295 ideas,
111 in English
184 in Russian language

Actors A lady (Mrs. Hansen), a little girl (Laney Joy), and a man’s voice offstage for the father.

Equipment For best results, the lines should be memorized. The set can be a makeshift living room with a front door and perhaps a couch and some other simple furnishings.

Costumes The girl can be someone dressed like a little girl and acting like one.

Laney: (singing) Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The cattle are blowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes . . . (Doorbell rings.)
Father: Laney … Laney Joy! Will you get the door?
Laney: I would, Dad, but what if it’s not a friendly person?
Father: It’s probably Mrs. Hansen. Just tell her to wait downstairs until I’m finished with this appointment.
Laney: (opens door) Hello, lady.
Lady: (very cheerfully) Well, hello. You must be the preacher’s little girl. I’m Mrs. Hansen. From church. I have an appointment with your dad. May I come in?
Laney: He’s already got one ‘pointment upstairs. I don’t think he needs another one.
Lady: I don’t think you understand, dear. You see—
Laney: In fact, I am certain that he does not need any. My mama always says that Papa has too many pointments.
Lady: (mildly amused) No, dear, you don’t understand. I want to talk to your daddy about marrying my daughter.
Laney: Oh, lady, you’re too late. My papa is already married. He married my mama a couple of years ago.
Lady: A couple of years?
Laney: Yes, lady. I think it was even before I was born, and I’m five years old.
Lady: Yes, I’m sure it was—
Father: Laney? Is that Mrs. Hansen?
Laney: Yes, Sir. I’m trying to tell her that you aren’t innerested in marrying—
Father: Laney, just invite her in. I’ll be with her in a few minutes.
Laney: Well, it’s against my better judgment. But I guess I have to do what my papa says. Come in.
Laney: While we are waiting, I will entertain you.
Lady: Oh, that’s not necessary, dear.
Laney: Oh, yes, lady. It’s part of my role as the preacher’s daughter. First I will tell you about myself. My name is Laney Joy, and I’m five years old, and I’m a very precarious child.
Lady: (whispered) I’m beginning to see that. (aloud) Precarious?
Laney: Yes. That means I’m ahead of other kids my same age. I can sing.., and I can read the Bible all by myself.
Lady: Read the Bible? And you’re only five?
Laney: Aren’t you impressed, lady? Would you like to hear me read something?
Lady: Well, I, uh—
Laney: I know. Since it is nearly Christmas, I will read the Christmas story to you. Have you heard that one?
Lady: Yes, a few times.
Laney: But I bet you never heard it the way I read it.
Lady: Somehow I can believe that!
Laney: O.K. This is how it goes. Once upon a time, a long time ago, an angel came to Mary and said, “Mary, would you like to have the baby Jesus?” Mary said she guessed she would someday, after she married Joseph. But she did not know if she would name her first son Jesus. But the angel said that was not what he had in mind. He wanted to know if she would have the Son of God. Well, Mary did not know about that. She said she would have to think about it.
Lady: Wait. Are you sure that’s the way the story goes?
Laney: Certainly. You don’t think she would agree to something like that without thinking about it first, do you?
Lady: I guess I never thought about it quite that way.
Laney: You have to think about these things, lady. Anyway, Mary finally said she guessed it would be O.K., as long as she could wait until she married Joseph. Then they would want to wait until they had enough money to support a baby. But the angel said, “No way. Don’t you ever read your Bible, Mary? ‘Cause in the Bible it says that Jesus was born at just the right time. And that right time is right now.” So Mary had to make up her mind quick. It was one of those now-or-never deals. You know about them, don’t you, lady?
Lady: Well, yes. But not quite in that way. (pauses) So Mary decided to have the baby Jesus?
Laney: I was just coming to that next part. Mary said it would be O.K. with her if it was O.K. with Joseph. You can kinda see how he might not like it, can’t you, lady?
Lady: I never thought about it before, but, yes, I can.
Lariey: Well, the angel said if she was really worried about it, he would appear to Joseph in a dream and tell him all about it. But would she please make up her mind because he had to go on and do other things for God. So then Mary said O.K., she’d do it if the angel would promise her that everything would be all right. But you know what the angel said to that?
