The Rose Came With Thorns - a Christmas Cantata

By Steve Tichenor


A woman who is unexpectedly pregnant and due on Christmas Day resents her condition. She becomes reconciled as she discovers the Christmas story.
Songs are available for this script. See the foot of the script for details.


Two daughters
3 Wise Men


Song Segment
That Christmas Day   (Opening)    
Look Around
 (People come by the manger; choir comes in throughout song from everywhere and takes seat in choir loft. Christmas scenes on projector - could be scenes like the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, Times Square, busy city streets, choirs singing at malls, Santa Claus, Christmas decorations, etc….)

First Drama 

Miriam:     Yeah, yeah, look around, it's Christmas time!  Peace on Earth, Love, Joy….blah,blah, blah…. How 'bout a big ol' bah humbug from yours truly.  Oh I used to enjoy Christmas when I was a kid, but that was years ago.  And now here I am, 41 years old, kids almost grown, the time of life when I could do some things just for myself and, voila, I’m pregnant. Woop de Doo, tis the season to be PREGNANT!!! And the baby is due December 25th.  It’s just not fair.  Oh I know everyone’s excited.  You’d think my husband would at least have the sense to be upset, but he’s as excited as the kids.

(Mom and two little girls come up to the scene)

First Girl:    Mommy, mommy look at this!
Mom: Oh yes, honey, that’s called a Nativity scene.

Little Girl:    What’s a Nativity scene?

Mom:    Nativity means the process of being born. Here we see a scene portraying the birth of Jesus.

Second Girl:    Really?  Who are all these people?

Mom:    Let’s see, here’s Mary, and Joseph, and three shepherds, and……..

Little Girl:    Come on, Mom, that’s enough of this, let’s go to the pet store.

Second Girl:    No, not the Pet Store, I NEED to go to the mall!

Little Girl:    The Pet Store!!

Second Girl:    The mall!!!

Little Girl:    The Pet Store!! The Pet Store!! The Pet Store!!

Mom:       I think I’m just gonna go crazy!!

(Mom and girls exit, as Miriam watches and sighs)

Miriam:    I know how she feels! I think I’m going there too.  Christmas is just two weeks away, so much to do, so little time.  Everybody’s so excited, why am I dreading it so?

(Spot light fades on Miriam comes up on Vocalist)

Song Segment

O Come, O Come Emanuel
A New Song    (Dancers)    
(Bagpipes and Dancers Exit. Angels Rejoicing)      

Second Drama    

(Spot comes up on Miriam)

Miriam:    I must have been by this place a hundred times in the last month.  It’s a great location, I’ll give them that.  Maybe I’d appreciate it more if I weren’t so miserably HUGE!!  Santa Claus isn’t the only one with a big fat belly, at least he’s jolly!

(Drawing close to the Shepherd, she gets right up in Hosea’s face.)

Miriam:    Wow, this really looks real!

Hosea:  Of course it’s real!  What do you think this is anyway, a fairy tale?

(Miriam jumps back in shock)

Joe:      Hey Hosea, take it easy on the lady would you! As I recall, you had a few problems believing the reality of the situation a little while ago.

Adam:          That’s right Hoss, remember what you said when we saw the angels.
Hoss:      Ah shucks Adam, all I was saying was that I didn’t know if we should go traipsing after angels and a star in the sky when we should have been taking care of Pa’s sheep.  You know how mad he got last month when one of the lambs went missing?

Joe:     I know, I know, but it all worked out ok.  We found that little lamb and brought him back safe and sound.  

Hoss:    That’s right lady, we found our little lambie, (Hoss, coos and rocks the lamb)

Miriam:    (sarcastically)  Oh how sweet, you found your little lamb! How thrilling! What a bonanza!

Adam:    Lady, I don’t think you understand. These sheep are our whole life and to lose just one is a big hit on our bottom line.  It was a big thing for us to leave the whole flock to find just one. What if a wolf had come and killed them all, we’d be out of business.  That’s why it was such a big deal, leaving them and coming down here to see the baby.

Joe:    Yeah, we wanted to come and worship him, but if something happened to those sheep Pa would have skinned us alive.  They’d be hauling our carcasses off in a cart….

Adam:        Right!        

Hoss:     Yeah, you’re right about that little Joe, but then we realized who we were going to see.  The Messiah!  That’s something that don’t come around just every day! That’s when we all decided all at once. We’d trust Jehovah’s angels to take care of our sheep. We would go, and we did, so here we are!

Miriam:      Oh brother, I must be losing it all together.   It must have been those pickles and ice cream at 3 am.  This is so totally weird; I’m beginning to think I’m time warped in some old TV series.

