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The spider's reward

To enable the children to share with others the story of Christmas.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To enable the children to share with others the story of Christmas.

Preparation and materials

  • Read through the play and decide which of your children are best suited to the various parts. Time will be needed leading up to the performance for the speakers to learn their words and rehearse the actions. Every child in the class can be involved in some way.
  • You will need a white lacy shawl for the spider’s web (place this where the spider can get at it easily); a broom (this can be shared by the innkeeper’s wife and daughter); a lamp for the innkeeper; a doll representing baby Jesus and a crib; a toy lamb; crowns for the kings and gifts for them to carry; a small chair or stool for Mary.
  • Simple white tunics could be worn by the angels with tinsel headdresses for haloes. Dressing gowns make simple costumes for the shepherds; striped tea towels held on with plaited tights make excellent headbands. Curtains make good cloaks for the kings. The spider can be dressed in brown tights and sweater; extra legs can be made from stuffed stocking legs sewn on to the sweater.
  • Placing on stage is important, so do consider how everyone can be seen and heard.
  • The scene is the entrance to an inn with a nearby stable (backdrop optional).
  • An alternative for the spider is to have two children acting together, so creating the extra legs!
  • See our resources section for more on using drama in assemblies.

Assembly

Narrator 1:  Come and join us in a Christmas story. It took place over two thousand years ago.

Narrator 2:  A spider is busy spinning a web in the doorway of an inn. The innkeeper’s daughter is sweeping the floor. She sees the spider and says:

Innkeeper’s daughter:  Ugh! A spider! Shoo, you ugly creature! (She chases the spider away with her broom.)

Narrator 3:  She knocks down the web and the spider scuttles away.

(Spider goes to the edge of stage. Exit the innkeeper’s daughter.)

Spider:  I wonder if I really am ugly? No one seems to like my beautiful webs, or me.

Choral speaking group:  See the spider on the wall, he seems to have no friends at all.

Narrator 4:  Soon afterwards, along comes the innkeeper’s wife with her broom. She sees the spider and says:

Innkeeper’s wife:  Oh, look at all these cobwebs! I can’t stand spiders with their horrible hairy bodies and legs. Go away! Shoo! (She waves her broom as the spider scuttles to the other side of the stage.)

Spider:  Nobody wants me. I will spin a web in the stable. At least I can be useful and keep the flies off the animals.

Choral speaking group:  See the spider on the wall, he seems to have no friends at all.

Narrator 4:  In the night some strangers come.

(Enter Innkeeper with lamp, followed by Mary and Joseph.)

Innkeeper:  Here you are. It’s not much but it’s the best I can do. At least you’ll be warm and dry. You can put your baby in here.

(He fetches the crib with the doll hidden in it. Joseph gets the stool for Mary from the side of the stage. Allow time for this.)

Choral speaking group:  In come the strangers from the cold night air. When the morning came, a little child was there.

(Mary picks up ‘baby Jesus’.)

Narrator 5:  The little spider hears sounds from below in the stable. He looks down and there he sees the man, the woman and a small baby. Some angels appear.

(Enter a group of angels; they stand in a semi-circle behind Mary and Joseph. Their entrance could be accompanied by a carol or other suitable music.)

 

Narrator 6:  Then some shepherds come and present the baby with a little lamb.

(Music played here will give time for the actions.)

Narrator 7:  Next come three kings. One gives the baby gold, the second gives him frankincense, the third gives him myrrh.

(Allow time for the kings to present their gifts. Once again music will help as the tableau forms centre stage.)

Narrator 8:  The baby begins to cry. (Sound effects offstage.) Mother Mary tries to comfort him. The baby is feeling cold.

Narrator 9:  This is the little spider’s chance. He collects his beautiful web, soft as silk and warm as wool (Spider picks up shawl) and gives it to Mary.

Spider:  Please take my web to keep the baby warm.

Narrator 10:  Mary takes the shawl and wraps it around baby Jesus, who stops crying. Then Mary says:

Mary:  Thank you, little spider, for your beautiful gift. But tell me, why do you look so sad?

Spider:  I am sad because everyone thinks I am ugly and nobody wants me.

Mary:  Never mind. As the Lord God made you, so you must stay. But I promise that if anyone sees a spider in the evening they will have good luck. People will see you in a different light from now on.

Narrator 11:  To this day in some countries it is considered lucky to see a spider in the house.

Narrator 12:  At Christmas we hang long threads of gold and silver on our Christmas trees. Perhaps they remind us of the little spider and his gift to the baby Jesus.

Choral speaking group:  

When you see a spider high upon the wall

Remember how he wove a thread above the cattle stall.

This gift he gave to Jesus to keep away the cold.

That brave little spider whose story now is told.

A gift of love at Christmas is the very best to give.

Spreading love to one another is the way we ought to live.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Time for reflection

Reflection

Ask everyone to greet their neighbour and wish them a Happy Christmas or a Happy Holiday.

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for all the stories about Jesus that make Christmas so special.

Amen.

Song/music

‘I want to see your baby boy’ (Come and Praise, 117)

Publication date: December 2005   (Vol.7 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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