Christmas Pageant 2000 for Banbury Crossroads Private Schools

This is just a shadow of the Logrus. The real Logrus is at

Copyright Pamela Jane Mclean 2000.

This is "Share" writing. Permission granted to schools, churches, and children's extracurricular programs, to use all or part of this work, on the provision that, if you use any of it, you must email me at to let me know when and where it was used, and make a donation to a charity adressing child poverty or  homelessness. You may insert different songs if you wish.

Christmas in Time and Space

by Pamela Jane Mclean

A Christmas Pageant in five Vignettes, for Schools in Multicultural Communities


 Bridget, a homeless child of about 6
Leah, her elder sister
Mother (of  Bridget and Leah)
A social worker
Santa Claus

Prehistoric tribesmen (Preschool class)
Prehistoric matriarch (Preschool teacher)

Maccabean Jews (Kindergarten/Grade 1 class)

Ancient Celts (Grade 2/3 class)

mediaeval Noble family (Grade 4/5 class)

Inn from the Cold volunteers (Grade6/7 class)

Sets: Prelude, interludes, and vignettes 1, and 3 will benefit from having a starry sky. This could be done with a black-painted paper sheet with holes cut in it , with a light behind it that could be turned off for the other vignettes. Several vignettes rely on a fire. This should be made with small logs stacked "log-cabin" style. Fire-retardent crepe paper flames should be attached on the inside in different lenghths that can be tucked inside the logs and unfolded at need, so that the fire can be made to "flare up": short red flames; medium orange flames; very large yellow flames. A sheilded work-lamp placed in the middle of the stack of logs makes the fire glow.

Prelude and interludes: Two garbage cans, representing an alley Properties: Matchbox, small flashlight,
Vignette 1: A small fire centre stage,  under an open sky Properties: Spears for tribesmen
Vignette 2: A lamp on a lampstand centre stage. A cardboard cutout statue of Zeus that can be toppled over. A small table covered with a table-cloth, on which is set a menorah with candles, stage right. Properties: Broken oil flask. Intact flask. Sign reading "Next Day". Sign reading "Seven Days Later"
Vignette 3: Stonehenge. This is just a little ambitious, but it is sufficient just to suggest Stonehenge with a pair of standing stones and capstone, painted on a sheet or a length of paper hanging from a banner-stand. The altar-stone can be made from a low table draped in a sheet painted to look like stone. The fire, with flames hidden inside and the light turned off, should be placed on the altar-stone. All the other stones are imaginary. Properties: Holly and ivy garlands. Magnifying glass.
Vignette 4: A mediaeval kitchen, with a large central open fireplace in which is a blazing fire. A stand for a spit, and a rack for the wassail bowl, stand before the fire. Properties: Wassail bowl, spit laden with apples, basket of eggs, honey pot, spices, wine-jug, mixing bowl for eggs, 2 wooden spoons.
Vignette 5: Iron bedstead and long table with cloth Properties:  wassail bowl,  menorah. Christmas Tree. Casserole dishes. Bedding.
Lighting: The lighting assumes two spots. It is desirable if a red filter can be placed over the centre-stage spot for vignette #1. The second spot is used to bring the focus back to Leah and Bridget, and should be relatively dim since they are supposed to be hiding in an unlit alley. In vignette #2, however, the second spot is also used to draw the focus to the lighting of the menorah which shows the passage of time, after which it will go back to focussing on Bridget and Leah. If lights are not available, Bridget and Leah should point centre stage when the action starts there and maybe say "Look" as though they are seeing a magical vision, to redirect the audience's focus to centre stage. Bridget and Leah should then sit as still as possible during the vignette. At the end of the vignette, the vignette actors can simply leave the stage, and Bridget and Leah begin moving and speaking again.

