CHRISTMAS IN JULY

 

 

Dear Readers, 

 

I've detoured from my current topic to bring you Christmas in July. There may be many of you who do not celebrate Christmas. However, "L31, L35: THE WISE MEN OF BETHLEHEM " is more than a Christmas story. It is a story of hope and unity for all people. It is a silent prayer for those who have been killed, tortured and victimized by acts of terror and violence.

 

Perhaps you and I can begin to bring people of different beliefs closer together by bringing these characters to life before an audience. We can put a small piece of the world on stage and look into our hearts and minds, uncovering the good and the bad that make us all part of the same human race, created in the image of God. 

 

Despite our beliefs and faults, God is still calling to all of His people, wanting no one to perish. Yet, the actions of many in the world show that they have already judged, condemned and carried out a death sentence for those they see as being guilty. God has told us to judge no man, lest we be judged. Only God is worthy to judge.

 

World peace and harmony is only a dream for now.  No one knows the day or the hour, but the dream will come true. Jesus will return and every knee will bow and call Him the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lord's.

 

Perhaps, this is where you and I disagree. Nonetheless, while we are riding together on this planet we call Earth, circling the Sun, we are witness to the violence, terror and atrocities inflicted upon those around us. Let us agree that we must come together to put an end to grief and suffering. 

 

Religion, filled with opposing ideology and doctrine continues to divide us, but true faith in God and obedience to His Word and commandment to love one another will bring us closer together.

 

Long ago, three Wise Men from different countries found this to be true and set aside their differences to embark upon a peaceful journey. They shared a common goal to find a child foretold of in a prophecy, who was to bring hope to the world. They withheld His identity and location from King Herod to protect Him from his wrath.

 

I pray that their story, told in quite a different and unique way to become relative to current world events, will offer some hope of a better world to come, beginning with you and me.

 

L31,L35:

THE WISE MEN OF BETHLEHEM

A ONE ACT PLAY by Mishael T

 

SCENE 1:  AWAKEN! 
(Wise Men and Wives)

 

Opening Scene:  Bedroom and terrace of Ravi, Bedroom of Ibrahim, Prayer room of Hakim

 

SCENE 2:  COINCIDENCE?
(Wise Men and Friends)

 

 The Wise Men meet and greet their friends and leave on their journey.  After bumping in to one another along the way, they discover they have a common goal.

 

SCENE 3:  DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS!
(Wise Men, Friends, Businessman, ISIS Recruits, Refugees)

 

SCENE 4:  JOURNEY’S END?
(Wise Men and Friends) 
The Wise Men arrive at their destination.

 

SCENE 5:  THE STANDARD!
(Wise Men, Friends, Angels, Voice, Jesus) 
 

 

SYNOPSIS

 

The time is December 2015.  The place is today’s Middle East.  Three wise men, each from different countries, hear the voice of God, telling them they must go on a journey to Israel, at a time when there is much unrest in the Middle East and the world.  They know they will have no peace until they obey.  God tells them that the journey must be made by land and they must arrive in so many days.

Each is given a set of numbers that stick in their mind, but they do not know what they mean, that is, until they meet up with each other and discover they need each other to complete the journey.  

 

God protects them, as they encounter strangers affected by hatred and violence in the world.  Each encounter brings to light the prejudice and hatred they hold toward one another. They learn to see the world through God’s eyes, as they trace the steps of their ancestors and the first three Wise Men, back in time.  

 

As they gain respect and love for one another, religion, race and ethnicity, nationalism and self-identity become less of a barrier to achieving a common goal.  Unbeknownst to them, they will meet a stranger, who will change their life and help them discover the meaning of their journey and the unconditional love of God for all of His children.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~


CAST 
(In Order of Appearance)

 

Ravi Kapoor - Wise Man 1, Young Minister of State from India

Lakshmi - Ravi’s Wife    

Ibrahim - Wise Man 2, Iranian Diplomat (Iran is formerly Persia)    
A devout Muslim, extreme prejudice towards western civilization 

Zahra - Ibrahim’s Wife    

Hakim - Wise Man 3, Ethiopian Ambassador to Yemen (Part of Arabia) A man of great faith in God; progressive     

Chahrazad - Hakim’s Wife    

Ravi’s Angel    

Ibrahim’s Angel    

Hakim’s Angel    

Sanjay - Friend of Ravi; a scientist with cartography experience       

Laurent - Loyal friend of Ravi, whose homeland is Mali, ex-military    

Ahmad - Ibrahim’s Assistant: a journalist and writer with fighting experience    

Reza - Ibrahim’s friend and advisor, former high ranking officer in the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps); a very capable man

Ali - Mentor, friend and advisor to Hakim    

Jamil - Friend to Hakim; a very well-trained and traveled ex-military man    

Youssouf- A successful businessman from Mali, Africa, returning home due to ISIS terrorism in Mali  

Boy 1 - ISIS Recruit    

Boy 2 - ISIS Recruit    

Boy 3 - ISIS Recruit    

Syrian Refugees        

Jesus: - Yeshuah, The Son of God, The Word (Logos)The Messiah, The Christ, Emmanuel, The Lamb of God, Saviour, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, The Lion of Judah, Son of David, Son of Man, Light of the World, Bread of Life, Morning Star, Counselor, et al.

