SETTING: A home in typical Christmas decor. Also a 16th century
market with four peasants.
GRANDPA: (Addresses the girls) You know, that has to be my favorite
Christmas carol. I remember when...
SCOTT: (Interrupts) What? The First Noel? Itís not even accurate -
theologically speaking that is.
NYANA: (Upset with her brother, seeking to defend her grandpa) Be quiet
Scott, I like that song.
STEPHANIE: Me too.
GRANDPA: No, itís all right girls. Scott is right. There are some parts
the song that say something different than the Bible says.
SCOTT: See, I told you.
STEPHANIE: I guess Iíve never really caught whatís wrong with it.
NYANA: (Interrupts) I believe Stephanie was talking to Grandpa, Scott.
GRANDPA: Well, take for instance the line that indicates that the shepherds
saw the star and followed it to Bethlehem.
NYANA: They saw the angels...
SCOTT: But not the star.
GRANDPA: Thatís right.
STEPHANIE: So, if itís wrong why do you like it so much?
GRANDPA: Itís the story behind the song that I like so much. (Girls
to listen) That carol was first published in the 1830ís....
SCOTT: (Interrupts) 1833.
GRANDPA: (Sighs) Yes, 1833. But its story goes back perhaps as early
1500s. Itís unclear whether the song originated in England or France.
However, back then, only the priests could read the Bible. The common man
was left to pick up bits and pieces of Godís Word through sermons. Often the
common folk werenít allowed in the church.
STEPHANIE: Thatís rude.
GRANDPA: Yes, it surely was. Most men could not read and education was
for the wealthy. You know, it doesnít seem possible that an uneducated
peasant could write such a memorable song, yet, that is the story behind the
(The First Noel plays in the background as the stage fades to Scene
(Setting: A street market with a stall for bread and one for eggs)
DUNCAN: (Addressing Alexius) A loaf of your finest, dear Alexius.
ALEXIUS: (Giggles) Oh, Duncan. Such a high and mighty disposition for
DUNCAN: Perhaps, but there is, within this weather hardened exterior,
heart of a poet, maí lady.
ALEXIUS: (Excited) Oh, I love poetry, Duncan. Do you know some?
DUNCAN: I am laboring over one right now.
ANGUS: You canít write, Duncan. None of us can.
DUNCAN: Simply because we are peasants, does not mean that we can not
our ears or mind. Does it?
MURDO: What have you heard that causes you to think poetic thoughts?
DUNCAN: (Gathers in close and says in a stage whisper) I stood outside
Cathedral doors this Sabbath past. I heard the most wondrous things about Jesu.
ALEXIUS: (Gasps) The Christ?
DUNCAN: One and the same.
MURDO: Why were you not rebuked?
DUNCAN: I left before they came out.
MURDO: Clever Duncan.
ALEXIUS: Tell us what you learned.
DUNCAN: I have come to know something of the Blessed Jesuís birth and
is a song in my heart that will soon find a voice. When it does, I will share it with you.
GRANDPA: (Not visible but heard off stage as all Cast # 2, except ALEXIUS
leave stage) Months pass and as Christís Mass - the church celebration of
the Savior's birth - arrived for another year, Duncan was ready to share his
DUNCAN: (Walks in quickly - excited) My dear, Alexius, my poem has been
written on the tablet of my heart and I will share the words with you now.
(Enter Angus and Murdo)
ALEXIUS: How wonderful, Duncan. Say it for all of us.
(The First Noel should play softly in the background as Duncan recites
DUNCAN: The first noel the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in field as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winters night that was so deep
Noel. noel, noel, noel
Born is the king of Israel
(MUSIC STOPS ABRUPTLY)
DUNCAN: There is more to it, but thatís the start.
ALEXIUS: And a grand start it is Duncan.
ANGUS: Where did you learn so much about the Christís birth?
DUNCAN: As I told you before I listened to the priest.
ANGUS: But what of the Holy writings, you have not read them.
DUNCAN: (Looks forlorn) This is true. I would give anything to read
Holy Words, but the life to which I was born only allow me to use my ears to
learn and it is the fruit of listening that I give back to God with my song.
ALEXIUS: You said that angels came to the shepherds?
DUNCAN: Thatís a wondrous part of this story, dear Alexius. God could
asked the angels to go to the King or governor, but He didnít. He sent the
angels to tell shepherds.
DUNCAN: Exactly. (Pause as if it should make sense - then speaks in
exasperation) Donít you see? Blessed Jesu did not come just for the rich or
for men of high standing. He came for people like me. People like you. (Gets
excited) He was born in a stable, not in a palace. His mother was the wife
of a carpenter - not a governor. He came for all of us. Is it any wonder I
sing a new song?
ALEXIUS: Could you teach your song to us, Duncan?
DUNCAN: (Hesitates and then gets excited) Well, All right then.
GRANDPA: (Still off stage) Soon Alexius, Murdo and Angus had learned
song and as they sang together in the marketplace others joined them.
(Cast # 2 begin to sing The First Noel a cappella, others walk into
marketplace drawn by the song and join in the singing - when itís done the
cast stand quietly in wonder at the beauty of Jesus birth - Fade to black -
Cast # 1 back on stage)
GRANDPA: So, you see The First Noel was the working manís Christmas
A true Blue Collar Carol. (Chuckles - although the grandchildren donít get
it - clears throat) In any event, even though the star did not lead the shepherds to the manger,
this song has led many common folk to the birthplace of a king.
NYANA: So, when did they start singing it in church, Grandpa?
GRANDPA: Long after the writer of this carol passed on. In fact it would
over 300 years before it would be sung in church.
STEPHANIE: Thatís like - forever.
GRANDPA: Well, at the very least, a long time. Children would often
song as a round. (Pause) By the time it was published in the 1800ís it had
become such a well known carol that the Church of England included it in
their services with the enthusiastic support of the congregation.
SCOTT: I donít understand how an illiterate, uneducated man could write
song with errors in it and find such success.
GRANDPA: I think it had more to do with who he was writing about than
his qualifications were to write the song. He wrote it from a heart that
longed to know that Baby, and he sang with a heart of joy. Perhaps it is that
enthusiasm for Christ that has made it such a favorite carol for so many
generations. (Pause) Including mine.
(Grandpa starts singing The First Noel and is quietly joined by Cast # 2 off
Copyright 2001 by Glenn A. Hascall & CMI Publishing
If you use any of these scripts would you please be so kind as to let us know? glenn.hascall<a>gmail.com