By Dougie Paton
A family out Christmas shopping discovers there are parallels between the Christmas story and today's world.
Sally & Jack (brother and sister)
Abigail (innkeeper's wife)
Rachel (2nd innkeeper)
Jack: How much longer are we going to be? Weíve been in town all day. Itís cold and wet and we never go into any decent shops.
Sally: You mean we never go into any computer game shops. Stop moaning. It is Christmas you know. Itís good to exchange presents.
Jack: Why? You should see some of the things people gave me last year Ė hankies with my initials on them, and socks in horrible colours.
Sally: You shouldnít be so ungrateful. Lots of people in the world - and even some here in Glasgow - donít get anything.
Jack: Iíve got a drawer full of hankies they can have, if they like. Anyway mum, what am I getting?
Mum: Stop fighting, you two, Iím not enjoying this any more than you are. Thereís not that much shopping left to do.
Dad: Good, Iíve got that rehearsal at 6.00 for the watchnight service. (sings loudly) ďHark the herald angels sing, glory to the new born KingĒ.
Jack: Thatís another thing, why do we have to go to church so much at this time of year? Itís bad enough going every Sunday. And whatís the point of Christmas, apart from presents of course? Tell me that Sally, if youíre so smart.
Sally: You see that guy over there selling the Big Issue? Heís probably got nowhere to sleep tonight. Thatís where the Christmas story starts.
Jack: So heís homeless? So what? Whatís that got to do with Christmas?
Mary: Joseph, Iím exhausted. Itís been a long journey and Iím sure the babyís coming soon. Are you sure thereís no vacancies anywhere? Where are we going to sleep tonight?
Joseph: Weíve already tried a dozen or more places. Why you canít register for the poll tax at your own home town, Iíll never know. Look hereís a door we havenít been to yet.
Abigail: Can I help you?
Mary: Weíre looking for a bed for the night. Weíre desperate. Have you got anything, anything at all?
Abigail: Iím sorry dear, Iíve got Ďem sleeping in the restaurant, itís so busy. You could try Rachel Jacobsonís place. Itís up the back lane over there Ė not much passing trade. She just might be able to squeeze you in. You expecting a happy event dear?
Mary: Yes, our son will be born soon Ė thatís why weíre desperate to find a place to sleep.
Abigail: Your son? I wouldnít get your hopes up - it could just as easily be a girl after all.
Joseph: Er Ö anyway, thanks for your trouble. Weíll try your friend. Goodbye. Come on Mary.
Mum: I canít believe Iíve reached the end of the list Ė Uncle Frank. I say uncle..., but heís not a real uncle, of course.
Jack: Who is this Uncle Frank anyway? Isnít he that hippy guy we saw at your anniversary party last year Mum?
Mum: Heís not a hippy Ė he just likes things from India. Reminds him of his young days in the sixties.
Jack: And now heís nearly in his sixties! What are we getting him?
Dad: Hereís a CD of Indian music. Or how about some of these incense sticks?
Sally: Thatís really funny.
Mum: What do you mean, dear?
Sally: Donít you get it, Jack?
Jack: Mum, I think all this shoppingís made her go mad. Get what?
Sally: Our last gift Ė Frankís incense. Thatís why we give presents. Because they did.
Jack: (exasperated) Who!
Sally: The wise men of course. They brought presents to JesusĖ gold, frank - incense and myrrh.Thatís why we give presents. And I suppose weíre remembering that Jesus is Godís present to us.
Jack: That makes some sense, I suppose. But it was a very long time ago. Itís hard to imagine what it must have been like.
Joseph: Excuse me, are you Rachel?
Rachel: Yes, thatís me Ė what can I do for you? You look worn out.
Joseph: Weíre desperate for some shelter. Your friend across the road said you might have something.
Mary: We were hoping you could help us. You see, my babyís about to be born.
Rachel: Well, in the circumstances, I might have something. (thinks for a second) No, it's too smelly and dirty.
Mary: What is it? Weíll take anything.
Rachel: Itís just the shed where I keep the animals. Itís not great but you canít have the baby on the street.
Joseph: Certainly not this baby.
Rachel: Eh? Itís just through this passage way ...... here. Iíll leave you to it. If you need help, just give me a shout. Goodnight.
Joseph: Itís not very nice dear, is it?
Mary: Itíll be perfect.
Joseph: Perfect? For an ordinary child perhaps, but not for this chosen child. There should be trumpets and queues of royalty paying homage.
Mary: We donít have any choice. Anyway, maybe God has provided this place for his own reasons. Maybe this place will be important for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
Joseph: This dump?
Mary: I donít mean as a place. I mean it might be important for them to know that the chosen one was born in an ordinary place around ordinary people. Not in a palace. Iíve a feeling his whole life will be spent in helping ordinary people. Itís good that he should start out this way.
Joseph: Anyway, you try to get some rest - Iíve a feeling youíll need it.
Sally: Jack, mum says have you finished hanging up your stocking - or should I say 2 metre bin bag?
Jack: Tell her Iím just coming. Iím just checking out something in my bible.
Sally: Your bible! When did you last open that?
Jack: Never mind that. I just thought Iíd check out some things the minister said at that service tonight. Theyíve made me think?
Sally: How do you mean?
Jack: I always used to think Jesus was just a baby in a stable 2000 years ago and not much to do with me.
Sally: And have you changed your mind?
Jack: Yes, Iíve got a feeling Jesus is forever and not just for Christmas Eve.
Copyright Dougie Paton, all rights reserved.
This script may be performed free of charge provided no entrance fee is charged. In return the author would like to be told of any performance. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org