Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Beginnings -- A Pageant Service (comments welcome)

Speaking Parts:
Betty: older woman, recently widowed and alone for Christmas (this part could easily be changed into a male role with a few re-writes)
Miriam: single mother, currently staying at a shelter

Setting: Church, day of the Annual Christmas Pageant

Welcome & Announcements (narrator)

Opening Carol: Children Run Joyfully {during this carol Betty and Miriam enter and take seats on opposite sides of the Chancel}

Betty: I do love Christmas. And this is one of my favourite Sundays of the year. Seeing all the little ones dressed up like shepherds and angels, it reminds me of when my children and grandchildren were that age. And now the great-grands are getting there too... I wish they were here this year [sighs]. Maybe I should have gone to spend December in Edmonton like Sam asked me too. But Christmas just isn't Christmas anywhere else. Of course it doesn't really feel like Christmas without John either. I miss him so much. But I need to do this first Christmas alone, I need to be alone with my memories and my tears...

Miriam: Why am I here? I just don't feel comfortable. All these people in their nice clothes and I am lucky to have found some clean jeans without holes in them. Everything has gone wrong since we moved to the shelter. Not that there was much choice I guess – it was either the shelter or sleep in the car. Still, here I am with nothing. If Julia hadn't volunteered to be Mary this year I doubt I would have come. I hate Christmas. It just reminds me how I've failed my kids. But Julia wanted me to come so here I am...

Call to Worship/Opening Prayer (narrator)
Why are we here today?
We are here because God has brought us together to tell the old story again.
It is a story of hope, a story of life.
And yet there is a shadow of fear, of uncertainty.
As we tell the story again,
may God open our eyes to what is being born to us today.
As we fill our hearts with the hope of a baby in a manger,
may God enable us to share the angel song with the world around us.
We pray in the name of the child whose birth is imminent, and who later taught his friends to pray saying...
Lord's Prayer

Carol O Come O Come Emmanuel (verses 1, 4, 7)

Miriam: God, help me make it through Christmas this year. Help me find a way to give Julia something. Help me find a way to celebrate even though my life has fallen apart. I've made so many mistakes in my life. I don't know where to go next. I don't know where I'll be welcomed. God help me find some hope in the world somewhere!

Advent Candles

Betty: God, for 55 years I had someone at my side on Christmas Eve. This year he is gone. God I love and miss him so much. This Christmas I know I need a new start. God help me re-learn how to live without him. God, with your help I know that the Christmas star can still shine brightly in my heart. Please lead me to its light. Amen.


Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-38

Miriam: Now that is a good way out. I wonder if that line would have worked when I got pregnant with Julia? Maybe then my parents wouldn't have thrown me out. Still, Mary must have been just as scared as I was. Pregnant but not yet married. But she was lucky. She had people who supported her. I got trapped into a bad marriage just to stay off the street. Julia is the best thing that has happened to me, but sometimes I wish it had happened later, or that I could have offered her a better life. She deserves it.

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7

Carol: O Little Town of Bethlehem verses 1-3 {Mary & Joseph enter}

Betty: How must that have felt? I can guess. When Sam was born we had nothing, less than nothing in fact. If John hadn't gotten that factory job I don't know what we would have done. But it really didn't matter. As soon as I saw that little boy I knew I was going to be alright. I am guessing Mary must have felt the same way. And I still feel that when I see a new baby. There is just something about babies that gives me a sense of hope.

Carol: Away in a Manger {Angel Choir enters}

Miriam: Huh! Angels choirs singing lullabies? That would have been helpful lots of times. Both for me and for Julia. I remember being so scared. And so alone of course. But at least I had a hospital, not a cowshed. Still, I bet Mary wondered what was going to happen next, what the future would be like. I know I did. I still do. How will we get out of the shelter, where do we find a new start?

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-15

Carol: Angels We Have Heard on High verses 1-3 {Shepherd Enter}

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

Carol: What Child is This? verses 1&3 {Magi Enter}

Betty: And there we go. Baby and angels, shepherds and kings. Look at them all up there. It really makes me remember so many other pageants I have seen. All those times John and I watched our family wearing those costumes. And now I've watched the first one without him. It just wasn't the same. But it is the reality now. Life will never be the same. I just have to live with it
{Stable Scene Exits}

Miriam: Oh Good! They are leaving, it must be done. But of course it is done, the story is over. Now what else is left before I can get out of here and away from this group of people who must wonder what I am doing here. (looks at bulletin) Offering! Crap! I forgot to bring anything for the offering. Not that I have anything to give of course. Still, it would be nice to share a little with others. Even just these little coins I guess...

Offering Invitation (narrator)
Carol: Little Drummer Boy {offerings and White Gifts brought forward}
Offering PrayerChristmas is a season of giving and gifts.
And God now we offer our gifts to you and your world.
May the little bits we have to offer,
be tokens of love for a world in need. Amen.

[Betty & Miriam turn and face each other]
Betty: Hello Miriam. I am glad to see you made it today. That was your daughter playing Mary wasn't it?

Miriam: Yes, Julia insisted she had to come, and that I had to come see her. I t was good, but I still don't feel comfortable here.

Betty: I know dear, but just keep trying, it will start to feel like home eventually. (pauses) Miriam, what are you doing for Christmas? I can't imagine that they can do much at the place you are staying.

Miriam: The shelter? I really don't know what they do for Christmas. And I don't know what Julia and I will do. I've been so busy trying to hold life together I haven't had time to think about Christmas.

Betty: Why don't you spend it with me. The house feels so empty these days. And Christmas should be spent with others. I was going to spend it alone with my memories but now I think this would be better. If I have to start a new life someday what better time than Christmas?

Miriam: Are you sure? I don't want to intrude...

Betty: Quite sure. You and Julia are more than welcome. You know, I have been thinking about you a lot these last few weeks. Nobody should spend Christmas alone. And nobody should have to live in a shelter. After New Years, if you want, I'll help any way I can to get you settled again.

Miriam: I'll have to think about that. But yeah, Julia and I would love to spend Christmas anywhere besides the shelter. I mean the people there are nice and its warm just isn't like home. Thanks Betty.

Betty: No no thank you dear. You have given me a Christmas I didn't think I could have this year.
[they both stand up and leave together]

Commissioning (narrator)
The old story has been told, the carols have been sung.
And we go back out into a world of birth and life and death
But now we can go with the song of hope ringing in our heart,
now we go out ready to remind the world that new beginnings are possible.
And as we go we do not go alone.
No, we walk together with all people whose hearts ring with the songs of hope.
And may God, made known in a tiny baby in a stable, go with us through all the seasons of our lives.

Carol: Go Tell It on the Mountain

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