The Christmas Star: Readings and Pageants for Christmas

CSS Publishing
Free sample

The Christmas Star is a potpourri of holiday gifts for those planning worship -- this charming collection includes three plays and five brief meditations suitable for reading during services or for use in bulletins and newsletters. The play The Gifts Of Christmas is a humorous take on the traditional Christmas pageant in which three teenagers try to decide what to get their grandmother for Christmas, only to discover that the gift she really desires is the Christmas story (enacted in the customary fashion). The "Did Someone Forget To Plan" The Christmas Pageant! provides you with the ultimate no-fuss, no-hassle way for your children to simply share the nativity story without the usual headaches. For older youth and adults there's The Fourth Wise Man, an offbeat piece imagining what an additional wise man might have been like. Each presentation is simple for small churches to produce, with minimal costumes and props required. Insightful and scripturally sound, The Christmas Star is a wonderful package that you won't be able to resist!

Frank Ramirez is an author and pastor in the Church of the Brethren who has written numerous books, articles, and short stories. A graduate of LaVerne College and Bethany Theological Seminary, Ramirez has served congregations in Indiana and California. His other CSS titles include A Call To Worship, Coming Home, and He Took A Towel.

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Additional Information

Publisher
CSS Publishing
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Published on
Jul 31, 2002
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Pages
40
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ISBN
9780788019159
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / Religious & Liturgical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Everyone knows the nativity story -- the inn, the stable, and all the rest. If your traditional Christmas pageant has become a bit stale and you want to give it new life, this collection of engaging plays is sure to fit your needs. Keith Hewitt gives the usual narrative a modern treatment by adapting characters and settings from four popular television series (Blue's Clues, CSI, Cops, and Trading Spaces) and transferring them to the events in Bethlehem. By twisting the lens a little to change the focus, these sketches tell how common people are affected by incredible events. Audiences will love these entertaining programs, and they'll have fun watching the characters as they learn a valuable lesson. All four plays are specifically designed to be produced in churches, and can be easily staged by congregations of almost any size. There are roles suitable for a range of ages from kindergarten through adult, allowing you to involve the whole congregation in the production. "Ewe's Clues" is intended primarily for younger children (although adults and older children will also enjoy it) and has a running time of approximately 30 minutes. "Cops: Bethlehem," "CSI: Bethlehem," and "Trading Spaces: Bethlehem" each have a running time of approximately 45 minutes, and are designed for older audiences (though children will get something out of them as well). Keith Hewitt is a youth leader at Wilmot United Methodist Church in Wilmot, Wisconsin, and in his "day job" is a quality analyst. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.
"Angel At McDonald's" is a provocative drama that is a striking parable about belief in something that seems impossible and the courage to do what God commands. Two young women who are decorating a community center in an underprivileged neighborhood encounter three angry toughs who resent the girls' "kindness." With the gentle insistence of an angel who gives them an unusual assignment, the girls confront their fear and tell the skeptical ghetto kids about Jesus. And despite initial wariness, the message finds a home in some of their hearts.
This play can be presented as part of a worship service or as the entertainment at a church dinner or other gathering. It can be staged as elaborately or as simply as you wish, and lends itself to a readers' theater format. "Angel At McDonald's" is an excellent discussion starter that is sure to generate many viewpoints about our preconceived ideas of what constitutes "missions." And it connects the occasion of Christ's birth to the birth of new spiritual life. With realistic dialogue and situations, it's perfect for use with teenagers.
Linda M. Goens is the Director of Creative Worship Arts at the United Methodist Church of the Saviour in Indianapolis, where she writes and directs drama and clown sketches for worship in addition to choreographing and performing liturgical movement. A graduate of the University of California at Sacramento (B.A.) and Indiana University (M.Ed.), Goens facilitates workshops in spiritual journaling and creative worship. She is the author of "The Shepherds" (CSS) and "Praising God Through the Lively Arts" (Abingdon Press).
In today's "hurry-up" world, it seems we rarely take the time to think of other people and "walk a mile in the other man's shoes." If we did, what would we see? They Worshiped Him revisits the nativity story from the perspective of the people who were actually there. In this dramatic retelling, we glimpse the innermost thoughts and feelings of some of the very common people whose lives were forever changed by a most extraordinary event. What did the shepherds feel? What did others think of them? Were they perceived as "eccentric"? And what about the wise men who followed the star? Did they have an entire entourage, or did people treat them like three dottering old men? And what about Mary and Joseph; how did this unusual pregnancy affect them? They Worshiped Him answers many of these questions while reminding us of the biblical characters' humanity.

