Christmas Present


Bob Eagle

The Christmas story in a modern setting for choir and soloists

Christmas Present is a modern setting of the familiar Christmas story. It sets the scene in Roman occupied Israel nearly 2000 years ago. The people were waiting for God's promised Messiah who would set Israel free. How could they know that events happening in the northern town of Nazareth were to have such amazing consequences? And what were the local people of Nazareth to think when they heard Mary's story? It surely was beyond belief.

Christmas Present explores the thinking and the attitudes which would certainly arise if the Christmas story were happening in modern day times. From the angelic visit to Mary who rushes off to tell Elizabeth; the anguish of Joseph and the probable reaction of his friends; the hope of the wise men; the amazement of the shepherds; and the journeys which culminated in a stable in Bethlehem, the Christmas story unfolds to its climax - the adoration of the baby of Bethlehem who was beginning his journey to Calvary.

The familar story, told in this new presentation, reminds us that the message of Christmas is one of hope for the future: from this day on, the world will never be the same!

Scene 1: The Census is announced: Nazareth Town Square

The herald announces the census which has been called by the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, in advance of the new tax. The people of Nazareth lament that the land of Israel is governed by Rome and look forward to the promised Messiah who will deliver them.

Scene 2: Joseph’s place, Nazareth

The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her that she will have a son who will be the promised Messiah.

Scene 3: Elizabeth’s house

Mary rushes off to tell her friend, Elizabeth the news. Elizabeth is delighted.

Scene 4: Joseph’s place, Nazareth

Meanwhile Joseph, Mary’s fiancé, is anxious. He does not know whether to believe Mary. Friends give him understandable but poor advice. Joseph is in despair. Then the angel appears to confirm the news.

Scene 5: The Orient

Wise men from the east are studying the stars, hoping to see a sign that God will make himself real to them.

Scene 6: On the hills outside Bethlehem

It seems like just another boring night for the shepherds on the plains outside Bethlehem. But the stillness of the night is broken when the angels appear to tell them that Jesus has been born. The shepherds decide to go at once to see this new born Saviour.

Scene 7: The journeys

Mary and Joseph, the wise men and the shepherds journey on to Bethlehem. For the new baby Jesus, the journey to Calvary is just beginning.

Scene 8: Herod’s palace

The wise men arrive at Herod’s palace convinced that the new King will be born there. Herod knows nothing of it, but is worried. Although Israel is governed from Rome he has been allowed to remain as a puppet king. Another King spells trouble.

Scene 9 : Bethlehem

The inns are completely full. The innkeepers go to incredible lengths to utilise all their available space. However, for Mary and Joseph, there is no room.

Scene 10: Nativity

The wise men worship at the manger. The finale reflects that from this day on, the world will never be the same.

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