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La Posada: A Christmas Skit

Donald Hinchey

Use this traditional Mexican drama with your kids to tell the Christmas Bible story

La Posada is an honored and traditional Mexican drama at Christmas time. In Mexican cities and towns, children dressed as Mary and Joseph go from house to house only to be refused shelter. This interactive La Posada skit invites children to experience the plight of Mary and Joseph and the care of their God.

INTRODUCTION

Before the drama, read aloud Luke 2:7, part of the well-known Christmas Bible story. Then say: How terrible it must've been for Mary and Joseph to be in Bethlehem that first Christmas night. There was no room for them anywhere. They were homeless. They'd come from Nazareth-from their cozy, comfortable little home to a very crowded city where there was no room for them.

Ask: Have any of you ever been in a place where there was no room for you?

Say: Let's imagine ourselves in this Bible story and put ourselves in Mary and Joseph's place that first Christmas night. Who would like to be Mary in our drama? Who would like to be Joseph? (Choose two children) Let's pretend our room is the town of Bethlehem.

SETTING Form pairs for each inn. Arrange the innkeepers around the room. There could be as few as one inn, or as many as 10 to 12. Extra children can serve as cows, sheep, camels, trees or beggars. Encourage these kids to ham up their roles in the drama when Mary and Joseph come near.

Have the innkeepers each choose a name for their inn and prepare a sign to hold up. Possible inn names could be "Bethlehem Holiday Inn," "Eli's Bed and Breakfast" or "Abraham's Trailer Park."

Have the last innkeepers Mary and Joseph come to in the drama make a sign that reads "(Your church)...Visitors Welcome" and a sign that reads "No Room in the Inn."

When all the children are ready, have them take their positions around the room. Then have them turn with their backs to Mary and Joseph.

Tell Mary and Joseph to go from inn to inn, just like in the Bible story, and to ask the other children to take them in for the night. Mary and Joseph can bribe, plead, grovel-anything but use physical coercion. (We suspect that Mary and Joseph were basically nonviolent people.)

Give children a photocopy of the Christmas Bible Story drama dialogue below. Encourage children to ad-lib as they go.

When Mary and Joseph come to an inn, the innkeepers should turn around and hold up their sign. Encourage the innkeepers to be creative in refusing the couple. Possible reasons to turn Mary and Joseph away could be: "Your stomach's too big," "We haven't cleaned house" or "You couldn't afford us."

Christmas Bible Story Drama DIALOGUE

Mary: Hello, my name is Mary and this is my husband, Joseph.

Joseph: We've come from Nazareth and Mary's going to have a baby.

Mary: We're going to name him Jesus. He'll be a very special son.

Joseph: But we need a place to stay. Do you have a room for us?

Innkeeper(s): No! No way! Absolutely not! We're all full! We don't take in people from Nazareth.

Mary: Please don't turn us away. We're cold.

Joseph: We're hungry.

Mary: And I'm going to have my baby, Jesus, very soon!

Innkeeper: You can't have a baby in my inn. Go to the hospital. Don't bother us. I wish the city would do something about these homeless people.

(At the last stop in the Bible story:)

Mary: Please let us stay at your inn. We've been all over Bethlehem and there's no place for us. We're cold.

Joseph: We're hungry.

Mary: And I'm going to have my baby, Jesus, very soon!

Innkeeper 1: I'm very sorry. We love to take visitors, but as you can see (points to sign) there's no room in the inn.

Joseph: Don't you have a place somewhere?

Innkeeper 1: I've got an idea! You can stay in our stable.

Innkeeper 2: Yeah, it's warm and clean.

Innkeeper 1: And the animals will keep you company.

Innkeeper 2: It isn't much, but it's the best we can do.

Joseph: Oh, thank you! Thank you very much! It's so good to know that we won't be out on the streets.

Mary: Especially when our little Jesus is born!

THINKING ABOUT IT

Lead kids in applause for one another after the drama. Then gather them together to think about their experience as they've acted out this Bible story.

Ask Mary and Joseph: How did it feel to be Mary and Joseph? How did it feel to be turned away? When did you feel angry, sad, discouraged, frustrated?

Ask the innkeepers: How did it feel to turn Mary and Joseph away? Did you wish you could do something to take them in? What would you have done? If Mary and Joseph came to your home tonight and wanted to come in to stay with you, what would you do?

Ask the group: Think of a time you've been turned away from a place. Can you describe the situation to us? How did it feel to you? Let's think of people like Mary and Joseph who are turned away. Can you name people who get turned away? (The homeless; refugees; people who are sick or who we fear.) What are some ways our church helps these needy people?

Say: God provided an innkeeper who opened up a stable to Mary and Joseph in this Christmas Bible story. Even though it didn't seem like much, it gave them shelter and safety for the night of Jesus' birth. God sends us people to care for us and take us in. Who are some people who care for and welcome you? (Parents; teachers; pastors; doctors.)

Close in prayer: Gracious God, you sent Mary and Joseph a kind and helpful innkeeper to care for them when they were without a home. We thank you for all those who care for us, and we ask that you'd let us help others when they turn to us for help. You sent your only Son into this world to teach us to love and care for one another. We thank you for the Christmas Bible story and the gift of Jesus. Amen.

Donald Hinchey is a pastor in Colorado and author of 5-Minute Messages for Children (Group Books)

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