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Good news!

To present the good news of Christmas in modern current affairs format.

by Jennifer Mayhew

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To present the good news of Christmas in modern current affairs format.

Preparation and materials

  • Read the script through thoroughly and prepare the various elements you need.

  • You might like to dress up the narrator as a news reporter, and mock up a studio set.
  • You need to prepare some children to be the characters and readers.
  • You will need a candle for the Time for reflection.

Assembly

  1. Narrator:  The time leading up to Christmas is a busy one, and sometimes we can forget what the message of good news it brings. We would like you to imagine that this good news event is being broadcast to you today, live!
  2. Bible reading: Luke 1.36.
  3. Narrator:  Our report, and the beginning of Christianity, is set in Nazareth. In the town, Jewish families were living under Roman occupation. These families had become poor due to King Herod the Great’s heavy taxes. Nearly all the money the Jews earned went to Herod and the Romans so that they could afford new weapons and lovely food and clothes. Things don’t change much, do they!

    In the town lived a very religious Jewish family: Joachim (pronounced Joerkim), Anne and their daughter Mary. Unfortunately Joachim died and left Anne and Mary alone.

    When Mary was about 14 years old she became engaged to Joseph, a talented carpenter. This may appear young to us, but it was quite common for girls as young as 12 or 13 to be engaged at that time.
  4. News desk:  We begin our report with the news of wedding preparations that are under way for Mary and Joseph who are pledged to be married. Tonight, however, Mary was woken from a deep sleep by a gentle voice.

    According to the reports, Mary looked up from her bed of straw and saw a bright, glowing ray of light which gleamed and glistened in the dark. Our cameras were able to catch the conversation between the angel and Mary.

    (Camera operator and sound engineer enter. Mary enters the stage, along with the angel Gabriel.)

    Mary
    (looking frightened): Who are you? Why have you come?

    Angel:  I am calling you. You are the chosen one, you are to have God’s little son. You shall call him Jesus.  It will not be easy for you, but you have been chosen because you are special. You are to teach him so that others may learn from him.

    News desk: The light then disappeared and Mary found it difficult to sleep. Our reporter managed to ask a few questions.

    Reporter 1:  Mary, can you explain what just happened?

    Mary:  I’m not too sure. I am beginning to wonder if it was a dream. I am not sure who he was and what he meant. I cannot have a child, it would be impossible.

    Reporter 1:  What will Joseph say?

    Mary:  Good question. This could be the end of me even getting married!

    Reporter 1:  You must be tired now; I’ll let you get some sleep.

    News desk:  Joseph was older and wiser than Mary. When she told him what had happened, he understood that the child Mary was to have would be God’s son and that his name should be called Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins. Joseph realized that he was meant to bring this child up as his own. He would teach him his family trade of carpentry.

    Joseph:  Mary, God has sent us this message and we are to take it seriously. I will teach him how to be a carpenter.
  5. News desk: You may remember a few months ago we brought you an amazing story about Mary and the visit she received from an angel. Well, we are pleased to inform you that Mary is indeed expecting a baby as the angel said.

    We interrupt this story with an order from Rome. All people are to pay increased taxes to the Romans and complete a census in the town of their birth.

    Returning to our previous story. We go straight to Mary and Joseph for their thoughts on this order from Rome.

    (Mary and Joseph on stage with reporter and camera.)

    Reporter 2:  Joseph, what does this mean to you? Where will you have to travel to register yourselves?

    Joseph:  I am a descendent of King David, which will mean I have to go to the city of David, now known as Bethlehem.

    Mary:  My dear, we must gather a few things together for the journey. It may take some time, and I will find it difficult as it will soon be time for the birth.

    News desk:  Well, we will leave them to it, and no doubt we will catch up with them in Bethlehem.
  6. Bible reading: Luke 2.4–5.
  7. News desk: This story we have been covering about Mary and Joseph has become quite popular with many viewers calling or following the blog to ask if they have arrived yet. Well, we can tell you that they arrived half an hour ago.

    (Mary and Joseph on stage with reporter and camera.)

    Reporter 3:  As you can see, Joseph and Mary have just entered the town. It is very busy. With everyone having arrived either yesterday or this morning to be registered, they may have a few problems finding somewhere to stay.

    (Families enter the stage, greeting each other happily as they have not seen each other for a long time.)

    Reporter 3:  Mary, you look exhausted, if I may say so. You should both look for somewhere to stay. Good luck. You may have trouble finding any room though.

    Mary:  Yes. Joseph, he is right. I am exhausted. I need to rest. I don’t think it will be long before this little one makes an entrance.

    Joseph:  OK. Let’s try down here. There are a few inns and hotels.
  8. News desk: We regret to inform our viewers, but Joseph and Mary were unable to find a room. I am quite concerned for Mary as she is so close to giving birth. Hold on, I’m getting a message in my ear. Let’s quickly go over to Bethlehem for an update.

    Reporter 4:  Yes, thank you. We’ve just seen a girl coming up to Joseph and Mary.