The singing of favorite seasonal carols is woven into the drama, encouraging audience participation. And it's an adaptable work that can be staged as elaborately or simply as you wish. While there are speaking parts for 12 angels, 5 animals, 6 shepherds, 3 magi, the innkeeper, Mary, Joseph, and a narrator, roles can easily be combined for use with any size congregation. Staging instructions are included.

Far too many plays being marketed to churches today are not well written, place unreasonable requirements on the space and talent available in the average local church, and contain biblically inaccurate statements and characterizations. Gail Keffer's play They Worshiped Him doesn't present any of those problems. It is written in a flexible manner that makes it easy to adapt to a worship service, dinner theater, or a feature-length play for an annual Christmas production. It also does a magnificent job of presenting a biblically accurate version of the nativity story that can be heard, understood, and remembered by all of God's children.... We used this play two years ago, and people are still talking about it. One comment I heard was that the play "made Mary seem like a real person and not a stained-glass Madonna who's out of touch with the realities people like us face."
Kari Turner McClellan
Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
Levittown, Pennsylvania

Gail K. Keffer is a graduate of Slippery Rock University (B.S. and M.Ed.). An active member of Clen-Moore Presbyterian Church in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Keffer is a former schoolteacher who has run a needlework design business and is currently the proprietor of The Amish Peddler, a business specializing in the sale of fine Amish-made furniture.

A Jesuit priest, a New York play, and questions as profound as they come . . . A few years after being called to the priesthood, Father James Martin was startled to get a very different kind of call one evening in 2004: a phone call from actor Sam Rockwell. Rockwell had been cast for the part of Judas Iscariot in an Off-Broadway play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, where Judas was on trial for his crime of betraying Jesus. Would Martin be willing to serve as a theological consultant for the play? Martin gladly obliged, and within weeks playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, director Philip Seymour Hoffman, and members of the cast began to dialogue with Martin about a host of spiritual issues that the play evoked: Can we believe the Bible? What was Jesus' mission? What is sin? Does hell exist? Is anyone beyond God's forgiveness? A Jesuit Off-Broadway recounts Martin's six months with the LAByrinth Theater Company and his education in the making of a play, from the writing of the script to the cast party on closing night. At the same time, the occasionally profane and routinely free-spirited creative team and actors learned from Martin key insights into Christian faith and theology, while often revealing a profoundly spiritual side to their lives. By the time the final curtain fell, Martin and the cast had gleaned important and at times surprising lessons from each other as they realized how the sacred and the secular aren't always that far apart . . . and how, in the end, questions tell us more than answers ever do. What happens when theater and theology share the stage? Discover the answer in this thought-provoking memoir by Christopher Awardndash;winning author and Jesuit priest James Martin. Take a front-row seat to Father Martin's six-month experience as a theological consultant for the New York theater production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, directed by Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, and starring Sam Rockwell and Eric Bogosian. While Martin thoughtfully responds to the deeply spiritual and soul-searching questions posed to him by the creative team and actors-questions that many of us ponder at one time or another in our lives-he learns about the world of professional theater and all that is required to put on a successful play. Join Father Martin as he takes this fascinating foray into the acting arena . . . and offers answers to some of life's biggest questions. A vivid lesson in how the Christian life can be lived in the midst of the real world." Lawrence S. Cunningham John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology University of Notre Dame
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