 

MUSIC
Christmas songs and hymns

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

L31, L35:

THE WISE MEN OF BETHLEHEM 

 

SCENE 1:  AWAKEN! 

(Wise Men and Wives)

 

[INTRO MUSIC]

Opening Scene:  Bedroom and terrace of Ravi, Bedroom of Ibrahim, Bedroom and Prayer room of Hakim

[LIGHTS DIMMED]

These rooms can be imagined simply by moving to different areas of the stage, i.e., left, right, center, up and down stage; the altar area can be used as a prayer room for Hakim.

 

Wise Men and wives lie in bed.  The men mumble, toss and turn, as voices call out to them simultaneously. The voices are angels entering from the aisles.  Each angel stands behind the bed of a Wise Man, chanting his name and numbers.  The angels exit when Ravi begins to wake up.  When one Wise Man awakes, the other couples freeze, until it is their turn to speak.)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Bedroom and Terrace of Ravi

[LIGHTS UPON RAVIE AND LAKSHMI]

Ravi:    WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!!!

(He sits up screaming in his sleep.  He awakens, wiping the sweat from his brow, then looking around and seeing no one, he gets out of bed and walks to the terrace.  Sensing the absence of warmth from her husband, Lakshmi awakes and follows him.)

Lakshmi:    Ravi, what is it?!  You do this every night, for two weeks now.  I want you to see a     doctor. (She runs to him and puts her arms around him. Actors have their sides to audience to show that she is pregnant.)

Ravi:    No…I’m alright, Lakshmi.

(He pushes her away gently, as she tries to hold on, then, he  holds her stomach as they look down at her very pregnant form.)

It’s just this dream and voices I hear every night.  --Numbers and letters, repeating in my head over and over again.  It won’t STOP!  7031N, 7031N, 7031N…

 (She covers her face, shaking her head frantically--afraid for her husband’s sanity)

Lakshmi:    (Uncovers her face) What else do the voices say? 

Ravi:    They say I must go to Israel by a certain date, but the trip must be made by land.

Lakshmi:    That is insane!!! It’s too dangerous!  

(He looks hurt.  Realizing what she has said, she goes to him)

I don’t think you’re crazy, Ravi, but I do think you’ve been working too hard.  I’ll call the doctor in the morning.

Ravi:    No, Lakshmi!

[Music]

(They return to the bed and pretend to discuss the matter, until Zahra speaks) 

 

Bedroom of Ibrahim

[LIGHTS UPON IBRAHIM AND ZAHRA]

(Ibrahim is tossing, turning and waving his arms in his sleep, hitting his wife, over and over again.)

 

Zahra:    Ibrahim, Ibrahim!! Wake up!

(She screams at him, hitting him in the process)

You’re having a bad dream!

(She hits him with a pillow)

Ibrahim:    AAAAHHH! What do you want, you crazy old woman!!  Why are you hitting me!

Zahra:    Well, you can’t keep beating me in your sleep.  The public and my friends will wonder how I got black eyes.  What do I tell them, my husband beats me every night?!! 

This has been going on for almost two weeks.  I’m not getting any sleep.  I have bags under my eyes.

Ibrahim:    Those have been there for the last twenty years.  They match your double chin. Oooww!

(His wife hits him again with the pillow and he clenches his heart to fake a heart attack.)

Zahra:    OHHHH! Ibrahim!! I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it. Speak to me!

(Ibrahim reaches over and kisses her hand, laughing. She hits him again, then, rolls over to go to sleep.  He sits up in bed and grabs the pillow, holding it under his arms.)

Ibrahim:    Now, let me tell you about my dream again…

Zahra:    Not tonight, Ibrahim.  It’s late.

Ibrahim:    --the voices and the numbers--1956E, 1956 E.  I tell you it is Allah speaking to me.  And do you know where He’s telling me to go?)

Zahra:    Yes, Straight to H…

Ibrahim:    ZAHRA!!!

Zahra:    (exasperated) Yes, dear, to Israel!  Go ahead and go to Israel--In the midst of aaaall the terrorism in this world.  Perhaps, Allah is giving you His address!  Tell him you don’t  have to go to Israel to die.  You might die tonight, if you hit me again in your sleep.

[Music]

 

Prayer Room of Hakim

[LIGHTS UPON HAKIM AND CHAHRAZAD]

(Hakim is kneeling, praying.  Hakim’s wife kneels at her husband’s side and begins to pray.  Feeling her beside him, he turns to look at her. Sensing his stare, she keeps her head down with her hands folded, then, speaks.)