    Girl:  Excuse me. Are you still looking for somewhere to stay? My father has just had a brainwave. He owns the hotel just down the road. He can’t offer you a room, but we do have a shed or a stable that you could use. It’s dry and quite warm and the animals will keep you company.

    Joseph:  What do you think, Mary?

    Mary:  Sounds good to me. I’m not giving birth out here in the street, that’s for sure!

    News desk:  Thank goodness for that. We will catch up with them tomorrow. Hopefully we may have some news of the birth by then.
  9. News desk: Welcome back. Yes, and as promised we have some splendid news. We are happy to announce that Mary has given birth to a baby boy, in that stable. As expected they have called him Jesus. I believe there are already a number of visitors on their way to pass on their congratulations at this unique birth of God’s son.
  10. Bible reading: Luke 2.6–9.
  11. News desk: Last night our crew were able to witness some more amazing events, just outside Bethlehem.

    Reporter 5:  You join us here, on the hills just outside Bethlehem with some shepherds who are in charge of several hundred sheep. These shepherds have particularly sharp eyes for keeping watch over their flocks.

    Shepherd 1:  Hey! Put that bright light out!

    Shepherd 2:  What bright light? I don’t have a torch!

    Shepherd 3
    :  No, you bunch of fools! Look, it’s coming from up there!

    Reporter 5:  You can see they have all frozen, as have I! The light appears to be calling them down into the city.
  12. Bible reading: Matthew 2.1–2.
  13. News desk:  I have further reports that there are other visitors on their way from some distance. Our foreign correspondent has further details.

    Foreign correspondent:  Thank you. Yes, I have news from the East. These men have been studying the stars for many years. They know every inch of the skies, so it was strange when one of them noticed an additional star, that hadn’t been there before. It appeared to be moving.

    Wise man 1:  Do you see this star? It’s not been there before!

    Wise man 2:  Where? Show me.

    Wise man 3:  You know what this means?

    Wise man 1:  No. Do we have to redo all the charts?

    Wise man 2: No! Don’t you remember reading all those old prophecies?

    Wise man 3: That’s right! A light would appear in the sky, announcing the birth of a new King.

    Wise man 1: Do you have a plan then?

    Wise man 2: I guess we follow it. We should pay our respects to the new King.

    Foreign correspondent:  These men gathered some strange and beautiful presents together: gold, myrrh and frankincense. I watched them disappear on their camels following this star which appears to be heading towards Bethlehem.
  14. News desk:  Unfortunately our coverage of this story seems to have given the game away to Herod. He is not at all pleased. Over to our royal correspondent.

    Royal correspondent:  You join us at Herod’s palace just as the three wise men arrive. They have mistakenly assumed the new King was born here at the palace.

    Three wise men:  Great King! Where is the new-born King? We wish to bring gifts.

    Herod: There is no new King here. You must be wrong. Are you sure you have heard right?

    Wise man 2:  We have seen it in the stars.

    Wise man 1: If he is not here, we must continue looking.

    Wise man 3: Thank you for your time.

    Herod:  One moment!

    Royal correspondent:  Oh dear, this could be bad news for them. Death even!

    Herod:  Please, gentlemen. When you do find this new King, come back and tell me so I too may visit him.

    Royal correspondent:  Something’s not right here. He doesn’t want to worship the new King. Look how jealous he is. I bet he wants him dead. I hope someone warns the wise men of his plot.

    News desk: Thankfully the wise man each received a message in a dream telling them not to go back to Herod. Eventually they found where Jesus was, after stopping many people along the way to ask for directions.
  15. Bible reading: Matthew 2.11–12.
  16. Reporter 6 (with crew):  We bring you this tender scene, with the shepherds having left some time ago. Here we see that the wise men have made it to the stable. They have just presented Mary and Joseph with their precious gifts for Jesus. Mary, how do you feel after all these visitors?

    Mary:  It’s been the most wonderful thing in the world. I will treasure these memories for ever.

    Reporter 6:  All of this appears to be too much for Joseph. He’s fast asleep. Mary has begun to sing to the baby Jesus. It looks like he too is asleep. We’ll leave them here to get a good night’s rest.
  17. News desk:  Wisely, Mary and Joseph are packing up their things and are moving out of the stable. They too have heard that Herod is not a happy king, now that he knows there is another. They are off to Egypt where life will be safer for them. We will leave the story here for now. If there are any other amazing revelations we promise to let you know straight away.

Time for reflection

Bring Mary and Joseph and the baby back on stage, and ‘freeze’ them in the centre. Light a candle, and let the audience reflect on the story they’ve just witnessed. While this is happening, the children sing one of their favourite carols.

Prayer

Thank you, God, for Christmas,

For presents, families and fun,

For all that makes Christmas special.

Please be with those who are homeless today.

Who have no food,

Who have lost their families.

Help us to help them in the future.
Amen.

Publication date: December 2009   (Vol.11 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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