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Culture Shocks!
Nativity Play for Loudoun Montgomery Primary 2014 DU
We are moving out of the church building in January 2015 (For about 9 months) for a
major extension and refurbishment, the idea is that we are packing up to move so
there are just boxes lying around on stage. Some plans for the new buildings will be
on the front of the pulpit and a ladder and anything else that makes it look like
building work is about to start.
The boxes have different things on their different faces so can be transformed by
turning them around, as well as being stacked on top of each other to make walls or
doors or a “stable”!
The whole school learns all the songs at Assemblies. And everyone sings along
regardless of who is actually on stage - we need all the volume we can get!
Each class has a song or item that is their own.
p7 have multiple jobs Some dress up and help the infants with the traditional nativity items.
ie 2 shepherds, 2 angels, 1 donkey.
Some are dressed as builders (reflective vests and hard hats if we can get them) and
they move the boxes around between items to produce whatever backdrop/props that
item needs, as well as building the jigsaw in item 5.
Two narrators - one who knows what is going on and is happy to be “on the move”
and one who hates change and feels anxious when things don’t stay the same.
One Middle Eastern Guest can be male or female, with suitable head gear on, who
corrects some cultural “mistakes” that we have been making for years!
These 3 characters guide us through the programme, linking the items and explaining
that though change is inevitable in life, Christians believe that Jesus is “God with
us/Emmanuel” and that can make all the difference when our lives take ups and
The take home gift is a copy of Luke’s Gospel titled “More than Gold” with some
kind of gift wrapping.
Order of Play
Song 1 (p4/3 Miss McAteer 22 children) It’s a long way to Bethlehem (DIY
Nativity Mark and Helen Johnson)
Whole class dressed in cloaks walk in down both aisles, while singing the song,
travelling to Bethlehem. When they get to the front, the Builders have made a low
wall with the boxes and they go through the door openings and continue singing,
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looking out over the walls. Mary and Joseph and their p7 Donkey come last and as
soon as the song ends, just as they get there, the doors get closed with boxes,
everyone shakes their heads at M and J - No room - and they sit down behind the
walls out of sight, leaving M and J looking sad and lost and alone.
Song 2 (p2/1 Mrs Richmond ) and (p3/2 Mrs Fisher)(44children) Out in the
Fields one Starry Night (from Off to Bethlehem Mark and Helen Johnson)
Usual acting out of the song, with everyone dressed in traditional nativity costumes
shepherds and sheep and angels galore!
Song 3 (p5/4 Mrs Divine 23 children) Three Wise Men (from Off to Bethlehem
Mark and Helen Johnson)
Catchy song which lends itself to dressing as robots and doing some robot dancing!!
We have plastic half-face masks in different colours and could use the black tee
shirts. One standing mike in the centre of the chancel and for the spoken chorus, the
3 wise men (?modern/traditonal costumes) who are not robots, act during the
verses then speak into the mike while all the robots look at them.
The robots may do some stacking of the boxes to create enough space, and set things
up for the next item.
Song 4 (p6/5 Ms Hodge 21 children) We’re Christmas Shopping
This is a spoken poem which in the first instance the whole class will learn all of,
then once everyone knows it we will introduce the movements (marching around or
marching on the spot to keep time) Each child will then have one line to say into the
microphone which is front and centre, and at some point during the routine, every
child will pick up one of the boxes and carry it around like a present. At the end they
gather around Mary and Joseph and the baby, leaving their boxes scattered on the
floor all around.
“Song” 5 (p7 Ms Goudie 22 children) Picking up the pieces
This involves picking up the scattered boxes and rearranging them in a wall 5 boxes
by 5 boxes to reveal the picture which is on one side of the boxes. It has maps and a
kind of crossword with Jesus Journey, always with us, ups and downs - it’s being
recycled from a few years ago!
I hope to find a suitable song to have playing on a CD while we do this.
Possibly “This Baby” by Steven Curtis Chapman
Song 6 - (Everyone) Come and join the celebration Junior Praise 2 323
Bring all the infants in costume onstage with a choir of older children behind.
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Link 1
Nar 1 - Good morning everyone. Welcome to our Christmas Service.
“Christ -mas" means “Jesus Party” We hope you enjoy it.
Nar 2 - Hang on a minute! Look around! This place is a mess! We can’t have a party
for Jesus here unless we tidy up. He’s very special we have to create a good
impression. There’s all these boxes lying and ladders and stuff, what’s going on?
Nar 1 - That’s OK Jesus knows we’re in the middle of packing up to move.