Chahrazad:    You’re up again, very late, Hakim, praying.  What’s wrong?

Hakim:    I’m still having the visions and hearing the voices repeating the same thing 31N 35E.

Chahrazad:    Would you like me to make your flight arrangements to Israel, dear?

Hakim:    No, Chahrazad, the trip must be made by land. 

(She looks at him in disbelief, then, holds her head in her hand.  Hakim rises.)

Hakim:    I will leave tomorrow and take Ali and Jamil, in case there’s any trouble.

(He goes to her, pulls her up and wraps his arms around her.)

 [Music]

 

Bedroom of Ravi

[LIGHTS UPON RAVIE AND LAKSHMI]

(Ravi argues loudly with his wife, who is sitting on the bed.)  

Ravi:    Lakshmi, I tell you I must go or these dreams will never stop!  I must leave tomorrow to     get there on time.  Don’t worry; I know Sanjay and Laurent will come with me. I will be back in time for the baby. Believe me.

(His wife begins to quietly weep.  He puts his head in his hands.)

[Music]

 

Bedroom of Ibrahim

Ibrahim:    (sitting up in bed) I’ve decided! I must obey Allah! I will leave tomorrow for Israel!

Zahra:    Thank you, Allah for answering my prayers. Now, I can get some sleep.

Ibrahim:    Zahra, I am SERIOUS!  I’m leaving in

(He counts on his fingers and holds them up to her, as if she’s looking.)

TWO days!

Zahra:    (She sits up in disbelief and seeing the determination in her husband’s eyes; she reaches to hug him and weeps.

Ibrahim:    Now, now…enough of that. I won’t go alone.  I will ask Ahmad and Reza to go with me.   Do you feel better now?

(She nods her head, as he kisses her forehead.)

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

[LIGHTS DIMMED OR OUT]

[ACTORS EXIT]

~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

SCENE 2:  COINCIDENCE? 

(Wise Men and Friends)

 

The Wise Men enter separately to meet and greet their friends, then, exit off stage, carrying backpacks, they depart on their journey. Hakim, Laurent and Ali are first followed by Ibrahim, Ahmad and Reza, then,  Ravi, Sanjay and Laurent. 

(This scene is optional.) 

Wise Men and friends make their entrance from aisles 

 

Hakim, Laurent and Ali make camp center stage; then, Ibrahim, Ahmad and Reza stumble upon Hakim’s camp; followed by, Ravi, Sanjay and Laurent. After bumping into one another along the way, they discover they have a common goal.

 

[MUSIC]

 

[ENTER HAKIM, LAURENT AND ALI]

 

(Laurent, hearing feet approaching, jumps to his feet and draws his weapon. )

 

Laurent:    Who ARE you?

Reza:    (pointing his weapon) --Who are YOU?

(The men circle; pointing their weapons at one another, full of hate. Ibrahim, recognizing Ravi as an Indian diplomat, lowers Reza’s weapon.  Reza looks at him surprised)

Ibrahim:    Stand down, Reza.  I will tell you who they are.  This (pointing to Ravi) is Ravi Kapoor, a diplomat and one of the Ministers of State to the Prime Minister of India—a very wise young man.  –And these must be his trusted associates, Sanjay and Laurent.

(Ravi rises in amazement and surprise.)

Ravi:    (Apologetically) --Forgive us Your Excellency, but you are the last person I would expect to find out here.

Ibrahim:    Oh?  --And I you.

Ravi:    Please, come, sit down!  I will explain. 

[Music plays as they chat.  Reza and Laurent stand guard.  Hakim and his men arrive.]

Reza:    Who goes there?!

Hakim:    We come in peace!  There are three of us!

(The men, seeing weapons raised, raise their weapons in a stand off, as do the others.  Seeing the familiar faces of diplomats, Ali chuckles)

Ali:    (laughing)--Yeeess…I recognize the faces.  Are we here for a secret summit meeting, gentleman? Shall we make war or peace?

(He nods to his companions to lower their guns and the others follow.)

Ibrahim:    Have a seat gentleman!  This is Ali, my old diplomatic nemesis and his protégé, Hakim, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Yemen.