Prelude: December 24 2000 CE, an alley

The stage is dark. A spotlight stage left gradually illuminates a couple of garbage cans, representing a dark alley. Two children enter.
Bridget whiningI'm cold. I want to go with Mommy! Why do we have to stay here?
Leah:Mom said to wait here. She'll be back soon. She's trying to find us some place to spend the night.
Bridget:But I'm cold!
Leah:Come on over here, out of the wind. She sits down next to the garbage cans.
Bridget:I'm still cold!
Leah:Okay, sit on my lap and I'll help keep you warm.
Bridget:sits on Leah's lap. I'm scared too. It's dark.
Leah:When it's dark, you can see stars. Look up there. That's Cassiopea's Chair.
Leah:See, that kind of crooked W? There are millions of stars up there, you know. And every one of them is a Sun, just like our own Sun.
Bridget:Do you mean the Sun is  a star?
Leah:Yes, but it's special, because it's our star.
Bridget:Just yours and mine?
Leah:No, silly, we share it with everyone on Earth.
Bridget:Even the people in China?
Leah:And the people in Arabia, and Europe, and England, and Africa, and everywhere. We all live on the Earth, and the Earth circles around the Sun. That's why we have seasons.
Bridget: Like winter?
Bridget: Do they have winter in Africa?
Leah: Sort of. Winter happens when your end of the planet points away from the Sun. Africa's pretty much in the middle of the Earth. But South Africa is near the end, so I guess it has winter. But it's on the south end of the planet, so it points toward the Sun when the North points away from the Sun. We're in the North. It's summer in South Africa right now. But in a few months it will be summer here, and then it will be winter in South Africa.
Bridget:Is it always that way?
Leah:Always. Even in the days of the cavemen. After winter comes summer, and after summer, winter comes again.

In the bleak midwinter
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan.
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow; snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

The light fades on Bridget and Leah. A ruddy spot gradually comes on centre stage, where a tiny crepe-paper-and-light-bulb fire has been placed.

Vignette 1: Midwinter 2000 BCE

Cavemen return from hunting in twos and threes and gather around the tiny fire
Caveman #1It's dark.
Caveman #2It gets dark sooner every day
Caveman #3And stays dark longer.
Caveman #4Maybe soon, it will be dark all the time.
Cavemen:How will we hunt? What will we do?
Elderly Cavewoman:This has happened before. After many days, it stopped getting darker. Then, the nights became shorter again. 
Cavemen #1:Will it stop getting darker now?
Elderly Cavewoman:Yes, I think so.
Cavemen:Are you sure?
Elderly Cavewoman:Yes I am sure. The sun has just gotten tired. It needs to rest. She thinks hard, and has an idea We must help the sun so it can rest!
Cavemen:What should we do?
Caveman #2: I know! put lots of wood on the fire. 
Caveman #3: Make it really big!
Caveman #4:Big enough to help out the sun! The tribespeople hurry off and come back with branches to throw on the fire. It flares up brightly, and the tribesmen gather around to sing.

Burn Wood Burn

NB: I learned this song as a child, but never learned its authorship, or who holds its copyright. If you have information on the copyright or authorship of this song, please email me at
Burn, Wood, Burn
Wood, that was once a tree and knew
blossom and leaf and the spring's return,
Nest and singing, rain and dew,
Burn, Wood, Burn.

Bless, Fire, Bless
Play on the Lintel, Hearth and beam
Fill our lives with your loveliness
Red coal's warmth and  firelight's gleam
Bless, Fire, Bless.

Fade out spot centre stage, fade in spot on Bridget and Leah.

Interlude: the alley

Bridget: I wish we had a big bonfire! I'd feel very encouraged, then.
Leah:Wait a minute! Look what I found! She picks up a book of matches. 
Bridget:No! Mama said never to play with matches!
Leah:I'm not going to play with them. Remember my friend Miriam, from when we used to live in a house? Her mom showed me how to use a match safely, when I visited her house last year during Chanukka. Look, here's an old tin: I'll fill it up with snow to use as an ashtray, and I'll strike the match away from myself -- and you -- and keep it away from paper or wood or anything that will burn. We'll be like the little Match Girl.
Bridget:Who's the little Match Girl? What's Chanukka?
Leah:The little Match Girl was a story. She was poor and had nowhere to live or get warm -- 
Bridget:like us!--
Leah:but she had some matches, 'cause her job was selling matches
Bridget:Children don't have jobs!
Leah:Oh, be quiet! They did then. But nobody would buy her matches and she was cold and hungry--
Bridget:like us!--
Leah:so she burned the matches. Each time she burned one, she saw a beautiful story in the light.
Bridget:I want a story! Light the match! I want the story of Chanukka!
Leah:Alright...she lights the match.
The dim light around Leah and Bridget brightens, and then spreads to centre stage...

Vignette 2:  Chanuka 165 BCE

The Temple of Jerusalem. It is in shambles. Furnishings are overturned and smashed. Vessels of precious oil have been dumped out. A huge statue of Zeus stands before the Veil. A small lamp on a lampstand stands immediately before the veil, hidden behind the big statue. Jewish soldiers  rush in.