Nar 2 - Move? Who’s moving? No-one told me!
Nar 1 - Relax! We’re moving out of the church building for about 9 months, but
don’t worry, it’s so the builders can move in. Everything is going to be done up, and
a whole new area is going to be built with a Cafe and Soft Play and lovely rooms for
all sorts of people to use for their groups.
Nar 2 - But why? What’s wrong with what we’ve got?
Nar 1 - Well, there’s that bit of the ceiling that fell down, and those people down
there will soon tell you that the wooden pews are NOT comfy!
But mostly it’s because if we have a building that can be used for all sorts of things, it
can be open every day, not just on a Sunday. We’ll be able to do much more for
people of all ages in this community.
Nar 2 - (whining) But I’m used to this now. Why does everything have to change?
Nar 1 - Because Life’s a journey, ___________, we always have to move on.
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Nar 2 - (Deep sigh) Well I hope the Nativity Play has not changed. It starts with a
Journey for Mary and Joseph, and a whole lot of other people, all heading to
Bethlehem to sign up and be counted.
Song 1 (p4/3 Miss McAteer) It’s a long way to Bethlehem
Starts at the back at both sides, sing and walk down both aisles the ends with
everyone behind the wall except M and J and donkey.
It’s a long way to Bethlehem
It’s a dry and dusty road.
It’s a long way to Bethlehem
Do we really have to go?
It’s a long way to Bethlehem
It’s a lot for little feet.
It’s a long way to Bethlehem
We’ll be walking for a week!
Better get up, get off, get a move on
Better be on our way.
Hurry it up, come on, get your shoes on
We must be gone today!
Link 2
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Middle Eastern Visitor (Mev) - Un-believable!
Nar 1 - Yes! Ruben/Rachel, they were really good weren’t they!
Mev - That’s not what I meant! They’ve got it all wrong again. They’ve left Mary
and Joseph outside and that would simply never happen in the middle east where I
come from.
Nar 1 - But this is from the Bible! It says that there was “no room for Mary and
Joseph in the Inn”
Mev - Actually, the word that was used in the first language that the Bible was
written in is a word for a “guest room” in a house. Not a Hotel. Somewhere down the
years this has been “lost in translation” and I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve been
getting it wrong!
Let me explain. You don’t mind if I use these boxes do you?
Nar 1 - (a little offended) Knock yourself out
Mev - So back in Jesus’ time, most people lived in a building that was really just one
big room. (builders will rearrange the boxes as he/she explains.)
At one end, was the door, and the bit for bringing the animals in at night. At the other
end, with a higher bit of floor, was the family space where they did everything,
eating, sleeping, sitting around, working. So in between the family and the animals
was just a low wall usually with a feeding trough or manger built into it so the cows
or sheep didn’t have to bend down too far.
The “guest room” could be up on the roof, or off to the side, and no animals would be
allowed in there.
So when the Bible says there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the “guest room”,
because it was already full of other guests, what it then shows is that Mary and
Joseph were welcomed in to the family room. Right in with the children and the
animals, into the messy heart of their home.
Nar 1 - Wow! That is such a big change! I feel I should apologise to the people of
Bethlehem. All those years we’ve been singing songs about how they didn’t
welcome Mary and Joseph. But you’re saying they did welcome them! They brought
Mary in and helped her even though it must have been quite a bother.
Mev - Having visitors is never a bother to us in the Middle East, hospitality is a very
important duty.
Nar 1- Well thanks for putting us right on that. You had better stick around in case
there are any mistakes in the next item.
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Here come p2/1 and p3/2 with their version of the shepherds getting a fright!
Song 2 (p2/1 Mrs Richmond) and (p3/2 Mrs Fisher) Out in the Fields one Starry
Usual acting out of the song with shepherds and sheep and angels galore!
1 Out in the fields on starry night
Shepherds were watching their sheep
Nowhere to sleep nowhere warm to lie
Their only bed was the ground
2 Gathering sticks and preparing a fire
They tried to keep themselves warm
Suddenly there was a noise all around
And they saw an angel before them saying..
Don’t be afraid for I bring you good news
Of great joy to the world,
Don’t be afraid for I bring you good news
Of great joy to the world,
3 This day a Saviour’s been born to you
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And he can be found in a manger
He will be Lord over all the earth
And he will be known as Jesus
Glory to God in the highest
And peace on the earth to all men
Glory to God in the highest
And peace on the earth to all men
Glory to God in the highest and peace on the earth.
Link 3
Nar 2 - If I had been a shepherd I would have died of shock! How did we do on that
one Rachel/Ruben?