Ravi:    This reminds me of…

(His friends pull his hat down over his eyes.  They begin to get acquainted and exchange information.  Ahmad begins his continual journaling in his notebook)

 

[Lights dimmed or out then rise when Hakim speaks]

 

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

~~~~~~~~~~~~
 SCENE 3:  DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS!

 

(Wise Men, Friends, Businessman, ISIS Recruits, Refugees)

 

Hakim:    (Stands to his feet, waving his arms)--I don’t want a religion based on bondage; hatred and conquering people and lands! “What profiteth a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? When I was living in Paris…     (He is cut off by Ibrahim)

Ibrahim:    Bah! (Disgustedly)  Listen to you! You’ve lived with the infidels, now you SOUND like the infidels--hypocrites!

Hakim:    Listen to me!  RELIGION has removed the heads of innocent men!  ISIS recently killed innocent people in Paris and AL-QAEDA in Mali! The Taliban and other religious extremists have tortured and killed their own people in the name of religion. 

Ibrahim:    Those are not true Muslims! (--pointing and shaking a finger at him) 

Hakim:    The practice of religion enslaves young girls to a life of shame! I want a relationship with God that gives me freedom and truth!  --Not a religion that puts chains on me and tries to limit and control my life AND APPROVES OF THE KILLING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE!

Ibrahim:    Our religion has kept the infidels from occupying our country!

Hakim:    Infidels! Infidels!!  You make a mockery of your religion! Where is your faith and trust in God? Where is your unconditional love?!!! You spread hatred because it butters your bread. And, it places the eyes of the world    upon you so that you feel important and in control! RELIGION breeds HYPOCRITES who claim to bring God glory, but who steal it for     themselves! You have been brainwashed to be loyal to false doctrine and ideology!

Ibrahim:    And this, coming from a man whose autocratic government cares little or nothing for its people.  --Allowing mutilation of young girls’ bodies and watching its people starve from famine to famine.  You are the hypocrites! And what do YOU know of loyalty to one’s country and people? You’ve taken a wife from Yemen…

Hakim:    LEAVE MY WIFE OUT OF THIS, OLD MAN!

(Hakim lunges for Ibrahim, Ravi steps in between the two men)

Ravi:    Gentleman, PLEASE!  Every nation in the world is guilty of mistreatment of women, civil rights violations and irresponsible governments!  We are educated men—scholars. Let us not become part of the problem, but instead, become part of the SOLUTION! How can this talk help us, NOW!?  WHY are we here?!  We can’t all be insane to have shared similar dreams telling us to come here.  Let’s work together to solve the present problem. Where do we go from here?  Whatever we do next, we must do it together, putting our differences aside!

Sanjay:    Okay Mister Diplomat, where DO we go from here?

Ravi:    Weeeell…

(Ravi takes several comical stances and clicks his fingers)

I’ve got it!  Let’s start out by comparing our dreams.  My numbers are 7031N.  --Ibrahim?

Ibrahim:    1956E

Hakim:     31N 35E

Ravi:    --And we were all told to go to...

(Leaning over, he raises his arms as if directing a symphony orchestra, until all the men chime in.)

ALL:    ISRAEL!!

Ravi:    Now, let’s try to figure out what the numbers mean.

 
(They start thinking and writing in the dirt.  Ahmad writes frantically as usual. Sanjay borrows paper and pen from Ahmad, then, takes out his cell phone.  Moments pass.)

 

Ravi:    Well…

(Sanjay jumps up, yelling, looking very pleased with himself, then hands Ravi a slip of paper.

Sanjay:    I’VE GOT IT!!  --Get out your cell phones! Go to Google!

(Everyone moans and grumbles)

Sanjay:    Wait—wait!! Put the numbers into your cell phone like this-- Read them Ravi. 

Ravi:    31 point 7031N comma 35 point 1956E

Sanjay:    Now, turn the paper over, Ravi.

(Ravi stares at the paper, while the others stare at their phones in disbelief)

Ravi:    Bethlehem?

Ibrahim:    Gentleman, we are on our way to Bethlehem, as did our ancestors before us from India,     Persia and an Ethiopian from Arabia.  We are the Three Wise Men of the Twenty-First Century.  --Joined by a fourth wise man, wiser than ALL of us.

(They all look at Sanjay, who is beaming.  Ibrahim throws up his hands.)

Ibrahim:    NO, NO, NO, GOOGLE, OF COURSE! (He waves his hand at them all in disgust)

Ravi:    (Putting his hand on Sanjay’s shoulder) I’d like to thank my scientist and cartographer friend, Sanjay, who figured out the numbers were coordinates on a map.

ALL:    Good job!
(Some of the men shake Sanjay’s hand.)

Ali:    Well, It’s clear that we were meant to meet and we need one another to complete this journey, gentlemen.

Ali:    Alright, we know that our destination is Bethlehem, but what are we supposed to find there—a baby?

Ravi:    This reminds me of…

(He ducks as the men groan and pick up something to throw at him. He chuckles and says…)

Ravi:    Missed me!

(Then, he gets hit by a flying object from one of his friends.  Everyone laughs and begins to relax around the fire,except for the guards.)

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

 

Encounter with ISIS recruits: Jamil, Ali, Laurent, Sanjay, Reza, Ahmad and three youth

 

(Two young men walk slowly upon the camp from the aisle. Jamil spots them first and jumps to his feet, followed by Ali, Laurent, Reza, Sanjay and Ahmad.)

 