Soldiers:We've won! We've won! The oppressors have been driven out!
Soldier #1:Knock down the idol to their false God! The soldiers shove over the statue.
Soldier #2:Look! The lamp of God's presence is still burning!
Soldiers:Praise God! We must never let the lamp go out!
Soldier #1:Quick! find some of the refined oil so we can refill the lamp before the oil burns too low! There's only enough oil left in the lamp to burn for one more day!
Soldier #2:Here's the oil flask! He holds up the smashed, and obviously empty flask.
Soldiers:Oh No! What will we do?
Soldier #1:We must refine some more oil!
Soldier #2: But it takes eight days to refine the oil for the lamp!
Soldier #1:Well, we must start at once. The soldiers leave. A soldier walks across the stage carrying a sign reading "NEXT DAY". Soldier 1 and 2 return.
Soldier #2:Well, the lamp should be going out any time now. 
Soldier #1:It's still burning pretty brightly.
Soldier #2:Looking in the lamp. There's still quite a bit of oil in it. It might just last until tomorrow. Exit the soldiers. The spotlight shifts to stage right, where a boy is lighting a Menorah. He lights all eight candles. The spotlight shifts back to centre stage. A soldier walks across the stage carrying a sign reading "SEVEN DAYS LATER". The Soldiers return.
Soldier #1:At last the new oil is ready! Holds up oil flask. And the lamp is still burning!
Soldier #2:No! It's going out! The last of the old oil is nearly burnt up!
Soldiers:Quick! fill the lamp! Soldier #1 fills the lamp
Soldier #1:The old oil lasted just long enough for us to prepare new oil! It's a Miracle!

Hanukkah Torch of Freedom
Words and Music by Suzanne Hun Paterson; Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved; contact the publisher.

Cut spot centre stage suddenly leaving only the dim spot on Bridget and Leah

Interlude: the alley

Leah:dropping the match and blowing on her fingers Ow!
Bridget:Did that really happen?
Leah:Miriam's mom said it did. That's why they light all those candles in the special holder -- the menorah. That's the part I liked the best. Candles are kind of like little tiny bonfires.
Bridget:I wish we had some candles. I don't think its fair that the seasons make it be dark and cold.
Leah:Only in winter. There's spring, summer and fall too. In summer it will be bright and warm.
Bridget:Who invented seasons?
Leah:Nobody invented them, silly! People just kept track and figured out that they kept happening!
Bridget:What people?
Leah:Astronomers, I guess. Like the ancient Mayans and Babylonians -- and the Druids.
Leah:Yeah, like the ancient Celts who built Stonehenge.
Bridget:Ooh, tell me about them! Light another match!
Leah:No, I don't think the match was a very good idea. I nearly burned my fingers. We're lucky that's all that happened.
Bridget:(crying) But it's dark.
Leah:Wait a minute. She feels around in her pockets, brings out a tiny flashlight, the kind put on keychains. The battery's nearly dead, but we can pretend it's a match. Then, when the battery dies, it will be like the match burned out. Are you ready?
The dim light around Leah and Bridget brightens, and then spreads dimly to centre stage...

