Stage Set built using Stable Scene Backdrop Banner
Feel free to copy and use the following program. It really turned out nice, especially with all of the musical numbers and the live instruments. I have to give a huge shout out to my dear friend Rachel who wrote a song for the Young Women to sing at the well. She also put the entire program to pre-taped music so everything was on point!
Your best friend in such a huge undertaking will be delegation! I can not stress that enough because, being in charge, you will be very stretched thin and will want to enjoy the evening too. Ask those who will be happy and willing to help and who you can count on.
This was my stage in the over flow area of the gym. I used the curtains to partially cover stage left and right. The music was stage left. This is where the instruments were as well as most of the solo parts.
In the following program I let the Primary Children choose what they wanted to be (for the most part). I assigned the Junior Primary boys to be a Shepherd or an Animal of their choice. The Junior Primary girls could be an Angel or an Animal of choice. The Senior Primary children were Senior Angels or Senior Shepherds. Each Senior Primary child was assigned a little one (or two) in which they were in charge of so things would flow smoothly.
I got an okay to do one practice during sharing time on the Sunday before the activity and one practice in the gym on the stage area the night of youth activity.
I asked the Young Men to be Roman Soldiers and the Deacons guarded the doors, not letting anyone come in until it was time (the night of the activity).
The Young Women were asked to be women of the well.
I assigned all of the auxiliaries a booth to be in charge of. These same auxiliaries were in charge of brining decor like baskets and lanterns to fill their booth as well as work the booth during the evening of. I had sign up’s for most of the food and bought some. It was very inexpensive food wise. People were told to eat dinner before as it was all light finger foods and more like they would have eaten in Bethlehem. I wanted to make it seem as realistic as possible.
The stage was decorated with a nativity scene I purchased a Stable Scene Backdrop Banner. Buy it early. They sell out quickly. I covered every wall with stones and bricks that were huge rolls of plastic. I made a wooden frame and attached the plastic nativity onto it. This made it very easy but it looked amazing. I used a projector to project a starry night sky in the gym and hung a huge white star up above the stage.
Journey to Bethlehem Christmas Program
Roman Soldier’s guard the doors to the gym, welcoming all who enter Bethlehem.
Market Booths will be managed by:
Primary Pita & Bread Booth – Primary Presidency
Fruit Market – YW Presidency
Cheese & Olive Market – Elders
Pastry Shop – RS Presidency
Bishop’s Winehouse – Bishopric
Toy Shop – YM Presidency
Dreidel Song to be playing at the toy shop on a speaker. Teacher’s quorum to hand out dreidel game and teach the primary children how to play.
6:00 – Families in the Ward will be getting entering, getting food, visiting.
6:45 – Dreidel will be taught to the children & music will at that booth will be turned off.
7:00 Young Women walk up to well and preform song with instrumentals – written by Rachael
Around 7:05 pm, Mary (with a pillow to look pregnant) and Joseph enter the city (back of gym). Mary looks weak and pained, and Joseph is supporting her, asking people if they know of an Inn where there is lodging (you can word it how you want to).
Around the pianist and special instruments will play soft music from “Oh Holy Night” while the primary children come to the front and quietly sit in the audience directly in front of the stage. Mary and Joseph enter stage left and in front of manger area. The piano player & music stop playing.
Joseph: [asks the audience] Doesn’t ANYONE know of a place where my wife and I can stay?
Innkeeper: [enters the gym right carrying a basket of fruit, looking frenzied. He is worried about serving all the people in his Inn]
Joseph: Sir, can you help us?
Innkeeper: My, is she about to have a baby! Well my Inn is full, with all the people coming to pay their taxes, we just have a lot of visitors tonight! See all these people who are from out-of-town [gestures to the audience]. Yet your wife clearly needs a private place to stay. [Pauses and thinks] Here, come with me. I think I know a place that will do.
[The innkeeper leads the way off overflow door to the left, and then Mary and Joseph get set up in the hallway. This includes taking out the pillow, getting baby Jesus, and sitting on the hay on either side of the manger]
Congregation sings “Silent Night” (all primary children who are shepherds and animals quietly exit during this song and filter into the hallway right side)
Narrator: [stands on the gym floor, to the side of the over flow] “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger…” (Luke 2:6, 7)(Please don’t say any of the references).
Meanwhile, a singer comes from stage left and sings “Oh Holy Night,” accompanied by our pianist. (skip the verse about the kings from the orient)
Shepherds (cub scouts): [enter from the right on the floor in front of the stage and herd heard their sheep (jr primary) for a little while. Try to stay on the right hand side of the overflow in front of the manger scene]
Narrator: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8)
Shepherds & Animals song: “Stars are Gleaming”
Male Angel: [enters left and approaches the shepherds]
Pianist: [make some kind of magical sound when the light appears on the angel] Rachael provides a piano piece to be played while the Angel says:
Angel: “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger.” (Luke 10-12)
[the angel steps back and is joined by all the other angels (all activity days girls & jr primary angels who quietly enter left side). They sing, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”]
Shepherd #1 says to #2 and #3: “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” (Luke 2:15)
[Angels exit left and Shepherds exit right]
Narrator: “And they made haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:16)
They re-enter (except for older shepherd boys) and sit quietly in front of manger area.
During this time the Wise Men meet in the hallway and enter as the Narrator says:
Narrator: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.”
Wise Men enter left and sing: Arrangement of We 3 Kings
Kings & Shepherds:[they enter right on the stage and kneel in reverence behind the manger, facing the audience, and bow their heads]
Soloist Sings, “Away in a Manger” p. 206 accompanied by pianist.
Audience sings “Joy to The World” p. 204 (French Horn solo)
For more ideas to plan your Journey to Bethlehem Celebration see the following links:
Costumes: Easy Biblical Costumes for Children
The Program: Script and Inspiration