A New Song

Christmas Pageant 2022

This is the text of the Christmas Pageant I wrote for this year, which was performed by the children at the 10am service at St. Mark’s on December 18th.

Roles
Narrator
Gabriel
Mary
Elizabeth
Joseph
Lead Angel
Angels
Shepherd(s)
Villager
Animal(s)
Wise Person(s)
Gift Giver

Narrator Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the whole earth. 
Sing to the Lord and bless God’s Name;
proclaim the good news of God’s salvation from day to day.

This is the story of a new song sung out into the world,

A new song that was really a very old song, 
the oldest of songs,
A song that God had been singing since the beginning,
But to which we humans had stopped listening.
It is the song of God’s love for this Creation,
A love so great that God entered into Creation in a new way
So we might learn how to make 
the old ways of sin and separation end.

Let’s listen in on a piece of this story,
Using hymns and carols to remember the tale.
We begin in Nazareth, 
Where a young woman is drawing water from the well.

​​The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

Gabriel “All hail,” 

Narrator said he, 

Gabriel “thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady.
“For know a blessèd Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favored lady.”

Narrator Mary pondered this invitation of the angel,
And her heart opened like a flower blooming.
She accepted the task of bearing the Christ child, saying,

Mary Here am I, the servant of the Lord,
Let it be with me according to your word.

Narrator After this encounter that changed Mary’s life,
She just had to tell someone about it.
She chose her cousin Elizabeth,
Who was also pregnant at the time.
When they came together, Elizabeth said,

Elizabeth I can tell God is doing something new in you,
for the moment I heard your greeting,
the baby in my womb leapt for joy.

Narrator And Mary said,

Mary Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of God’s word;
in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of God’s might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

{PAUSE}

Narrator Meanwhile, Joseph, Mary’s soon-to-be husband,
Was having trouble dealing with her sudden pregnancy.
But in a dream the angel came to him
And told him not to be afraid to marry her
And to raise Jesus as his own son.

Joseph woke up 
and realized God was up to something new.
Joseph raised his head to the sky 
and whispered softly to himself,

Joseph My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh, and die?

Narrator When Mary was about ready to give birth,
The couple was forced to travel
All the way back to Joseph’s ancestral town of Bethlehem.
They did this so they could be counted 
As part of the emperor’s plan to control
All the people his empire had conquered.

Bethlehem was crowded when they arrived,
And the only place they could find to stay
Was the back room of a farmer’s house
Where they kept the animals.
It was here,
In a borrowed room
In the lowliest circumstances imaginable
That God chose to be born among us.

The animals looked on, 
knowing instinctively that God was up to something new.
Maybe they were singing to themselves,

Animal Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

Narrator Out in the fields, shepherds were watching their flocks
Suddenly the night sky was filled with angelic light.
One angel led the rest in a song of invitation to the shepherds.

Lead Angel Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
glory to God, glory in the highest;

All Angels O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him,
O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Narrator The shepherds got up and ran to Bethlehem,
Shouting their glee!

Shepherd Angels we have heard on high,
singing sweetly through the night,
and the mountains in reply
echoing their brave delight.

Narrator The townspeople wondered what all the racket was about!

Villager Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see?
What glad tidings did you hear?

Narrator The shepherds couldn’t contain their excitement!

Shepherd Come to Bethlehem and see
him whose birth the angels sing;
come, adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

{PAUSE}

Narrator Despite the hubbub, Jesus slept on,
Held tight in his mother’s arms;
And as he slept, a star appeared in the sky,
Announcing the new song God was singing.
Far away, wise people saw the star
And decided to follow it.
They said,

Magi O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright;
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Narrator Some time later, the wise people arrived.
Herod, the puppet king of the emperor,
Tried to trick the wise people
Into sharing the location of the baby,
For Herod had heard a new king was born,
And Herod would do anything, even really bad things,
To keep what little power he had.
But the wise people were too wise for Herod.
They left for their own home by another road,
But not before bringing gifts to the infant Jesus.

Others, too, those who were poor,
And those who lived on the outskirts of society,
Came to see Jesus, God’s greatest gift.
And they gave back the biggest gift they could give.

Gift Giver What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him – give my heart.

{PAUSE}

Narrator So the new song’s first verse had been sung,
And the song is still going on to this day.
Now we are the singers 
in God’s song of love for this Creation.
I invite you today to open your heart to the song:

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
This, this is Christ the king,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

And as we gather to celebrate this Christmas,
May we all share this prayer:

Elizabeth O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;

Joseph Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.

Shepherd We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;

Everyone O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

One thought on “A New Song

  1. What a wonderful idea! These are carols I’ve sung for quite a while (being rather old) and it was delightful to see them (and mentally sing them) as part of this pageant. Please include photos when you’ve done the pageant.

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