Joe:     You thinking of something along the line of “Little House on the Prairie”?

Adam:        Nah, Joe, I think it’s more like “Touched by an Angel”

(Miriam throws up her hands and walks off stage.)

Song Segment

Listen to the Angels                    
Glory to God    
One Bright Star            

Third Drama    

(Miriam comes up to the manger and speaks to Joseph.)

Miriam:    Would you look at this old fellow. Wonder what his story is?

Joseph:    Actually, dear one, you and I are a lot alike. I was on up in years when some big changes took place in my life too.  When my sweet Mary came into my life, I had just about given up on marriage. Then the matchmaker brought her to me.  Such a lovely, sweet and pure little flower! You can imagine how I felt when I found out that she was with child. It was devastating.  This was my last chance at a happy home and I did love Mary very much. And then the angel visited me with the most wondrous story.  At first I thought that I must have imagined the whole thing because I didn’t want to put my Mary away….

Miriam:    Wait, what do you mean, put her away?

Joseph:    Well, you see dear one, in our culture, being an unwed mother was a very serious thing. Why the Law of Moses actually demanded that such a one be stoned to death. My only option was to secretly divorce her.
Miriam:    And when you saw an angel,  you thought your mind was playing tricks on you, right?

Joseph:    Yes, at first I did, but deep down inside, as fantastic as it seemed, I knew it was from the Lord.  Oh, it was much more than just my desire for Mary and my wish for a happy home. It became clear that this was all part of Jehovah’s plan.  This child would change the course of history, no doubt about that.  I felt a peace in all of that turmoil and it only took a second for me to decide that yes, I would be the step father of the child.  I would obey and I would provide to the best of my ability.  Yes, Lord, as always, I say again, I Will!

Song Segment

I Will                         
(Wise men come dancing in at end of song.)

Fourth Drama

Miriam:    Who are you guys.  Where did you come from and why are you here?

Wise One:      We are three wise men, we’ve come from a far.

Wise Two:      We’ve come to see the child.

Wise Three:     We’ve learned to follow God’s star, to obey his voice.

Wise One:    We bring gold!

Wise Two:    Frankincense!

Wise Three:    And Myrrh!  Yo! Break it down!
(Band reprises "I Will Jam" and the wise men dance off, placing their gifts before the manger. House lights fade to black, spot comes back up on Mary and house become quiet.)

Song Segment

Follow the Star            

Fifth Drama    

(After the song, Miriam tenderly looks towards Mary.)

Mary:       Yes Miriam, we share many things, even our names. I know this season of your life is difficult, but all of us who have seen the star understand what is required of us.  Following God’s will is like following the star.  When we see it, it provides the light we need to follow the path that He lays before us.

Miriam:    Oh, I just don’t know.  At times, I’m just so confused. You know I really am having a hard time with all of this.

Mary:    Yes, I can see that you are. Like you, I’ve known a few difficult times myself.  When it comes to accepting this beautiful bouquet from God’s hand, even though the roses have thorns, the sweet fragrance of His love makes it all worth while.

Miriam:    Yes, I guess you of all people have faced some pretty frightening moments.  How did you do it, how were you able to accept it all? Did you every feel like just giving up?

Mary:    Yes, I faced many sorrow and heartaches, and more, but there was always a way through it.  There was always the star, and the rose, you just need to take one step at a time and always trust, always trust……….

Mary tenderly embraces Miriam as she quietly weeps

Song Segment

The Rose Came with Thorns
(Solo dance, during Dancer picks up rose. Replaces roses at the end of dance)
(Miriam rises from Mary’s embrace and looks down at the manger.)

Miriam:  Something’s wrong here, I just can’t seem to understand what it is!

(Miriam picks up the roses and holds them at arms length .)

Miriam:    These roses sure are fragrant, and they are beautiful, but these thorns! I just don’t know.

(She sets the roses back down into the manger.)

Song Segment            

Have You Seen This Child?                                                 

Fifth Drama 

(Miriam picks up the roses again and holds them to her breast.)

Miriam:    Now I understand!  The reason I have been in such a bad mood and have hated this season so much is that my heart is as empty as that manger. I need to say "I Will" too.  I’ll embrace these roses, even with the thorns.  I know  I need the baby,  I need the Savior…..Lord, please come into my heart.

Song Segment

Ten Little Fingers            
(Altar invitation.)

Altar Song : How Deep the Father’ Love

Walking Off Segment 

I Will       
That Christmas Day                            
© 2003 Steve Tichenor, First Step Publishing, All Rights Reserved.
This script may be used free of charge, provided no charge is made for entrance to the performance. In return, the author would like to be told of any performance. He may be contacted at
Songs are available at