayings that “Out of Egypt I will call my son” and “He will be called a Nazorean.”