Mev - Now that was excellent! Shepherds out on the hills, angels appearing, surprise,
fear, change, a journey! But the interesting part for me is what happened next!
Nar 2 - What do you mean?
Mev - The shepherds were told by the angels that the Saviour had been born and that
they were to go and see him. The proof that they had found the right baby was that he
would be lying in a manger and wrapped in strips of cloth. That told the shepherds
that the Saviour would be in a house just like theirs! A poor house, where the animals
were in with the family, and the baby was wrapped in cloth; not a rich house with a
separate barn, where the baby had beautiful clothes.
Nar 2 - If I’d been a shepherd I wouldn’t have dared to go to a rich house in case
they shouted at me and sent me away!
Mev - There’s something else. After they had seen the baby, the shepherds left again,
rejoicing and telling everyone what they had seen.
Nar 2 - Why is that important?
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Mev - These were Middle Eastern shepherds remember! If the shepherds had found
Mary and Joseph and the Baby all alone, they would have been very upset. They
would have taken them home, to one of their own houses, to be looked after properly.
Nar 2 - So that First “Jesus Celebration Party” happened in the middle of a busy
family in an ordinary house in Bethlehem, with animals and poor shepherds as the
Mev - That’s right.
Nar 2 - Jesus did get some richer visitors later… here come p6/5 with their song
about the wise men and their long journey to worship the King.
Song 3 (p5/4 Mrs Divine) Three Wise Men
1 Wise men…
Had been looking at the stars when…
They discovered a bright star and…
They followed it…
2 Wise men…
Were amazed at what they saw so…
They decided to explore and…
They followed it…
Check - that - star - mate
Not - chance - not - fate
God’s - comin’ - down - here
Roll - dudes - gotta get near.
3 Wise men…
Had to travel many days on…
Their camels heavy laden…
With many gifts
4 Wise men…
Kept their eyes upon the star for…
Even thought they’d gone so far yet…
They carried on.
Check - that - star - mate
Not - chance - not - fate
God’s - comin’ - down - here
Roll - dudes - gotta get near.
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Link 4
Mev - (Shakes his/her head in disbelief) Now I’m the one with “Culture Shock”! You
are going to have to explain to me what those robots were all about. I’m quite sure
there’s no mention of robots in the Bible!
Nar 1 - You’re right, but sometimes, when everything in our lives just stays the same
we end up feeling a bit like robots.
We get up everyday and wear the same clothes; have the same breakfast; go to the
same places; do the same things with the same people, every day, every week, every
month, every year…..and we stop thinking about what we’re doing or what life is all
about! Then we don’t notice that something needs to change!
Mev - The wise men were not like that. They were studying the stars and reading
books and trying to understand what was going on in the world. They saw the new
star, they found out what it meant, and they turned their lives upside down setting off
on a journey with no idea how far they would have to go or how long they would be
away for!
Nar 1 - Do we know where they came from?
Mev - The Bible just says they were from the East, but the gifts give away where
they came from. Gold was mined in Arabia, and frankincense and Myrrh are both
from trees which only grew in south Arabia, so the wise men were Arabs.
Nar 1 - The Shepherds were Jews, and the Wise men were Arabs. I think the Jews
and the Arabs are enemies. Haven’t they been fighting for thousands of years?
Mev - Yes they have. Isn’t it interesting that God brought both the Jews and the
Arabs to worship Jesus! He is the Saviour for everyone.
Nar 1 - I never noticed that before, in fact I’m feeling like there are lots of things I’ve
been missing about Christmas……..and I’m not the only one!
Here come primary 6/5 but I’m afraid they may have more in common with the
robots than the wise men.
Song 4a (p6/5 Ms Hodge) We’re Christmas Shopping
Perform the poem up to the STOP! Everyone freezes in position, then short scene 5,
then the Angel speaks and the sketch resumes
Song 3 - We’re Christmas Shopping
(by Andy Riordan, adapted by DU)
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All - We’re Christmas Shopping
And we’re not stopping
Got to find the greatest gift for Christmas.
1 - How about a new TV?
2 - How about a DVD?
3 - How about the latest computer game?
4 - How about a fancy clock?
5 - How about some Christmas socks?
6 - All the things in here just look the same!
All - We’re Christmas Shopping
And we’re not stopping
Got to find the greatest gift for Christmas.
7 - I want some fancy food.
8 - I’d love some Christmas pud.
9 - I need some help with my baking.
10 - I don’t want brussel sprouts.
11 - I hope we’re eating out.
12 - I need a rest my feet are aching.
