By Darlene Hight
Category: Slice of Life Illustration Ė Holiday.
Too often Christmas celebrations focus on all of the wrong things; high priced gifts and glitz. The true observance of Christmas is a time to remember the greatest gift bestowed on mankind, the birth of Jesus. This illustration shows the more important, yet simpler, observance of Christís birthday.
One older woman Ė Mrs. Martin
One younger woman Ė Andrea
Narrator Ė male or female
[Directorís note Ė costuming of both women should reflect lower working class attire.]
Table, chair and small end table.
Small fruit cake .
Knife, plates and simple tumblers for ginger ale.
Well worn bible.
Cat bed, with a realistic representation of a cat sleeping.
Small, simply adorned Christmas tree.
[Directorís note Ė staging of this illustration is key to its impact. Everything should reflect extremely modest furnishings; chair could be one with much wear, possibly a dated afghan tossed over the arm. Glasses could be old jelly jars. It should be evident to the audience that this isnít an affluent home]
General stage Ė low lighting with lights from Christmas tree.
Scripture: Matthew 18:20, Luke 2:1-7 NIV
Approximate Length: 5 minutes
Narrator: Matthew 18: 20, For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them. NIV
[Scene opens with Mrs. Martin sitting in chair, bible on table next to her]
Mrs. Martin: Well, Fritzie that was a lovely dinner. Nothing better than tuna, crackers and a little buttermilk to start our celebration. [Chuckles] Of course, I expect youíll sleep through it just like every year. Isnít that right Fritz? Well, thatís okay, you sleep. Iíve heard that animals wake at midnight every Christmas Eve and begin to low; probably no cats in the chorus.
[Mimes walking to the window and peering out]
OhÖÖit is a beautiful evening. I can just about picture the star lighting the way for the wise men on an evening just like this one. My, what a blessed night! What a blessed night!
[A knock at the door]
[Mimes walking to the door and answering it]
Andrea: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Martin! Or should I say, Merry Christmas Eve?
Mrs. Martin: Andrea! Iím so glad you decided to come. Isnít this a perfect evening?
Andrea: It sure is! I walked from the store and you should see how many stars are out, a beautiful night; not too cold either! [Looks around] Am I the first to arrive?
Mrs. Martin: Well Honey, you probably will be the only one Ė just you, me and Fritzie.
Andrea: [smiling] So this is the famous Fritzie! [A beat] I guess when you invited me for a celebration that I just assumed there would be more people.
Mrs. Martin: I did invite John from Piercesí bakery, but he and his wife always spend Christmas Eve quietly at home. I think thatís nice, donít you?
Andrea: He should spend Christmas Eve at home. That is nice! [A beat] Oh, I almost forgot. I brought you oranges. Itís not much of a present but I noticed that you didnít buy any fruit today.
Mrs. Martin: Youíre right, I didnít buy any. Instead, I walked the three blocks to the bakery. We have a nice fruitcake for our celebration. With the oranges, it will be a feast!
Andrea: A feast? I canít stay too late. I still have a lot to do to get ready for Christmas morning.
Mrs. Martin: Of course you do! Thatís how it is when you have a young family. But you will stay long enough to share a slice of fruitcake and a glass of ginger ale?
Andrea: Yes, that would be very nice, it sounds great! I have a few more gifts to wrap at home and I donít want to leave my poor husband alone with the kids all night. He probably had a fit trying to get them to sleep tonight. You know how excited kids get on Christmas Eve.
[They walk toward the table.]
Mrs. Martin: I canít say that I blame them. I still get excited every year, myself. [Chuckles]
Andrea: You donít mind being alone for the holidays then?
Mrs. Martin: Iím never alone not since the first day that I met Jesus. Sometimes, I miss my dear husband and my sweet babe, Paulie. I expect that I never quite got over losing him. He died when he was only five years old, leukemia; but Iím never alone. Jesus is with me every step of the way.
[Mrs. Martin pours ginger ale into two tumblers and slices fruitcake into two pieces. She begins to cut the orange but Andrea stops her]
Andrea: No, No, you save that for tomorrow. I want you to have them.
Mrs. Martin: Very well. It is so thoughtful that you brought me oranges. I love them this time of year. Have you ever wondered what sort of meal Mary and Joseph had that night? You know the night that Jesus was born?
Andrea: I never thought about it. I canít imagine that it was anything too grand.
Mrs. Martin: No, I expect not. [Both pause contemplating] I like to read the Christmas story on Celebration Eve. Would that be okay with you?
Andrea: Yes, please do. I would like that.
[Mrs. Martin picks up the bible and turns to the appropriate passage. They walk toward the window and look out as she reads]
Mrs. Martin: Luke2:1-7, "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
Darlene Hight is a writer from Southern Ohio. You can get to know Darlene a little better by reading our interview with her this month. If you would like to write to Darlene, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.
Enjoying Life...One Slice at a Time Ė Meet Darlene HightÖ
Interview by Debbie Porter
FWM: Darlene, youíve been an active member of FaithWriter since June, 2004, as well as working as part of the FaithWritersí Magazine team for twelve months. During that time, I think it would be easier to count the number of times you havenít entered the Writing Challenge, than to tally up the number of times you have. What is it about the Challenge that is so appealing...dare I say, addictive?
DARLENE: I started doing the challenges on a whim. I was in the middle of a Christian Writers Guild course which I found to be reasonably challenging and also included a deadline that I had to meet each month. I am the type of person who gives myself deadlines. For instance, with the novel that I am working on, I will set a certain number of chapters that I want completed by a target date.
Read Complete INTERVIEW...