Home A Live Nativity: What Are They Thinking?

A Live Nativity: What Are They Thinking?

Ever set up a nativity and wondered what each of the characters were thinking? What experiences they carried to the manger? What their day looked like that lead them to all be in the same place, gazing at this newborn? The wise men don’t get there until Epiphany remember!

This script is meant to help youth consider what each character present at the nativity is thinking while they gaze at the child, together in the stable.

You Will Need: People to perform as a live nativity, simple stage. Costumes and manger optional.

Reader reads Luke 2:1‐7*

In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

CAROL #245 The First Noel (Verses 1 and 2

Stable Keeper and Inn Keeper enter.

Living Nativity enter: Jesus, Mary & Joseph. Donkey, Shepherd, Sheep, and Dog. Angel.


Angel (Gabriel) reads Isaiah 9:2, 67*

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.

A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be vast authority and endless peace
for David’s throne and for his kingdom,
establishing and sustaining it
with justice and righteousness
now and forever.

Angel – Hello-ooooo! Can you see me out there? I worked on shining my wings for hours just to look good for you! Itʼs me- the Angel Gabriel! You know, this whole Christmas story really started with me. Well, with me and God of course. You know I was nervous about the whole thing? Yeah, thatʼs right... nervous! I mean the news I had to give to Mary and Joseph was so big! I mean world-changing! God says, ʻHey Gabrielʼ (thatʼs me) ʻI am giving the biggest gift I can think of to all my children who live on the Earth. My son. He will be born soon to Mary, a young woman who I know is strong enough to raise this baby. It is your job to go and tell her that she will have a baby, and he will be very important for the whole world.ʼ Now I take my job really seriously, so I flew right on down to find Mary and tell her about Godʼs special gift. Surprises donʼt get much bigger than this one, do they? Mary looked excited, oh and surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I think I was more nervous about the whole thing than she was! Just looking deep into her eyes, I could tell she was going to be a great mommy for Godʼs son...

Mary – Oh, itʼs so warm here! Do you recognize me holding my baby? Itʼs me, Mary! I know youʼve heard my story before. You have seen me sitting here in the stable with my beautiful baby boy, Jesus. Youʼve probably even heard about the angel I spoke with, who told me about my baby. But I bet nobody has told you how difficult the journey was. We got the news that the Romans wanted to count us! They wanted to see how many Hebrews there were, so they could figure out how much to tax our people. We traveled from our comfortable home in Nazareth to the home of Josephʼs family, the little town of Bethlehem. When the angel told me I would have a baby, the angel somehow forgot to tell me I would also be traveling 80 miles on the back of a donkey!!! We traveled day and night; my back got so sore - I got really bad headaches too. But I stayed strong because I knew what I was doing was very important. The best part of the journey was the time Joseph and I spent sharing stories. The world seemed so much simpler when we were children. I can barely remember all the stories we told each other as we traveled beneath the desert sun and the bright night-time stars. I want to make sure my baby Jesus grows up to know our stories. I hope the world can be a simple place for Him as He grows up...

Donkey – Iʼm pretty sure I am the biggest animal in this stable right now, but Iʼm so happy we have a place to rest. I am one big, tired donkey! If Mary thought the journey was hard on her, think about me! 80 miles walking through the desert, with no shoes on my hooves... Not only was I carrying her and her baby, but I was also carrying all the luggage! It seemed like we were in such a hurry, I guess they didnʼt want the baby to be born in the middle of nowhere. By the end of a week of walking in the hot sun I was so ready just to find a nice pile of straw, fall over, and snore, snore, snore! Thatʼs something simple right? Just a big soft bed for me and my aching hooves. There was this amazing star that was just so bright I couldnʼt help but follow it. It lead me right to that pile of straw that I had been dreaming about. You know, I bet this happens every time you are lucky enough to help carry a king!

Joseph - I simply wanted to find our family a place to stop, and rest, and have a warm place to welcome my child into this cold, cold world. And finally, here I am sitting next to my wife and baby, my name is Joseph. I love my wife Mary for being so strong. We crossed the wilderness of Samaria. We gazed upon many mountains and valleys, heading south, past the Holy City - Jerusalem, all to go home. Getting home should be such a simple journey, but as we crested the final hill to gaze down into Bethlehem, I saw a town over-flowing with people. People just like us, who needed to get back home so we could be counted. We entered the city, and I could tell Mary was getting close to having the baby, so I ran to several inns where I knew the owners. I checked every place in town, nobody had room for us. I was starting to dread the thought of starting our family outside in the cold in an alley or street. Just as I was giving up hope, an inn-keeper called to us from an open window. He told us he had somewhere warm to stay...

Inn Owner – Can you spot me? I am person who owns this inn and this stable. When I realized that the baby in the stable was Jesus, I put on my special purple bandana! Well I couldnʼt just let them shiver in the street! I saw the mother, late with child, struggling to breathe while her husband ran desperately from inn to inn looking for a place to stay. Even though I was out of rooms, something tugged at my heart for this couple... I knew I had some room in my simple stable. The extra warmth from the animals inside my stable would help keep them warm through the silent night ahead. Itʼs funny, but once I got them settled, I had the strangest sense of warmth myself. Maybe itʼs just because I was nice to them, but it was almost like a candle had been lit inside my heart...

