We did this on Sunday as a fun alternative to a traditional nativity, the children and adults loved it and it was a lot less stressful in terms of preparation. We got some people to bring any props they had - sheep, wings, tinsel, tea towels, a baby and crib etc... We also had fun usually giving characters short bits to say but sometimes with adults testing them with long monologues! The audience participate as they play the role of the choir.
Narrator - script
Angels – fairy wings, tinsel for heads (Badge for Gabriel) (Choose big strong men)
Shepherds – crooks and sheep, tea towels
Joseph – Toy hammer, saw, B&Q apron
Herod – Crown
Wise men – crowns and gifts
Star – Cardboard star
[Get cast with props. Explain; you need to listen carefully and do what you are supposed to do and say any lines that your character says] Oh hang on a minute – there is no Wise men, or star, or Herod in the bibles nativity, they never arrive at the manger, they come later – so sorry you can sit down
Scene 1 – Amazing News
Mary was sat in her house in Galilee when suddenly the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Greetings you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you."
Mary was very upset because of his words she wondered what kind of greeting this could be. But the angel said, "Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. He will rule forever over his people, who came from Jacob's family and His kingdom will never end."
"How can this happen?" Mary asked the angel.
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Nothing is impossible with God."
"I serve the Lord," Mary answered. "May it happen to me just as you say." Then the angel left her.
Scene 2 – A worried Joseph has a visitor
[Troubled Joseph paces in another house, before going to sleep]. Now Joseph was a good man and didn’t want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he had decided to quietly call off the wedding. While he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Joseph did what the angel had said.
Sing: Angels from the realms of glory
Scene 3 – Travelling to Bethlehem and Birth
Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. Everyone went to their own towns to be listed.
So Joseph went from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, the town of David with Mary because he belonged to the family line of David. [Get characters to enact going on a long journey]
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
Sing: Away in a Manger
Scene 3 – Shepherds worship
There were shepherds living in the fields nearby. It was night and they were looking after their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.
But the angel said, "Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They sang [get angels to improvise a song],
"May glory be given to God in the highest heaven!
And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!"
The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem. Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off [shepherds head off through congregation] and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. [Shepherds run back through the crowd shouting out the news]
But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over.
The shepherds returned giving glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.
Sing: Once in Royal David’s City