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In addition to the sketches and correlating lesson plans that make up the majority of the book, a short study of acting is included at the end...
In addition to the sketches and correlating lesson plans that make up the majority of the book, a short study of acting is included at the end of the book with its focus bent toward the Christian actor by understanding that everything a person chooses to do or not to do is based on a belief system.
Why is drama important in presenting moral principles? It's often difficult to repeat what was preached even a moment ago, much less apply it, yet we can all recall a song or story that we heard even decades ago. Likewise, whether you believe he is who he says he is or not, Jesus is remembered mainly because he didn't tell us which way to go...he showed us through the stories he told and the life he lived.
There are few things that can cause more chaos, gridlock and conflict than asking every procrastinator in the world to perform the same task with the same deadline. We call it Christmas Eve.
On the other hand, for the true fishers of men, there is no better time of the year with such a captive audience. Underscored with the glitz vs. substance theme, a shopper and store owner are pitted together with two distinctly different objectives. "All Things Christmas" shows one individual's creative way to make a point, prove her faith and redirect someone else's life for the better through some uncommonly good sense.
ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS
(ELEVATOR MUSIC underscores a quiet Christian Bookstore the evening before Christmas. The CLERK and the STORE OWNER are both behind the counter. LARRY enters impatiently.)
LARRY (to a patron) Do you work here?
LARRY (to another patron) Do you work here?
LARRY Does anybody work here?
CLERK (to owner) I'll take care of this one.
STORE OWNER (to clerk) No. Finish what you're doing.
LARRY Some of us would like to be home in time for Christmas.
CLERK (to Larry sarcastically) We'll be right with you.
STORE OWNER (to Larry) Thank you for your patience. Feel free to look around.
LARRY I know exactly what I want. I've got a list and I can pay cash.
CLERK (to owner) I'll smack that man so hard he'll hear jingle bells till Valentine's Day.
STORE OWNER (to patron at the counter) Would you like a bag for that? Thank you. Merry Christmas.
(Store owner crosses to Larry)
LARRY (to himself) I hate this time of year.
STORE OWNER (to Larry) Sorry for the wait. How may I help you?
LARRY I need a fifteen foot artificial silver Christmas tree, lights, bulbs, the works; something that says, "Christmas".
STORE OWNER I'm sorry. I think you mistook us for "All Things Christmas". They're down the street. We're "All Things Christian".
LARRY I've been there. There are a hundred people in line and you're the only store within twenty miles with an open parking spot. Just show me what you got. The bigger, the shinier, the better.
STORE OWNER You might like this. It's a 24 karat gold depiction of our Lord and Savior on the cross paying for our sins. I made it myself. The gold itself is worth $2,400.00. Do you like it?
LARRY Wow. Yeah. The detail is amazing. $2,400.00?
STORE OWNER That's just the cost of the gold. It's worth far more, but it's not for sale. I'm saving it for ... someone special.
LARRY If it's not for sale, then why'd you show it to me?
STORE OWNER You asked me to show you what I had so I did.
LARRY Let's just stick to the list, all right? One fifteen-foot artificial silver Christmas tree. Now that says, "Christmas".
STORE OWNER We don't have anything that size. We do have the family tree that depicts the generations and history from Adam to Jesus, but I don't suppose that's on your list.
LARRY Hello? Christmas shopping.
STORE OWNER You said you wanted bulbs.
LARRY Now you're talking.
STORE OWNER Here they are.
LARRY There's writing all over these things. Don't you have any plain old green and red bulbs or silver bells ... something that says, "Christmas"?
STORE OWNER Every bulb has a name of God engraved on it.
LARRY But they're all different.
STORE OWNER God has many names. And every name has a different meaning.
LARRY Don't you have anything with Rudolf or Frosty?
STORE OWNER You can find what you're looking for down the street.
LARRY It's no wonder you have empty parking spots. I bet you're the only store in 100 miles that's not selling what people want.
STORE OWNER Well saints be praised.
LARRY I hate this. Show me ... what do you call it? A nativity scene. You've got to have one of those.
(Store owner leads him to a nativity display.)
LARRY (Continuing) Well that's a start. Maybe I can spruce it up with some tinsel.
You wouldn't happen to have ... never mind. Wait. Where are the three kings?
STORE OWNER That's a fallacy. The three wise men weren't at the birth. Do you even own a Bible?
LARRY You take this way too seriously. People want the three kings. It doesn't mean anything.
STORE OWNER Everything means something.
LARRY Yeah. Right.
STORE OWNER The fact you weren't willing to wait in line means something. Everything we do or choose not to do says something about us. The fact you couldn't find a parking spot anywhere else means something.
CLERK The fact he parked in the spot marked "reserved" means something.
