The Trip to Bethlehem

Actors: 3-4
Reference: Luke 2
Notes: We love doing Christmas skits, but we’re always aware of walking a fine line between being irreverent toward everyone’s favorite story and being saccharine sweet and preachy. This skit could have become preachy, except that the “lecture” is delivered through the unlikely character of the donkey, who furthermore does a very intentional imitation of Linus in Charlie Brown’s Christmas. This had the desired effect – the skit went over even better than we’d hoped. A word about staging: our congregation is small and our meeting place has no raised stage area, making it quite logical for us to perform this skit in the round. We wove our way in and out of the audience, which again worked far better than anticipated: one guy patted the “donkey” on the head, and another fed him a cookie! If your performance area is large, however, a stage is probably preferred unless you have wireless mics.

Full Script

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(brief note on the characters: Edna and Mary aren’t really listening to or playing off of one another with rare exceptions. They’re both wrapped up in their own little worlds, with Mary’s irritation growing as the skit progresses. Joseph is the “responder” of the group.)

(Mary, who should be “riding” the donkey - who is on all fours - dismounts.)
Mary: I am not riding this stupid donkey another kilometer!

Edna: Kilometer? Cubits are Biblical!

Mary: I don’t care what you call ‘em, I am not riding this donkey any further! Joseph, aren’t we there yet?

Joseph: No, it’s another 10 miles. You ought to be riding that donkey Mary, in your condition.

Mary: Don’t you tell me about my condition. If you were so worried about that, why are you dragging me to Bethlehem?

Edna: It’s just such a hot day. This would be so much nicer, say, in mid-winter.

Mary: I can’t believe you’re taking me 90 miles from home with nothing but a donkey. We should have a cart.

Joseph: (rolls his eyes and turns his head away from Mary, mouthing the next line w/ her – she’s clearly been down this path several times today)

Mary: Everyone else has a cart!

Joseph: You know we can’t afford a cart. It’s your own fault for marrying a carpenter!

Mary: My fault? You know good and well this is an arranged marriage society!

Edna: Arranged marriages are Biblical!
(Mary and Joseph roll eyes and trudge on in silence for a moment)

Edna: It’s just that it’s so dusty and sandy down here on the roadbed when the carts pass you. I wore my glasses today to keep out the sand, but it’s not working.

Joseph: I should think you’d be enjoying all this walking – it being so Biblical and all!

Edna: Oh sure, but when Moses led us out over the dessert at least there was food! Mana from heaven every day! In fact, you know what would be good right now? A great big juicy Sinai Kosher hot dog!

Joseph: You know, you are a distant relative. And right now that distance is sounding awfully good.

Mary: Why do your stupid relatives have to be from Bethlehem anyway? If they were from, say, Nazareth we’d have been there by now.

Joseph: Oh come on Mary, you know that we’re both of the house and line of David. Remember, the greatest king of Israel?

Mary: Fat lot of good being in his line is doing us now. We can’t even afford a pair of donkeys!

Edna: And it should have sauerkraut. Lots of sauerkraut.

Joseph: What do you want with two donkeys? You’re not even riding the one we’ve got now!

Edna: And onions!

Mary: And let’s talk about Bethlehem itself. It’s a hole. A nowhere! That town rolls up its streets at 5 o’clock. Nothing to do in the evenings.

Edna: And some really nice deli mustard – maybe even Gray Pupon!
Joseph (looking meaningfully at Mary’s belly) You don’t really look like you’re going to be up for much night-life.

Mary: That is not the point. (stopping dead and putting her hands on her hips.) The point is that I’m pregnant, I’m tired, I’m dusty, I’m hungry, and I have had it with this trip. Why are we doing this anyway? Can’t anyone tell me why we’re going to Bethlehem?!?

Donkey: (after a “beat.”) I can tell you Mary. (stands up and proceeds to center stage.) Lights, please. (in a conscious Linus imitation – watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas again if need-be!) “But you, Bethlehem Ephratha, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be a ruler over Israel.” (turning to Mary) Mary, God is delivering a great gift through you, and that’s why we’re going to Bethlehem. (gets back on all fours and walks off)
(Mary, Joseph, and Edna stare after him, open-mouthed.)

Mary: Did you just see what I think I saw?

Joseph: Err, yes, I think so.

Edna: You know, talking donkeys are Biblical.

All Three: Hmmmm…
The End

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