Shepherd – I have walked long and far today, my robes are even brown from all the dust I kicked up with my feet. I am a shepherd. Have you ever just felt pulled to a place? Normally, we push and pull sheep where we want them to go, but tonight, we were the ones getting pulled. Well, here we are guarding our sheep from the wolves, and this light bursts out of nowhere and turns the darkness into daytime! (I know, right?!) We hear this loud voice, and it tells us that God has come to walk among us (I know, right?!). That a savior has been born to us. A savior, born just for us! He was even supposed to be some sort of shepherd himself one day. (I know right?!) You hear that kind of exciting news, and you bet we hurried into town to find this Immanuel. So we find this baby lying in a manger inside this stable. Not really where youʼd expect to find a baby right? But heʼs just lying there, not crying, not scaring the animals, just lying there like a little prince of peace. (I know, right?!)

Sheep Dog – So, I donʼt know if you can see me because I am smaller than the donkey, but I have way more fur! My name is Bongo, and I am a sheepdog! I help the shepherds keep track of their flocks by night! That little boy just makes me wag my tail. I usually end up running around all night long, chasing lost sheep. But I came with my shepherd friends to find this baby, and he is just the cutest thing! I want to bury my cold, wet nose in his armpit, heʼs so cute. Squirrel! Wait, are there squirrels in Bethlehem? Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah! He smells like all my favorite foods at once! Ah, if I could just be close to him, I know Iʼd never go hungry.

Sheep – Focus on the back of the stable please! You might not recognize me without my sunglasses, but I am a wooly wooly sheep! We really do feel at home here, even with all these strangers around. Usually us sheep will follow wherever weʼre lead by the shepherds... but donʼt forget we do important things too! Weʼre not just the singing talent! Yup, you just wouldnʼt believe everything you can make out of our wool. Yarn, string, carpets, suits, clothes, socks, sweaters, shoes, toothbrushes (toothbrushes?) Ok, not really toothbrushes, but boots, pillowcases, hats, mittens, even baby blankets (awwwwww). People can make the warmest stuff out of our wool! Yes indeedy, we are more than happy just to settle in and help keep this baby warm wherever he goes!

Stable Keeper - I know you donʼt see me in the Nativity scenes much. I usually have a very lonely job. Just me and the sheep and the cows and the dogs. I mostly keep to myself, Iʼm really kind of shy. Even now Iʼm hiding here in the window behind Mary. I am the stable keeper, and it is my job to keep this stable clean and all of the animals inside of the stable very happy.

People donʼt stop to talk to me often. But hey, if you spent your life cleaning up after animals, people might not talk to you as often either! Since I am so shy, I didnʼt even hear my boss offer the stable to Mary and Joseph. In fact, I was just finishing my chores for the night when they came inside. They scared me so much, I nearly jumped out of my boots! I scrambled quickly to hide behind a wall and find out who these strangers were. I donʼt think they even heard me, they were moving really fast to get Mary comfortable so she could have the baby... I know they look all calm and collected now, but believe me, a little while ago it was crazy up in here! Iʼve seen plenty of baby lambs, and tiny baby calves, even baby camels - but I had never seen a baby person this close before. I didnʼt want to scare them, so I waited until the baby got wrapped up in swaddling clothes and asleep before I came out and asked if I could get them anything. Oh, the baby just looked so small and fragile, I wanted to reach out and touch him, but I was afraid. His mom said it was ok, dad said so too. So I reached out my pointer finger and brushed the back of his soft baby hand, and just as I did his hand clenched around my finger. I felt like I should be holding him, but he was holding me. It felt like that moment lasted forever and a day. After I had brought Joseph and Mary and all the shepherds warm things to drink, Joseph told about what an angel had told them about this babyʼs life. They told me his name was Jesus. Iʼm going to remember that baby for a long, long time. I am so lucky that they came to my stable. Iʼm so lucky the baby Jesus held my hand. Even though you donʼt hear about me too much, I am so lucky I got to be there for the first Christmas...

Angel – You can still see my wings, right? Just look at that perfect picture of the place where Jesus was born... You could almost put it on a Christmas Card! And the characters that make up this simple scene all will help the world understand who the baby Jesus is and will be...The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Discussion Questions:

  • What character most surprised you in this presentation?
  • What other unexpected characters, or less famous characters are present at the births od newborns today?
  • Which character did you resonate with the most? The least?
  • If you were in the place where Jesus was born, what would be going through your mind?
  • What experiences are you bringing into Christmas that changes how you feel about the holiday?
  • If you had been in the place where Jesus was born, what would you have said to the baby? To Mary? Joseph? Any of the others?

*All scriptures are from the CEB, 2011