LARRY How does she know where I parked?
STORE OWNER I think you know why you came in here. Of all the stores you could have picked, you chose this one. That means something.
LARRY What does it mean?
STORE OWNER It means there's a part of you that doesn't want to be set off by another inconsiderate driver on the way to work. There's a part of you that's beginning to understand that being in control is an illusion, and that just because you can afford to buy something doesn't give it value.
LARRY I don't think I'm going to find what I'm looking for here.
STORE OWNER Maybe you should rethink what you're looking for.
LARRY Maybe. Merry Christmas.
STORE OWNER Sorry. No hard feelings?
LARRY Na. Merry Christmas.
(Store owner embraces Larry and slips the gold cross in his coat pocket. Larry exits.)
LARRY (continuing; to himself) That was uncomfortable. Now where are those keys?
(Larry discovers the cross.)
LARRY What the ... how did ...?
(Larry reenters. Store owner is back behind the counter with another customer.)
LARRY Excuse me?
CLERK We'll be right with you.
LARRY Excuse me?
(Larry waives the cross in the air in an attempt to get the attention of the owner.)
LARRY I've got your thing.
STORE OWNER Just leave it on the floor.
LARRY I can't leave it on the floor. It's gold.
STORE OWNER Then hold on to it please. I'll be right there.
(Larry looks at it closely and sees something deeper for the first time.)
STORE OWNER (continuing; to patron.) Thanks. Merry Christmas. (continuing; to Larry) How may I help you?
LARRY I'm sorry. I have no idea how I ended up with your cross.
STORE OWNER It was a gift.
Consider the Stars 9 LARRY I don't have time for jokes or any more lessons on the meaning of life. You said you were saving it for someone special.
STORE OWNER You don't think you're special? It's a free gift. Why can't you accept that?
LARRY You don't know me. No offence, but you're not my type. You don't know anything about me. You know what? You're nuts. Take it back.
STORE OWNER What's so hard to believe about someone giving something valuable to a stranger?
LARRY Because no one ever has? I wouldn't do it.
STORE OWNER If I don't give you something valuable, how are you ever going to really believe that Jesus would do what he did?
LARRY You know, I do like it. Your crazy must be rubbing off on me. I'll take it. How much do you want for it?
STORE OWNER I can't sell it to you. It's a free gift. There are some things you can't put a price tag on without devaluing. That cross in your hand represents over a month's worth of work for me, but you could work a thousand lifetimes and never come close to paying for what Jesus did when he paid for our mistakes. Do you know what I got when I accepted his free gift? Peace.
LARRY You're wrong. I didn't know why I came in here ... until now. May I please ... buy ... a Bible?
STORE OWNER I have to charge you full price.
LARRY Of course.
STORE OWNER I think you'll like this one.
(The store owner hands Larry a Bible. Larry hands the store owner money.)
LARRY Please keep the change. Merry Christmas.
(They embrace again.)
STORE OWNER Merry Christmas.
(Larry exits. The store owner finds the cross in her pocket and smiles. The clerk approaches.)
CLERK That is one crazy way to sell a Bible.
ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS
The Store owner's character has quite a lot to communicate in addition to delivering the memorized lines. She needs to show early on that she is "sizing up" the shopper. She has a very special gift to give and a very keen eye for the specific qualities of the person she'll choose to give it to. Unlike the shopper who makes frequent emotional outbursts, the store owner, because she is using a plan that has been successful before, should be emotionally controlled and able to resist any natural tendency of retaliation.
A Good Fisherman:
1. Knows where the fish are.
2. Knows what type of fish they're after.
3. Knows to use the appropriate bait and is willing to sacrifice it for the sake of the catch.
4. Expects a fight.
5. Is not easily discouraged.
1. Where should we be focused?
Proverbs 8:18-19, Riches and honor are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
2. What should we be doing?
Luke 19:10, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
3. What should we be avoiding? How do we avoid it, and why?
Romans 12:2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
4. How should we appear to others?
1 Corinthians 9:22-25, To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
5. What should we be looking for?
Hebrews 13:2, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
6. Why should we run the race?
1 Peter 3:8-11, Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Two small display tables
The store owner should have a smock or apron with large pockets.
Larry should have an overcoat with large pockets.
"The Battleground" is the last of the four sketches incorporated in a production entitled Act of God. Each Act of God sketch was derived from the Disciple's Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13. "The Battleground" takes the audience on a quest for the root of all evil, and is made up of several short vignettes and cameos by famous biblical personalities. In the performance of "The Battleground", each actor was required to play multiple characters. If a larger group is available, the work may also be executed on a 1:1 actor to role ratio.