Jamil:    WHO GOES THERE?! (He calls, drawing his gun)

I SAID, WHO GOES THERE?  HALT or I’ll SHOOT!

(Two young men enter with their arms raised.  A third boy comes behind Jamil and overtakes him.  He tussles with the three young men.  
 (Reza comes to help him and they send the three boys running off. One boy looks back and shouts at the men)

Boy1:    We are going to join ISIS and one day we will rule the world!  

(Shaking his head in sorrow for the boys, Reza tries to help Jamil, but Jamil jerks away.)  

Jamil:    (bitterly, dusting himself off)--Thank you, but, I could have handled them myself!

(Reza retreats to the campfire.)

Hakim:    Are you alright, Jamil?!

(Jamil nods and takes a seat, clearly shaken.)

Ali:    Young men want to feel that they belong to something—that they have a place in the world—they want someone to show them how to be men—something to relieve their hopelessness, pain and suffering—look at their clothing, they have nothing…

Ahmad:    (interrupting)--but, ISIS attracts the rich and poor because they EMPOWER people.  They promise them something better now and in the future.  Men want to be able to provide for their families. Is the world today providing these opportunities for them?  No!

Ravi:    The question is-- WILL the world offer them these opportunities?   NO!  Mix opportunity, food AND shelter with false doctrine and the feeling of empowerment behind a gun and BOOM!!! 

(He makes his arm into a high powered rifle and looks through the scope, pointing at his friends, then, makes the sound of a huge explosion.)

Laurent:    That’s preposterous!  They fight a religious war for an Islamic State and Sharia Law!

Sanjay:    —but what makes someone want to strap a bomb to themselves and blow themselves up?

Hakim:    They want someone to blame for their poverty, suffering and loss; and the opportunity to punish those people.  They have become bitter.  ISIS and Al-Qaeda feed them more hatred and revenge--the illusion of martyrdom and paradise filled with virgins.  And don’t forget that most of them have been pumped up with drugs.

 

Ali:    You are both right and you are both wrong.  They believe opportunity and religion both empower people and use them both to control others, but that is why they will never win.

Ahmad:    And why do you believe that?

Ali:    I believe in the Truth!  And what is the truth? —God!  He is our provider!  And despite what it looks like, He is in control! –But--He is testing us, to see if we will trust and obey.

Ravi:    Here, Here!

(Ali opens his Bible, bookmarked to PSALM 46 and reads)

Ali:    God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.    

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth. 

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. 

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. 

Hakim:    Psalm 46--Amen!--and we can do nothing without Him! Our faith must be completely in Him!  The Word of God says, “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage.”  What kind of god do they serve who leads them into destruction?  Their faith and loyalty is misplaced and God is a jealous god.  They have become the mechanism for their own self-destruction. HATE is not of God.

Ravi:    Here, Here!

Hakim:    God is love.

Jamil:    (looking around carefully)--We need to leave here NOW! 

If ISIS is close by, then we are in danger. Perhaps, they said that to scare us, but we can’t take chances.

(The men prepare to leave)

Ravi:    This reminds me of…

(He looks at his friends, grabs his backpack and runs.)

(The men exit)

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

 

Encounter with Syrian Refugees

(The men enter from the aisle, while refugees come from the opposite direction.)

 

Reza:    Quiet!  There are hordes of people headed this way!

Jamil:    Are they armed?

Reza:    I can’t tell; Mostly women and children.

Ibrahim:    Not to worry.  They are poor refugees…probably Syrian. NO ONE wants them!

Reza:    Quiet!

(Several refugees walk by, clearly suffering.  The men stand ready.)

Ali:    Where has our humanity gone? Where is our spirit of giving and helping our neighbor?

Ibrahim:    It hides behind fear and greed; no one is willing to risk their life for another or share what they feel is theirs alone.

Reza:    Who wants to risk lives by bringing in hostile aliens?  It is every man for himself!

(A woman and child stumble by, held up by an angel.  Other refuges follow helped by angels, also. The men cannot see the angels.) 

Jamil:    Does God not see their suffering?

(Some shake their heads and raise their hands in prayer as they reach the stage.  A man in the crowd lingers on and approaches the men.  The men hold up their weapons.)

 

Encounter with Mali Businessman: Wise Men, Friends, Youssouf

 

(Youssouf holds up his arms in peace)

Youssouf:    Please!  Please!  I come in peace!  I am not a refugee.  I am just traveling with them. May I rest here for a while?

(The men remain vigilant, but invite him to sit by the fire.  Youssouf begins to warm his hands)

Youssouf:    I am Youssouf--a businessman from Mali, trying to return home to my family, because of the terrible tragedy, but I met with some bad men and lost everything; so, it seems that God has redirected my steps.

Laurent:    I bet you could kill them for robbing you and leaving you stranded. 

Youssouf:    I do not hate them.  I have my life!  You cannot feed the spirit hate.  It can only be fed by the Word of God.  They are malnourished people—empty shells, who have been blinded to do the bidding of Satan. Neither do I hate the terrorists for killing my friends and destroying my business in Mali.  They are missing something—someone—and have no peace.