Lady: No, I don’t.
Laney: The angel said he did not know what would happen. He only knew what God said to do. But he reckoned if Mary did what God wanted her to do, chances were things would turn out O.K. in the end. Then he quoted Hebrews 11:1 to her and left. So that’s how it all began. Then you know what happened?
Lady: I used to think I did, but I’m not so sure now.
Laney: Well, next, Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to pay up their back taxes. You see, God had to get them to Bethlehem so what Micah had said would come true— about Jesus being born in Bethlehem—and God figured taxes were as good an excuse as any. My papa’s been to the Holy Land—that’s where Bethlehem is—and he says that’s a hard trip even in a jeep. So you can imagine what it was like on a donkey. I bet by the time they got to Bethlehem Mary was sorry she ever got involved in the whole business. But that’s not the kind of thing you can change your mind about, so she had to go through with it. But by the time they got to Jerusalem, I bet she was not singing that same song.
Lady: Song? What song was that?
Laney: ‘Bout how her soul doth magnify the Lord. She was probably saying she’d just as soon somebody else had all that honor and let her just be a plain housewife—which was all she ever wanted anyway. You know, in one way it would have been nice if God could have waited ‘til today and let some women’s lib lady have baby Jesus. But that was not God’s style. He wanted Mary to do if. So they got to Bethlehem, but all the hotels were full ‘cause Joseph hadn’t phoned ahead for reservations. Then you know what happened?
Lady: They had to stay in a stable?
Laney: That’s very good, lady. They had to stay in a stable ‘cause there was not room for them in the Holiday Inn. Well, the angel was looking down at them, and you know what he did? He told God he did not think it was fair, making them have it so rough. And he offered to go down with a whole squad of other angels and sort of clean up the place, make if a little better looking since it would be the first place baby Jesus would see on earth. And if it was too bad it might make him change his mind and decide not to live on earth, after all. Well, God said that would be a shame, ‘cause the world was counting on Jesus. But he would not let the angels come and fix things up. He said he’d already taken care of that.
Lady: Oh? How had he done that?
Laney: He made baby Jesus be just like any other human baby, so he wouldn’t notice if he was born in a stable or a house or a palace. The angels said they guessed that was all right—they had not thought of it that way. Which is why God is God ‘cause he had a better idea. Then the exciting part happened.
Lady: And what was that?
Laney: That was when the angels started singing “Glory to God in the Highest.” The shepherds heard it, and they started singing “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Then the—
Lady: Now, waif a minute. I think you’re confusing your stories.
Laney: I just elaborated a little, that’s all. It could have happened. Anyway, the little drummer boy heard it, and he started playing his drum. And that was the first Christmas concert. All these people went to the stable and—oh lady, it was so exciting! (Excitement builds, growing into awe.) They saw baby Jesus, and they knew he was the Son of God, and they—lady, can you imagine what it was like? The Son of God on earth! So God would know what it was like to be a man ‘cause that was the only way he could ever save people from their sins. Oh, lady, it must have been wonderful!
Lady: (getting caught up in it, too) Yes, it must have been!
Laney: I guess it was ‘bout as wonderful as it is today.
Lady: Huh? As what is today?
Laney: As finding out that God came to earth.
Lady: (slightly puzzled) Finding out that God came… ? (understanding) Oh, yes, I guess it was almost as exciting as that. And that’s mighty exciting!
Laney: Yes, lady. That’s the truth! I cannot think of anything—
Father: Good-by, Mr. Petersen. Hope I was able to help. (louder) Mrs. Hansen, I can see you now.
Lady: Yes, pastor, I’ll be right in. Laney Joy, thanks for the story.
Laney: Oh, that’s all right, lady. Any time. (Laney resumes her song.) Away in a manger, no crib for a bed . . . (fade)

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