To introduce "The Battleground" in the original production, the scripture verse from which it is based was read, "... and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil," followed by the following commentary:
"Most of us naturally want to protect those we care about from evil or temptation, but that's not what God does, is it? You see, he knows that it's not temptation that deceives us, but our own selfish desire, and we're the ones who allow evil to reign in our lives when we remain ignorant of the truth. Isn't it great to know that God's ways are not our ways?"
The devil's house of cards is a lot like a magician's illusion. Magic tricks prove that any one of us can be tricked into believing something has disappeared, or something that appears to be real isn't real at all, even though it could be right in front of us.
(Player 2 enters and stands next to Player 1. Player 1 pokes Player 2's shoulder.)
PLAYER 2 (to Player 1) I'm real.
(to audience) Illusions are great examples of what you can get away with when your audience can only see it from the front. If you had seen it from the side or from behind, you'd have figured it out like that.
PLAYER 1 So, if you want to maintain the illusion, you have to have a good strategy.
PLAYER 2 Not unlike playing a game of chess.
SKETCH 1 (Husband and wife are finishing a game of chess.)
PLAYER 4/WIFE I hate this game. I don't want to play anymore.
PLAYER 3 / HUSBAND You're only saying that because your mind hasn't been trained to think ahead.
PLAYER 4 / WIFE I'm thinking ahead to what I'm going to say the next time you ask me to play this silly game.
PLAYER 3 / HUSBAND Chess isn't just a game. It's the ultimate test of strategy; nothing to do with size or strength. I won because ...
PLAYER 4 / WIFE ... you're a bully and I hate you?
PLAYER 3 / HUSBAND Because I prepared a good defense. I distracted you with a clever move and attacked when you least expected.
PLAYER 4 / WIFE Why do I put up with you?
PLAYER 3 / HUSBAND Because you know that I'd die for you.
PLAYER 4 / WIFE You always say that but you never do.
END SKETCH 1
PLAYER 1 The devil isn't any bigger or stronger than we are, but he does have an age old strategy. He keeps us right where we are and distracts us from what's most important: Our relationship with God.
PLAYER 2 It seems like it's becoming more and more difficult to maintain that relationship.
PLAYER 1 But the question is why? And to answer that we need professional help.
PLAYER 2 You don't mean ...
PLAYER 1 Only the greatest detective ever. The one and only Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS Oh, Mr. Holmes. Thank goodness.
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES What seems to be the problem?
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS There's been a murder. It was the A.C.L.U. They killed God.
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON The Aclu?
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES The A.C.L.U. is the American Civil Liberties Union. Allow me to introduce my friend, Dr. Watson.
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS You don't believe me.
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES Did you see someone die?
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS Not someone. God. He's gone. It's like he never existed.
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON If Scotland Yard could hear this.
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS You must believe me?
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES Stay calm. We will help you, but it's important you tell us everything, even the slightest detail. When did you discover God missing?
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS When a friend asked me to prove God existed. I remembered God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. We've displayed them in our Town Hall as long as I can remember, but when we went to go see them they were gone.
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON I don't think that's going to hold up.
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES Wait. Let's assume it's true. To eliminate a witness you must discredit what they said or what they did. You mentioned the A.C.L.U. What are they doing now?
(Witness retrieves newspaper) PLAYER 4 / WITNESS According to this ARTICLE, the A.C.L.U. is trying to remove books.
(Dr. Watson reads article.)
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON Science books actually. These books show proof that the Grand Canyon is a result of the great flood of the Bible.
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES The A.C.L.U. is attempting to remove books that show evidence that the Bible is true? Interesting. I've been to the Grand Canyon. I remember all kinds of stories, Indian legends mostly. Tell me, is the A.C.L.U. attempting to remove all the books that disagree with the evolution theory?
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON No. Seems the only book they're targeting is the one about the Great Flood.
PLAYER 4 / WITNESS Why would the A.C.L.U. target just one book?
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES They're targeting only the one book because only the one book is true. What we're missing is the effect.
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON You've lost me.
PLAYER 3 / HOLMES Cause and effect Watson. The cause is erasing God. The effect is by erasing God the devil erases himself.
PLAYER 5 / DR. WATSON The devil erases himself by erasing the God who created him. Ingenious. But why would the devil want to erase himself?
Excerpted from Consider the Stars by John Lindsay Copyright © 2012 by John Lindsay. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What an exceptional group of faith based plays! Mr. Lindsay has created new ways to deliver powerful messages beyond the annual Christmas nativity play. After reading, I was inspired to be a better person and Christian. I recommend anyone associated with directing Christian productions or church plays find time to read this collection by Mr. Lindsay. I expect many of these will be acted out in churches throughout the country and become annual events.
Thank you Mr. Lindsay!