(Drawing a pencil from behind his ear, Ahmad, once again writes furiously in his notebook, which he habitually carries around.)

Laurent:    Missing someone?

Youssouf:    (pauses looking at Laurent)…yes—they need Jesus!

Laurent:    (scoffs and waves Youssouf off with his hand)

Youssouf:    Yes, The Truth, The Way and the Life! The Sacrificial Lamb and Son of God!  He is the only way to conquer the darkness in this world! 

Laurent:    You must be a Christian (He says contemptuously)

Youssouf:    I am a man of Truth, and the Truth is God!  I did not always believe this way.  Most of  my life, I lived as a devout Muslim, but I too was missing something. I had no peace, no true understanding of God’s perfect love and my purpose in life.  ---Or even how to truly love people.  I needed something to maintain and sustain me from moment to moment  and day to day. I did not know what I was missing until I found it--that is--HIM—Jesus.

(Laurent sneers and scoffs) 

(Continuing to write down everything enthusiastically, Ahmad looks up attentively to inquire of Youssouf)

Ahmad:    a-a-and how did you find Him?     

(Not wanting the tension to be elevated, everyone looks at Ahmad, annoyed.  Ahmad, hunches his shoulders, sheepishly puts his head down and continues to write.)

Youssouf:    While in a hotel, I tripped over a book on the floor and almost KILLED myself!

(Everyone laughs, even Youssouf, after a moment of looking at them)

Youssouf:    No… HONESTLY, I tripped over a Bible.  I was on a business trip and things were not going well.  I was bored and curious, so I began to read it. When the hour of prayer came about, I kneeled to pray, but I could not stop thinking about Jesus. I wept as I thought of all the violence in the world and I began to talk to Him about it.  Then, I heard “Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  I was drained, so I laid prostrate on the floor. 

(He feels he must show them and lays face down on the ground, then, hops up)

I laid there saying, Jesus I give myself to you, fill me with Your Peace…I kept crying out JESUS, JESUS, JESUS and I felt the CHAINS falling from my body!!! Hallelujah!!     (He Praises the Lord)

[OPTIONAL MUSIC AND DANCE]

[Lights dimmed or out until Angels near stage)]

(Angels enter from aisles dancing.  Actors freeze until after dance.)

 

Youssouf:    Hallelujah!! (Shouts and dances, praising the Lord, Ad lib)

Ibrahim:    (Interrupts)--It is dangerous to talk about such things in the Arab world today, Youssouf

Reza:    And we are in dangerous territory.

Youssouf:    (catching his breath) Forgive me, but, “No greater love has a man than to give his life for a friend.”  Jesus gave his LIFE for me, FOR ALL OF US!—God cared so much that He sent Him to me.  He is always with me, now.  That is why in the face of adversity, I have such PEACE.  I am returning home to help others find peace and do what I can to provide for their needs.

Hakim:    God be with you.

Youssouf:    He is, my friend.  He is.

(Laurent goes and stands in Youssouf’s way, looking formidable. Everyone quickly stands, expecting a confrontation)

Laurent:    (smiles and laughs) I am from Mali, too, my friend. Thank you for helping my brothers and sisters. Peace, be with you.

(He gives Youssouf money from his pocket)

Youssouf:    And with you, my friend.
(They embrace and kiss both cheeks.)

(Ravi draws a handkerchief from his pocket and pretends to wipe tears from his eyes)

Ravi:    This reminds me of… 

(Again, he dodges flying objects and retreats from groans and shouts)

All:     Awww…sit down, be quiet, not again, etc. (ad lib)

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

SCENE 4:  JOURNEY’S END?
(Wise Men and Friends)

 

When they arrive at the coordinates, there is nothing there.  They believed they are in the wrong place.

 

Sanjay:     According to my readings, we have reached our destination, gentleman.

ALL:    WHAT?!

Jamil:    No! There must be some mistake.  There is nothing here.  I’ve been to Bethlehem before.   It’s that way.  

(Points with his arm in a direction)

Jamil: Check again.

(Sanjay recalculates his readings)

Sanjay:    THIS is it!

Ravi:    (Sounding very downhearted)--We’ve come all the way here for nothing?

Jamil:    I say we go on to Bethlehem!

Reza:    (Sarcastically)--There’s nothing there either.  I say we go home.

(They begin to argue amongst themselves (Ad lib). Most of them want to leave, but Hakim shouts above all the other voices; breathing heavily; at his wits end.)

Hakim:    NOOOOO!  “I will not miss my blessing or disobey God!”  I’m staying here! Here I will STAND at these coordinates, aligned with God between Earth and Heaven, waiting for the favor of God.

 Since the first night the dreams and voices began, I have been praying and fasting; asking God, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!!  I want an answer! I MUST HAVE AN ANSWER!

(He covers his face with both hands, about to sob, falling to his knees. Ravi, understanding Hakim’s feelings, too well, goes to help him up.)

Ravi:    I understand my friend, we cannot return home without an answer.

(The men search one another’s faces to gather an opinion and consensus.  Then, slowly resolve to find a place to rest.  Night falls.)

[Lights dimmed or out, until stable scene is moved to stage and Angels reach men.]

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

