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Mid Winter Festival

Michelle Van Loon


FASHION SHOW

Groups of children can move onto your stage. The emcee interviews each child. The fashion show gives children a moment to show off their outfits in a fun and friendly environment. Our church decided against offering prizes for best costume, since it would leave one winner and many nonwinners. We didn't want anyone leaving with hurt or sad feelings.

After the fashion show, have the emcee distribute paper "courage awards," which are simple prize ribbons printed with the date of your party and the words from Deuteronomy 31:6: "Be strong and courageous...the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you" (NIV).

FEAST OF PURIM RESOURCES

On the Internet, you'll find these great Purim Web sites.

• www.holidays.net/purim/ This colorful gateway to Purim on the Web includes the story of Purim, costume ideas, recipes, links and more.
•www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htm A helpful explanation of the Feast of Purim.

•www.jcn18.com/holiday/purim/mocknews You've never seen Scripture presented like this! It looks like a supermarket tabloid, but contains the book of Esther -- complete with eye-grabbing headlines.
•www.jajz-ed.org.il/festivls/purim/index.html Curriculum and lesson plans from the Jewish Agency for Israel. Make sure you type "festivls" rather than "festivals," though.

For background music, check out these resources.

Hosanna! Music has a series of Jewish-flavored worship music led by Messianic worship leader Paul Wilbur. The best selections are Up to Zion, Holy Fire, and Shalom Jerusalem. Cost: $13.98, CD; $9.98, cassette. On the Web, log onto http://store.integritymusic.com. You can also purchase Hosanna! Music at a Christian bookstore.

Jews for Jesus (www.jewsforjesus.org) has created a lively cassette of children's music entitled You Gotta Jump! that you'll want to play again and again. Also includes a music book with lyrics. Cost: $11. To order, call (415) 864-3900 or 877-463-7742.

ESTHER'S STORY

CHARACTERS

l Narrator

l Esther (wearing a long dress)

l King Xerxes (wearing a robe and a paper crown)

l Mordecai (wearing a robe)

l Haman (wearing a robe)



PROPS

l Paper crown for the queen

l Large nail file

l Plunger

l Three folding chairs

l Rolled-up paper scroll

l Fast food bag with two paper-wrapped burgers inside

Set your stage with three folding chairs side by side behind the narrator. Place the plunger behind the center chair and the scroll underneath the center chair.

Run through the script once or twice ahead of time with your actors so they can familiarize themselves with the flow of action. The more they play to the
audience, hamming it up as the script is read, the more effective and fun the story will be.


NARRATOR:

(Enters, stands stage right, and greets the crowd. Carries the crown and a copy of the script. Esther, King Xerxes, and Mordecai wait offstage.) Like all good stories, ours begins with once upon a time. Our once upon a time really happened about 500 years before Jesus was born in a place not too far from Bethlehem but really far from here. The place was called Persia. If you look at a map, today you'd see a place called Iran there.

There was a king named Xerxes (ZERK-sees) who was in charge of the place back then. King, come out and say hello to the nice people, then take a seat on your throne. (King Xerxes enters, bows to the crowd, and sits in the center chair.)

King Xerxes liked himself a lot. One day he had a party so he could celebrate himself. I need a female volunteer from the audience who'll wear the royal crown for a moment so we can continue with our story. (Choose a volunteer, place the crown on her head, and have her stand with you while facing the audience.) King Xerxes summoned his queen, who was named Vashti, to parade around for all the guests like a dancing girl or something. She refuses. Queen, (Nudge the volunteer.) tell him no! And guess what? He flipped out! (Xerxes pretends to go berserk.) What would all his adoring subjects say if she refuses? I'll tell you what: All the women would rebel. They'd go crazy! Well, he couldn't have a kingdom full of crazy rebel women, so he fired her. Queen, give your crown back to the king and sit back in the audience.

Of course, what's a king without a queen? Have you ever looked at a deck of cards? It just doesn't work unless you have a king and a queen. The kingdom turned into a great big talent show, with all the beautiful young women trying out for the job of queen.

It's this story that we want to tell you today because it's more than the story of a king's search for a new queen. It's the story of how one young woman saved her people-and got a really cool job too.

Let's meet the rest of our characters now. First, give a warm welcome to Esther, the girl who would be queen. (Esther enters and curtsies.) Esther, say hello to the nice people. Next, let's give a hand to Esther's wise uncle Mordecai (MOR-deh-kye). (Mordecai enters and bows.) This is the man who raised Esther.

Say hi, Mordecai! Last, and maybe least, let me introduce you to the king's right-hand man, Haman (HAY-mun). (Haman enters and snubs the audience.) Haman won't say hello to you. He thinks he has better things to do.

We have one more cast member you need to meet-you! Say hello to yourselves. Your job is to cheer for the good guys. Esther and Mordecai, that's you. Audience, please give them a hand. Whenever you hear me say Esther and Mordecai's name, cheer for them. Let's practice. (Lead the audience in cheering for each one.) Whenever you hear Haman's name, boo him. Let's practice that. (Lead the audience in booing for Haman.) Okay, I think we're ready to begin. Esther and Mordecai, go wait for your cue. (Esther and Mordecai wait off to one side of the stage, opposite the narrator.)

Let me tell you a little more about our friend Haman. One thing King Xerxes likes is "yes" men. And Haman knows how to say yes better than anyone, (Haman nods furiously.) so the king made him top dog. (Haman barks and then walks across the stage.) Haman struts around the kingdom, and all the people bow to him.

Only one guy doesn't bow, though, and that's Mordecai over there. The only one Mordecai is going to bow to is God, not Haman. Haman, stroll past him and we'll just watch how Mordecai doesn't bow. He's good at it, isn't he?

Haman gets really mad about this and comes up with a plan. (Haman scratches his forehead as though in deep thought.) He decides to destroy all of Mordecai's people which are the Jewish people. Haman doesn't do anything halfway. No, not him. Haman, take a seat next to the king and quietly mull over your evil plan.

Meanwhile, Esther visits the king and auditions for the job. (Esther walks over to the king and smiles at him.) The king likes her and makes her his queen. Xerxes, give her the crown. One teensy detail here: She doesn't tell him about her heritage. (Esther crosses her fingers behind her back for the audience to see.) She is a Jew, just like her uncle Mordecai. Remember? They're the people Haman wants to destroy.

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