All - We’re Christmas Shopping
And we’re not stopping
Got to find the greatest gift for Christmas….
Link 5
Mev - STOP! This in too stange! It looks as though you are trying to celebrate
Christmas, but you’ve completely forgotten that it is about Jesus!
Nar 2 - Well it’s not really our fault! If you look in the shops you will find Santas
and reindeer, snow and polar bears, penguins and fluffy dogs, toys and games,
Christmas trees and fairy lights, turkey and brussel sprouts, wrapping paper and
stockings, candles and parties…… but you will really struggle to find anything that
reminds us that Christ-mas is about Jesus Christ.
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Mev - I have an idea! I think you need to hear from an angel!
Angel - I’ve got good news for you
Tidings of great joy, it’s true!
In Bethlehem a Saviour now is given.
Jesus Christ God’s only son
A Christmas gift for everyone.
And Glory to God in highest Heaven.
(Slowly unfreeze and speak but no marching now)
13 - She says God sent his only son.
14 - A Christmas gift for everyone.
15 - God came to earth to meet us face to face.
16 - He can be with us in our hearts.
17 - He gives us all a fresh new start.
18 - We need to slow right down and give him space.
(Pause - all think about it)
All - We were Christmas shopping
But now we’re stopping
‘cos we have found the greatest gift of Christmas!
Song 4b (p6/5 Ms Hodge) We’re Christmas Shopping
At the end of the song, the class sits down with their backs to the audience, looking at
the big screen, holding their “parcel” on their knees, turned so that the number is
showing for the p7s to move around slowly collecting the boxes and making up the
jigsaw while the DVD of “This Baby” by Steven Curtis Chapman is showing. Once
p6’s no longer have a box they just sit still watching the DVD. (Check it out on You
Item 5 (p7 Ms Goudie) Picking up the pieces
(At the end of the DVD p6 go quietly and sit back in the pews)
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Link 6
Nar 1 - This is an interesting jigsaw, it seems to show a map…which is always a help
on any journey.
Nar 2 - I’d rather have someone with me who knew the way!
Mev - Do you see the name at the top left corner? You have to look very carefully
and you might have to squish up your eyes to see it….
Nar 1 - I see it! It says Jesus.
Nar 2 - Is Jesus the one who knows the way?
Mev - He is! The word Journey runs downwards reminding us that life is a journey,
with ups and downs! Can you see those words?
Nar 1 - And the last bit says “Always with us”. That sounds good.
Nar 2 -“ Ups” sound good! “Downs” sound bad. “Journey” sounds scary, but I guess
life would be a lot less scary if Jesus is always with me! There’s still a problem
Mev - Yesssss?
Nar 1 - What now?
Nar 2 - I don’t really feel I know Jesus very well and I’ve always been told never to
go with strangers!
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Mev - Good advice! But we can help you there. On the way out today we are giving
you a present! It’s one small bit of the Bible. The book of Luke. If you read it you
will really get a picture of who Jesus is, and how much He wants to be part of your
Nar 1 -It says “More than Gold…” on the front. Because the chance to get to know
Jesus is a gift more precious than Gold….or Frankinsence or Myrrh.
Nar 2 - Are you sure Jesus will want to get to know me….. I’m not very special, I’m
just ordinary, and I do worry when things change..
Mev - Jesus, God’s son was born in an ordinary house, welcomed into the home and
the hearts of an ordinary family, and the first Christmas Party had scruffy shepherds
as guests.
Nar 1 - Trust us! Jesus knows you and He loves you! The only question is will you
welcome him into your ordinary life?
Nar 2 - I will! Now I’ve got a question for you! When is a Christmas party not a
Christmas party?
MEV and Nar 1 together - We don’t know! When is a Christmas party not a
Christmas Party?
Nar 2 - When Jesus isn’t invited!
Nar1 - Well He’s invited here, and so are you! Let’s sing Come and join the
Song 6 Come and join the celebration!
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Come and join the celebration
It’s a very special day
Come and share our jubilation
There’s a new King born today
1 See the shepherds
hurry down to Bethlehem
Gaze in wonder
At the son go God who lay before them.
Come and join…
2 Wise men journey
Led to worship by a star
Kneel in homage,
Bringing precious gifts from Lands afar, so
Come and join…
3 “God is with us”
round the world the message bring
He is with us
“Welcome” all the bells on earth are pealing
Come and join…
Bring all the infants on in front of the big jigsaw with Mary Joseph and the Baby
front and Centre.
P4/3 behind them, and anyone else we can squeeze on stage!
The End.
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