~~~~~~~~~~~~
 SCENE 5:  THE STANDARD!

(Wise Men, Friends, Angels, Jesus)

 

[Music plays softly]

(Enter Jesus, who lies down within the stable)

(Enter Angels from the aisles, as music plays softly. Angels each wake their Wise Man, then, beckon them to follow them to the Stable.  When the Angels reach the stable, they kneel and praise Jesus.)

[OPTIONAL MUSIC]    This time can also be used to raise the volume of the music for the angels to perform a liturgical dance, then, kneel before Jesus after the song.)

Ibrahim:    This wasn’t here before! Are we dreaming?

Reza:   No, Ibrahim, we can’t all be dreaming.

[Lights shine brightly upon the stable]

(The men are afraid to approach the stable, but the angels beckon them to come, pointing to Jesus lying down.  As they slowly approach the manger, the light is almost blinding.  They hold up their arms shielding their eyes as all of a sudden, a loud voice startles them, reading: Philippians 2: 4 - 11)

Voice:   Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

(At the sound of the voice above, they spin around looking for where it is coming from.  Seeing no one, they look to the sky and fall to their knees--speechless.  Some begin to weep.)  

Voice: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

(Jesus rises and stands still, with head humbly down, palms of hands and arms turned out to welcome the men.  The voice from above rises even more.  The men weep profusely and fall to their knees.)

Voice:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Jesus lifts his head and speaks.)

Jesus:    Ravi-to praise, praiseworthy;

(Ravi lifts his head in amazement, unable to speak) 

Jesus:  Ibrahim-Father of nations, Friend of God;

(Ibrahim lifts his head and begins to praise Jesus and weep) 

Jesus:  Hakim-wise, insightful 

(Hakim raises his arms praising God)    

Jesus: Sanjay-triumphant

(Sanjay looks up and bows his head and puts his hands together prayerfully in honor)

Jesus: I have been waiting for you and you and you.  

(He points to all of the men and walks toward them. The men look at one another—astounded.  Jesus beckons them to stand up. )

Jesus:    My Father, YOUR Father is raising up a standard.  You are the fruit of Our Father’s love.  From you will come seeds to spread amongst the field for the Harvest. 

He has not forsaken mankind.  Nor, is He blind to the spread of darkness that covers the Earth and the evil that has overtaken the hearts of your people and mankind.  Men have become sores that cannot heal, festering with hatred.  The only cure is the perfect love of God.  They lack faith in God to make them whole and they cannot and will not be whole until they accept and unite with The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit as One.

 The people perish for lack of knowledge--knowledge of God.  Neither do they understand the order of things.  There is only one Way—God’s Way.

They believe they can create their own order, one that inflicts pain and bondage upon their neighbor and keeps them in bondage to sin.

Man must learn the order created by God and take heed to His Word; God’s will is to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

All is created by the Word of God. All belongs to God.
Only God can finish the Work that was begun in His creation.
Those who labor in hatred and not in love—labor in vain.

 (Voice recites Proverbs 3:1-7)

Voice:    My sons, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil

[MUSIC RISES]

Voice:    So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

[soft music]

Jesus:    My brothers, you do not live in a fallen world, for God never fails.  Sometimes our Father must allow the bowels of the Earth to shake and wake the sleeping; waves of darkness will flood the land; many will perish.  Those who are awake must rescue drowning souls for the Kingdom.  

Our Father has awakened you, that you may bear His standard.  If you believe and have heard the call to battle, receive me and bear my cross.  

I am the Truth, The Way and The Life, by which all men come unto the Father and abide in abundant and eternal life.  Receive us, and the Holy Spirit of God shall rest and abide with you now and forever more.

(Jesus raises His hands, looking up to Heaven)

[MUSIC RISES]

(Men receive God’s Holy Spirit and begin to worship and praise Him and respond to Jesus’ words.   

Jesus:    Look not on the troubles of the world in hopelessness, my brothers. It is time for you to BELIEVE!

Look not on the evil of the world as defeat. It is time for you to claim VICTORY! 

Look not on the flesh of men as the enemy. It is time to remove the veils and scales from the eyes of men and SEE WITH THE EYES OF GOD!

Do not clothe yourself in the lust, greed and selfishness of this world. It is time to put on the ARMOR OF GOD!    

