By Melinda Cousins
These three monologues were written to be used in a pre-Christmas service entitled "Not So Silent Night", which was part of a series called "Cracked Christmas Carols". We wanted to remind people that sometimes the pictures we have in our minds from Christmas carols and cards are a little bit too sanitized and pretty. Jesus came into the harsh realities of our world … which makes the incarnation that much more amazing to comprehend!
Innkeeper - man in mid 40s
Mary - young teenage girl
Shepherd - older teenage boy
You've never seen so many people! Flocking into town like herds of sheep and cattle. And bringing their herds of sheep and cattle! The town was like a zoo! The noise was incredible. Most people who live here just stayed home and shut the doors. Crowds wandering the streets, nowhere to sleep. And then these Roman officials marching through the town yelling directions trying to get people to organise themselves into families and clans ready to be counted. Beats me how they think they can do it.
There was no peaceful, silent night for me, let me tell you. Not when you've got an inn to run. Trying to keep all the customers happy - the place was booked solid for weeks. And every five minutes another banging on the front door. Another family with another bunch of animals and another sob story. 'Nowhere to stay, last minute trip, got waylaid back in Judea, can you give us a room?' You'd think they'd be able to tell from all the noise inside that we haven't got a piece of floor to spare! And the smell! Don't even get me started on the smell…
Anyway, this young bloke bangs on the door and I'm just getting ready for me "Can't you see we're full you idiot" speech when I see the little woman he's got on his donkey. Child bride that one, but looking like she's gonna drop a baby any second. And just as the crowd inside starts yelling, "No room, no room", I find myself saying to the young fella, "Look, I've got no rooms, but there's a little stable out the back, where we put the animals. It's not much but it's yours if you want it." I don't know what got into me. Must've gone plumb crazy from all the noise that night. But I couldn't just leave 'em in the street.
Well! You shoulda heard the racket they made all night. Animals bellowing, and the young girl a-screaming like there's no tomorrow! What with the running back and forth asking for hot water and cloths, you ain't never seen such a kerfuffle. And then this bunch of loony shepherd boys show up, with their sheep mind you, and start raving about some hallucination they had and singing songs and falling over themselves to see this scrawny screaming baby. I tell you … it's all enough to drive a man to drink. O yeah, I own a pub! Well, I'll be off then…"
I've never been so scared in all my life! My back had been aching all day, riding along those bumpy roads on the back of a donkey. And the crowds once we got to town! Joe kept trying to find us a room, but everything was full up, and then, just as things were looking like they couldn't get any worse, I felt this screaming pain ripping through my belly. I've never hurt so much. I mean, it's not like I've done this before! And then I'd be okay for a few minutes and then double up in pain again. You have no idea how much it hurts … that time last year I fell off the roof and cut my head open … that was nothing!!!
So then Joe finally finds us a place to stay, and it's a barn! There's animals everywhere, it's filthy and the smell!! That was no peaceful silent night for me, let me tell you! I'm not a very big girl, and pushing that baby out … man, it was like a thousand knives sticking into me the whole time. And Joe didn't know what he was doing. I mean, he's never even SEEN a woman's body before. He got freaked out by the whole thing. No doctors, no midwives, just me screaming and panting and crying and Joe running around like a headless chook trying to figure out what to do. And don't forget all the animals mooing and braying and squawking. And the people in the inn yelling out at us to pipe down out there. Pipe down!!! You try and give birth in a barn with only a husband who doesn't have a clue what's going on to help! Well, I'll save you all the gory details, but man it was so gross! But finally we had a little baby boy. All red faced and wrinkled, I don't know why anyone thinks a newborn looks angelic. And no one ever tells you about all the mess to clean up after! We put the baby in the animal's feed trough, guess he'll have to get used to doing things rough. And let me tell you, I've heard those songs about newborn babies sleeping peacefully and not making a sound. Don't you believe it! At least I know my little boy's got a good set of lungs on him!
Well, we finally got him down, and I was just starting to drift off to sleep, when someone's bashing at the doors and there's all these men and sheep and people yelling about visions and angels and songs. And they all want to look at the baby. None of them knew how to hold him properly, I thought they were gonna drop him or squash him or something, they were so excited. Telling us that this was the promised one, that our baby was from God.
Well, I already know that of course. How else do you think I got here in the first place?
It started out like any other ordinary night, you know the kind of thing. The three of us trying to keep each other awake by telling jokes and stories - the kind that aren't proper to be shared in mixed company. Anyway, me mate Levi's right in the middle of this ripping yarn when all of a sudden there's this strange white light in the sky. Dan reckoned it was a UFO at first but then it got closer and there was this voice! Man, you never heard anything so deep and booing. Nearly jumped out of me skin I tell ya! Levi was freaking out and Dan looked like he was gonna throw up. That's when I realised what it was. An angel! An angel! Man, I was so surprised I had to clamp me hand over me mouth before the words came out - not exactly fit for angelic ears if you know what I mean. I thought we were gonna die. My whole life flashed before my eyes and there wasn't much in it I was too proud of let me tell you.
But this angel, he goes, "Don't be scared." And I'm thinking, yeah right, don't be scared! How would you like it if you were just minding your own business and an angel showed up. But anyway, he says something about it being a really special night and a baby being born who was the one we've all been waiting for - the messiah. And then all of a sudden, the sky fills up with like piles and piles of angels and they're all singing these words of like glory and praise to God, let me tell you, this was no peaceful, silent night for me. You ain't never heard anything like it. I'm not a big one for all that cultural stuff but this was the most blimmin' beautiful singing you ever heard. It was like the whole world shoulda been able to hear, it was so loud, and clear, and well, amazing, that's what it was.
And hey, we didn't need no second invitation. Me and Dan and Levi just jumped straight up, not even thinking about the sheep, and we went into the town to the place the angel had said to find 'em. They weren't much to look at, smelly stable, bunch of noisy animals, this young girl who looked like she'd just run a marathon and the screaming scrawny baby.
You know, if I hadn't heard what the angels had said with me own ears, I prob'ly wouldna believed this was the right place. But there it was. Noise, smell and all. This was the promised one. Not a very peaceful or classy start. Wonder what this is gonna turn out like?
Copyright © 2004 Melinda Cousins, all rights reserved.
This script may be used without royalty payment, provided no charge is made for entrance to the performance. In return for free use, the author would like to be told of any performance. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org