This short drama can be used for the first Sunday of Christmas or for Epiphany.  It works best with young teenagers. The original version was written for two 14 year-old boys called Ben and Sam, but with a couple of minor adjustments (removal of the adverb “scornfully” for example) it could be equally appropriate for girls. You might like to substitute their names for the ones given. If you don’t have a band or music group in church, you could brief the congregation beforehand to sing the verses of the carol, as indicated.

Ben staggers on to the steps in the front of the church, with a huge pile of presents. Sits down in a heap.

Sam wanders on nonchalantly from the side.

Sam: What’s all this then?

Ben: (sounding a bit bored) Oh, it’s the presents I got for Christmas

Sam: Wow! Looks like a lot. Lucky you.

Ben: Yeah – I guess. They’re not all that good though. Did you get good things then?

Sam: Oh yes. I didn’t get a lot, but the ones I did get were brilliant!

Ben: So, what makes a good present then?

Sam: Let’s see. Well, it’s nice if it’s you know … attractive – beautiful.

Ben: (scornfully): What, like jewellery??

Sam: I suppose if that’s the kind of thing you like. But a gold fountain pen maybe, or a really shiny camera. Something like that. Something you can see is expensive, you know.

Born a King on Bethlehem Plain
Gold I bring to crown him again
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.>

Ben: You’ve got a point. Anything else?

Sam: Well, a really good present makes you feel that you are valuable. That you are worth something special to the person who gave it to you.

Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh,
Prayer and praising all men raising,,
Worship him God most high.>

Ben: Well, that’s two pretty good qualities for gifts. Sounds like someone got lucky this Christmas. That is all I suppose.

Sam: Well no, actually. I think the best presents of all, even if they might seem a bit odd at the time, are the things you are going to need even if you don’t really know it yet.

Myrrh have I, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering doom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.>

Ben: That’s a bit gloomy, but I guess you have a point. All those things the wise men gave Jesus in the Christmas story were real gifts because they did those things you say.

Sam: Yes. He was given gold, because it’s beautiful and valuable. He was given incense, to show he was to be worshipped, and he was given myrrh because he would need it at the end of his job on earth.

Ben: But wait a minute, wasn’t he – isn’t he, all those things himself?

Sam: What things?

Ben: Lovely. Attractive. God’s son as a beautiful baby, given to us.

Sam: Yes, and by giving his son to us, God showed us how much he loves us, how valuable we are to him.

Ben: And so much of the time, we don’t think we need Jesus at all. But we do.

Sam: Yes, we do. Isn’t he just the greatest gift ever!

Glorious now behold him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice,
Heaven sings Alleluia,
Alleluia the earth replies >

The whole congregation should be encouraged to join in the chorus. At the end of the singing Ben and Sam pick up the presents and exit same side as they came on. They stack the presents tidily in an appropriate place, then return to their seats.

© Richenda Milton-Daws, 2013