Okay, it’s December. It’s Advent. Christmas is coming. But it’s also a pandemic, and church is back to being online, not in person. How are we going to have a Christmas pageant? It’s time for the Zoom Christmas Pageant!
The Zoom Christmas Pageant!
A few years back I wrote a Christmas play. Better to say I edited it: the entire text is from the Gospels. I was thinking of it as a “readers theatre” production where the players would sit in a row of chairs and read their parts instead of acting them out.
- I thought it would be way easier that way. No costumes. No sets. No props.
- I thought it would be good to focus completely on the biblical story — no side trips into moaning about commercialism or materialism or other modern botherations.
I gave it a very creative title. I called it “Christmas Play.”
I just wove together the Gospel material:
- John’s prologue set it up, highlighting the coming of the Word.
- Matthew and Luke provided the action, their very different story elements woven into a single narrative.
- John’s prologue closed it out, celebrating the light which the the darkness cannot overcome.
Readers Theatre Becomes Fully Staged Production
As I worked out the harmonized story, I kept seeing the action in my head. I thought
Why not stage it?
I offered it to the folks who did the pageants each year at our church. They said
Sure — but you have to direct it
So I did. I chronicled it here on the ol’ blog.
My Little Play Goes Public
Then I decided to offer it to the world. I put it out on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. (That’s an affiliate link, by the way.)
And I set it up so that people could purchase licenses to produce the play through this very website.
And they did. Not a huge number, but a few every year, and from all over the country.
Back to Reader’s Theatre: The Zoom Christmas Pageant!
Then in 2020 a former student, now a pastor, emailed to ask
Could I get a license to produce the play for a Zoom service in Advent?
Well of course! What a great idea.
So if you are scrambling to find ways to do all the Advent worship traditions that make Christmas feel like Christmas, despite the fact that you are all at home and worshipping via technology, think about the Zoom Christmas Pageant.
It’s actually pretty easy. Readers theatre and Zoom go together perfectly
- You buy the production license with permission to make copies of the script for all your players.
- You divvy out the parts.
- Maybe you have a rehearsal or two to make sure everyone’s on the same digital page.
- When it’s time for the service, get all the players on line with webcams and mics turned on.
- Everyone reads their own part.
Together your congregation experiences the whole Christmas story, exactly as the Gospels present it.
My Solution to the 2020 Advent Problem
I hope you’ll think about using my Christmas Play for your Zoom Christmas Pageant.
It’s a great experience for the players — each one gets to think and feel their way through one biblical character in a new way.
It’s a great experience for the congregation — everyone gets to hear the whole story, in all it’s theological richness.
It’s absolutely the experience we need for 2020 — It’s a dark and scary time out there, and we really need to immerse ourselves in the hope, the wonder, the gift of Jesus, the Word made flesh.
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