Vignette 3:  Yuletide 500 CE

We see the Standing Stones of Stonehenge; the altar stone in front of them; just before dawn. Ancient Celts come in bearing garlands of holly and ivy to deck the altar stone.
Deck The Halls with Boughs of Holly
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
Fal-la-la-la-la- La-la-la-la
'Tis the Season to be Jolly
Fal-la-la-la-la- La-la-la-la
Don we now our gay apparel
Fal-la-la-la-la- La-la-la-la
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol
Fal-la-la-la-la- La-la-la-la
Celt #1:Are you sure the Sun God will be born at dawn?
Celt #2: Of course. The bards and druids have been watching the position of the sun at dawn.
Celt #3:The stones in this circle have been placed to mark the quarter-days, the middles of the four seasons -- Ostara(Easter -- actually Lady Day), Midsummer, Mabon(Michaelmas) , and Yule
Celt #4:And also the cross-quarter days that are half-way in-between: Imbolc (Candlemas), May Day(Beltane), Lammas and Hallowe'en(Samhain).
Celt # 5:At mid-spring, when the SunGod was young, the first morning light shone right between those stones (points due East)
Celt #6:At midsummer, when the SunGod was strongest, the mid-day rays fell right there (points to high South)
Celt #7:At mid-autumn, when the SunGod died, the last light of the setting sun shone from there (points due West)
Celt #8:And this morning, when the sun rises, it will come right between those two stones and shine right on the magnifying glass the Druids are holding.
Celt #9:Then the bundle of dry twigs will burst into flame, and we will all have new fire to take to our own homes.
Celts:Here it comes! The sun is rising! Hurray! Two of the Celts lift up a large magnifying glass in front of the pile of twigs. A bright ray of light bursts between the two standing stones, and the twigs burst into flame (with a bit of  yellow crepe paper, an incandescent bulb, and little sleight-of-hand on the part of the druids holding the glass)
Historical notes on this section:
  1. I have used the common names for the quarter and cross-quarter days where the names are familiar but not obviously Christian (May Day, Midsummer, and Hallowe'en); otherwise I have given the Celtic names. Here are the Celtic names with the name of the Christian celebration that replaced it in brackets. The eight days are: Yule (or Christmas) on December 25; Imbolc (or Candlemas) on February 2; Ostara (or Ladyday) on March 25; Beltane (or May Day, or Saint Walburg's day, or Walpurgisnacht) on May 1; Litha (or Midsummer) on June 25; Lammas (the feast of first fruits, keeping the same name of "Lammas" in the Christian calendar) on August 1; Mabon (or Michaelmas) on September 25; Samhain (or All Saints Day, or Hallowe'en) on November 1. Note that the traditional calendar dates are actually 3-4 days after the solstices or equinoxes, apparently an artifact of calendar reform.
  2. Archeologists are not firmly agreed on the function of the stone circles: two common suggestions are that they had significance either as religious structures, or as astronomical observatories; perhaps both. The notion that the druids had optical glass, either for observing the stars or for focusing sunbeams to light a fire, is highly improbable -- but it makes a good story.

The Holly and the Ivy
The Holly and the Ivy,
when they are full well grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The Holly bears the crown.

Oh the rising of the sun
and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ
sweet singing in the choir.
or, the Holly Tree Carol

Cut spot centre stage suddenly leaving only the dim spot on Bridget and Leah

Bridget:Wow! Who was that Sun God they were talking about?
Leah:I don't know. But I know that when Christianity came to Europe, people celebrated the birth of God's Son instead of the birth of the Sun God. And instead of Yule, the old holiday, they called the new holiday "Christmas".
Bridget:Christmas! Hurray! Will it be Christmas soon?
Leah:Silly! It's Christmas Eve tonight.
Bridget dismayed: But Leah! Santa can't come down our chimney because we don't have a home anymore!
Leah:Shhh! Don't talk about it. I shouldn't have told you.
Bridget:Is Christmas only for rich people?
Leah:No, of course not! Remember the story of Mary and Joseph? They didn't have anywhere to stay either. And then there's the Wassail bowl -- that's a medieaval Christmas custom especially for poor people.
Bridget:Tell me about the Wassail bowl!
Leah:Okay, wait a minute. Let's see if the flashlight battery has come back at all...
The dim light around Leah and Bridget brightens, and then spreads dimly to centre stage...

Vignette 4: The Middle Ages

Enter a mediaeval family
Mediaeval Matron:Have we got everything?
Mediaeval Child #1:I have the apples! Brandishes a long spit, on which a number of apples are skewered
Mediaeval Matron:Roast those over the fire.
Eldest Child:I have the eggs! Holds up a large basket of eggs.
Mediaeval Matron:Break those into the bowl here, and beat them as hard as you can.
Mediaeval Child #2:I have the wine! Holds up a large jug.
Mediaeval Matron:We'll heat the wine in the wassail bowl. You stir it.
Mediaeval Child #3:I have the honey! Holds up a honey pot
Youngest Child:And I have the spices!
Mediaeval Matron:Stir those into the bowl with the hot wine
Youngest Child:All these delicious things mixed together! Mother, why can't we just have the wassail ourselves?
Mediaeval Matron:We have plenty to eat. Some of the peasants have barely enough to live. 
Eldest Child:Their hens don't lay eggs during the winter. They have no stores of honey and fruit. She stirs the beaten eggs into the hot wine.
Mediaeval Matron:Without warmth and good food, people become weak and ill. Some might even die.
Mediaeval Child #1:And Christ teaches us that, "From him to whom much has been given, much will be required". He slides the roasted apples into the Wassail, and takes a long savouring sniff. This looks more like a meal than just a hot drink!
Mediaeval Child #3:So, because we have so much good food and warmth, we should give to those who have less?
Mediaeval Child #2:That's right. We'll take the wassail bowl around to every family living nearby, and everyone will have some. Two children lift the full wassail bowl between them, and they process out, singing:

O here we come a wassailling
O here we come a-wassailling, among the leaves so green
O here we come a-wassailling, so fair to be seen
Love and Joy come to you,
and to you your wassail too,
and God bless you and send you a happy New Year
and God send you a happy New Year

Cut spot centre stage suddenly leaving only the dim spot on Bridget and Leah

Interlude: December 24 2000 CE, an alley

Leah:I think the battery is completely dead this time. Two women enter. Mother is tired, wearing shabby clothes that obviously haven't been washed in a week. The woman with her is neatly and casually dressed, carrying a small porfolio.
Bridget:Mommy! runs to hug her mother
Mother:Children, this lady is a outreach worker at the Drop-In centre. She has found us a place to sleep tonight.
Bridget:Will it be warm?
Leah:Will there be a mattress we can lie on?
Social Worker:It's warm, and safe, and there will be a bed for each of you. Some people at a church have put up beds in their church hall. They call it Inn from the Cold. Some of the people from the church -- and other people, too -- will be there to cook dinner for you. Some of them will visit and play with you until bedtime. And some of them will stay and watch over you, to keep you safe while you sleep. 
Mother:But this is Christmas Eve! Surely, they'll want to go home to their families.
Social Worker:We're all part of the Family of Man. Those volunteers think that you and Bridget and Leah are just as important a part of that family, as their own children are.
Bridget:How do we get there?
Social Worker:There's a bus that will take you there. I'm taking you to the bus, now.
Leah:I know, Bridget, let's pretend that we're going to visit our grandmother, and the bus is the sleigh that will take us there.
Over the River and through the woods
Over the river and through the woods
to Grandmothers house we go
the horse knows the way
to carry the sleigh
through the thick and drifting snow-o

Over the river and through the woods
Oh, how the wind doeth blow
It nips the nose and bites the toes
as over the fields we go.

Exeunt the women and children, fade out the spot; Raise a spot centre stage

Vignette 5: Christmas 2000 CE

Inn from the Cold: about fifteen folding bedsteads have been set up in the church hall, although only one or two may be visible on stage. Volunteers are making the last bed. Other Volunteers are laying out food on long tables. There is a Christmas tree in one corner. A menorah and wassail bowl stand on the table. The Social Worker, Mother, Leah and Bridget come in.

Social Worker:Let me introduce you to your hosts. These are Leah and Bridget, and this is their Mother. 
Inn Host #1:Let me show you your beds over here.
Leah:Real beds! And we each get our own!
Bridget:Look Leah! A menorah, just like you told me about!
Leah:And that big bowl looks just like the wassail bowl
Inn Host #2:Yes, but we're actually serving hot chocolate from it. Would you like some?
Bridget:Leah! Look! A Christmas tree.
Mother:teasingly Bridget! Look! Hot water and soap! She sponges down Bridget's face and hands. I was beginning to forget what you looked like underneath all that dirt. What a relief to get clean!
Bridget:It's just like being home! Mother looks sad.

I'll be home for Christmas,
Words by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent, Buck Ram; Gannon and Kent Music Co. Inc. All rights reserved; contact the publisher.
or, There's no place like home for the Holidays.
Words by Al Stillman; Music by Robert Allen; Roncom Music Co. All rights reserved; contact the publisher.

Bridget:Mother, is Santa Claus going to find us here?
Mother:Shhh! Beds and food are enough. You don't need Santa Claus.
Leah:What's that sound
Santa Claus:Entering  Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!
Bridget:Santa! She runs and gives him a hug. Did you bring something for me?
Santa Claus:Ho! Ho! Of course I do! I have presents for all the children!

 We Wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year

Good Tidings we bring
to you and your kin
Good Tidings of Christmas
and a Happy New Year

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year
Santa proceeds to hand out gifts to all and sundry, which coincidentally include the children, the volunteers, the prehistoric tribe, the Maccabees, the ancient Celts, the mediaeval family, and any other school-children present.

This is "Share" writing. Permission granted for use by schools, churches, and children's extracurricular programs, on the provision that, if you use it, you must email me at to let me know when and where it was used, and make a donation to a charity adressing child poverty or  homelessness.
Copyright Pamela Jane Mclean 2000.

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