Do not judge and condemn the world. It is time to TRUST AND OBEY GOD!    

Do not wait for others to change. It is time for YOU AND YOUR HOUSE TO RAISE THE STANDARD!

Do not be like the trees who do not know their season. It is time to bear FRUIT!  

Do not grip tightly what God has given you to share. It is time to GIVE!

Do not harden your hearts against those who do evil, lest it overtake you. It is time to LOVE.

STAND in holiness!

STAND in righteousness!

STAND in peace and you do not stand alone; for the God of Heaven and Earth will never leave you or forsake you!

STAND, doing all for the glory of our Father, who alone is worthy of praise!

Brothers, like your forefathers, you have been anointed and chosen to go and plant the seeds of thy wisdom, given unto you by the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Spread the Good News!  Christ Jesus, the Son of God, that same Jesus of Nazareth, born in the town of Bethlehem lives!  The Kingdom is at hand!  Be fruitful and love thy neighbor as thyself until the day of my return to fulfill the glory of the Lord, thy God, bringing peace on Earth and goodwill towards men.

(The men continue to praise God.  Jesus and Angels exit)

[INTERLUDE MUSIC]

[LIGHTS DOWN OR OFF]

The men are at the edge of the stage smiling and hugging in fellowship, except for Reza and Laurent, who are center stage exchanging personal items from their backpack as gifts.

The men notice Reza and Laurent exchanging gifts. 

Knowing they may never see one another again, the others decide to follow their example and exchange items from their backpacks.

Exhausted from praising, overcome by all the warmth and goodwill, Ravi [center stage] smiles and says…

Ravi:    This reminds me of… 

(He covers his eyes, waiting to be attacked, then, peeks out of two fingers.  The new friends embrace him.)

Ravi:    This reminds me of CHRISTMAS!

ALL:    MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

(They all exit to begin their journey home)

[FINALE MUSIC]

 

THE END

 

(Curtain Call)

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

DIRECTOR -

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR -

MUSICIANS -      

SCENERY -

PROPS -

LIGHTING -

SOUND -

COSTUMES -

MAKE UP -

HAIR -

PROGRAMS -

PUBLICITY -

REFRESHMENTS -

SPECIAL THANKS: 

 

PASTORAL STAFF:

Pastor - 

Assistant Pastor -

Assistant Pastor - 

 

YOUTH DEPARTMENT STAFF:

Youth Pastor -

Youth Director -

School Superintendent -

 

HOSPITALITY STAFF:

Chairperson -

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

CHARACTER ANALYSIS FOR DIRECTOR AND ACTORS
(In Order of Appearance)

 

•    Ravi Kapoor:    From India; A successful diplomat who questions his faith; very educated and     scientific; behaves more like a stereotypical nerd or geek; provides comic relief

•    Lakshmi:    Ravi’s wife: A young woman, expecting a child, who must remain strong for her husband. 

•    Ibrahim:    Iranian Diplomat (Former Persia); devout Muslim, extreme prejudice towards western civilization

•    Zahra:    Ibrahim’s wife: A feisty woman who has just as much wit and humor as her  husband.

•    Hakim:     Ethiopian Ambassador to Yemen (Part of Arabia), a devout man of God; a man     of great faith and compassion towards mankind; strong leader; very educated and     progressive; extensive knowledge of western culture; studied in France

•    Chahrazad:    Hakim’s wife: A woman of Yemenite birth; strong faith in God and her husband

•    Sanjay:        Friend of Ravi; a scientist with cartography experience

•    Laurent:         Loyal servant of Ravi, whose homeland is Mali

•    Ahmad:         Assistant to Ibrahim; a journalist and writer with fighting experience

•    Reza:        Friend and advisor to Ibrahim; formerly high ranking in the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps); a very capable man

•    Ali:        Mentor, Friend and Advisor to Hakim

•    Jamil:        A friend to Hakim; a very well-trained ex-military man, who has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East

•    Ravi’s Angel - Messenger from God, Praise Dancer, Refugee helper

•    Ibrahim’s Angel - Messenger from God, Praise Dancer, Refugee helper 

•    Hakim’s Angel - Messenger from God, Praise Dancer, Refugee helper 

•    Youssouf:    Mali Businessman ; Returning home because of ISIS terrorism in Mali  

•    Boy 1:    ISIS Recruit, angry and hostile

•    Boy 2:    ISIS Recruit, angry and hostile

•    Boy 3:    ISIS Recruit, angry and hostile

•    Refugees:    From Syria; tired, hungry and angry

•    Jesus:    Yeshuah, The Son of God, The Word (Logos)The Messiah, The Christ,  Emmanuel, The Lamb of God, Saviour, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, The Lion of Judah, Son of David, Son of Man, Light of the World, Bread of Life, Morning Star, Counselor, The Redeemer, et al.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Published by Mishael T