.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms © 2020
.             refer to

WALK TO BETHLEHEM – written by Tanis Harms

PREMISE:     an interactive walk-through-experience
.            as you follow a tour guide through
.            different Christmas scenes located
.            in different areas of your church
STYLE:       interactive drama/conversation
TOPIC:       Christmas story
SCRIPTURE:   Isaiah, Matthew, Luke


OPTIONS:   - have extras to step into any of the roles
.            in case anyone gets tired or sick,
.            or you want to alternate evenings, especially
.            if you plan to run this for several days
.          – you could audio tape all dialogue
.            and then have the actors mime along
.          – if you don’t have enough rooms or actors,
.            or you want to shorten the experience,
.            eliminate scenes 1, 3 and/or 5

SETS/PROPS:  5-8 audio players and speakers (optional),
.          - 8-16+ poles with flags for guides (optional),
.          - for costumes and sets, you can be as simple
.            or elaborate as you wish

.            SCENE 1: Elizabeth’s baby doll, basket, table
.            SCENE 2: Mary’s sewing or straw broom
.            SCENE 3: Courier can have a scroll
.            SCENE 4: Joseph’s house with carpentry project
.            SCENE 5: Innkeeper’s inn (interior or exterior)
.            SCENE 6: Shepherd staff, background sheep noise
.            SCENE 7: Magi’s tent, meal or scroll
.            SCENE 8: empty manger, shadow of a cross
.          – giveaway gifts with church info pamphlets


Depending on your location, you could do this outside.
Otherwise, this is probably better suited for churches
with several rooms which have 2 different doorways each
to keep everything flowing, if necessary.  

For easy scheduling, have time slots for every 5 minutes,  
but double the capacity, because you should be able
to split each group and start a group every 2 1/2 minutes.
Do run-throughs to see how long it does take, and to see
how many people should be allowed in each group.
Limit the groups to an amount which will be comfortable
(or safe and legal if social spacing is required.)

Tour guides will lead the people through the experience.
If possible, you can rope off the areas (and scenes)
to keep people from getting too close to the actors,
helping people to know where they should stand,
as well as allowing everyone to be able to see the actors.

As people sign up, they can be given tickets for that time,
(which can be digital).
These should have the appropriate instructions.
- arrive 15 minutes before your time,
.   parking in (such and such an area)
- wait in your car until you are texted,
.   then go straight to the doorway marked “ENTRANCE"
.   where you will receive further instructions
- wearing masks inside are mandatory
- the actors will not be wearing masks,
.   but they will remain a proper distance away.
- respectfully stand where you are told, and keep
.   a proper distance from other people not in your family
- when you leave, there will be animals to look at,
.   or carolers, or something else...)

Have signs saying “EXIT ONLY” to avoid any confusion.
There you could have a few things outside like:  animals,
carolers, or something else, for the people leaving.  

have a designated spot for the person taking the tickets,
or checking digital tickets.
This could be done outside, or in the area between
the doors of outside and the lobby, if you have that.

For each 5 minute time slot,
have that group divide in half and decide who will go first.
Move the first half to an X, to stand and wait.
Move the second half to an X behind them, to stand and wait.
You can have a few areas with an X, if you have the space,
so you can move people along safely in an organized manner.  
TOUR GUIDES should monitor their groups.

SCRIPT:          INTRO AT WAITING LOCATION                3

(HOST and TOUR GUIDE step up, wearing facemasks if needed.)

HOST        Good evening and welcome.
.           You are about to enjoy a walk to Bethlehem,
.           to see what Christmas is all about.
.           This is your tour guide, (name),
.           who will guide you to each location.
.           When you enter these doors here, you will
.           enjoy some Christmas music for a few minutes.
.           Then, when your tour guide says, “Follow me”
.           it will be time to continue your tour.

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                    WAITING AREA

(This can be in the lobby using just one of the doors.
Rope off the entrance area from the door being used,
and the area where the group should wait.  Play music,
or have a few people singing.  In 2 1/2 or 5 minutes...)

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                   SCENE 1 - ROOM 1

(TOUR GUIDE leads group in and shows them where to stand.)

(OPTIONAL:  ELIZABETH paces the floor, sushing her baby.  
Seeing the group, she puts a finger to her lips to “sh”,
then puts the baby into the basket while engaging.)

ELIZABETH   Just so you do not get the wrong idea,
.           my name is Elizabeth.  My baby’s name is John.
.           When he grows up, he will be a prophet,
.           who will prepare the way for Jesus, our Messiah.  
.           Anyway, my husband Zacharias is a Jewish priest.
.           We have been married for many, MANY years,
.           and were never able to have a baby.  
.           Until now!  It is an absolute miracle!  
.           But there is an even greater miracle!
.           For hundreds of years, us Israelites have been
.           waiting for our Messiah to be born.  And now,
.           my niece, Mary, is pregnant with the Holy One.
.           When she came for a visit, I welcomed her with
.           a hug, and my yet unborn baby leapt with joy!
.           I knew at once that she was carrying
.           the Christ-child.  But – but you can visit her,
.           yourself, and she can tell you all about it!
.                                                         4
TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.  

.                   SCENE 2 - ROOM 2

(MARY can be doing something like sewing or sweeping.
Seeing the GROUP, she puts her task away.)

MARY        Oh.  Hi.  I suppose you have heard the news.
.           Not everyone knows about this yet, but – well,
.           one evening an angel came to tell me that
.           I would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit,
.           even though I’m still a virgin, and even though
.           I’m not perfect.  Although I do love the Lord.
.           So whatever God asks of me, I must trust that
.           He will work things out.  Especially now,
.           because I’m engaged to a godly man named Joseph.
.           But when I told him about this, understandably,
.           he is struggling to believe what I told him.
.           But this is God’s will, and as the angel said,
.           nothing will be impossible with God...  
.           It’s been over 3 months now, so very soon,
.           I will start to show.  So now I’m just waiting
.           to see how God will help Joseph understand.

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                   SCENE 3 – ROOM 3

(As CRIER sees GROUP, he holds up scroll to read.)

CRIER       Hear ye, hear ye.  This is a decree
.           issued by Caesar Augustus!
.           There is to be a census taken
.           in the entire Roman world!
.           Everyone must go to their own town
.           to register and be counted.
.           I repeat, everyone must go
.           to the town of their ancestors.
.           This decree has been issued
.           by Caesar August, himself!
.           Everyone in the entire Roman kingdom
.           must comply.  All must go!
.           All Israelites, understand and remember,
.           that you too are under Roman law
.           and the leadership of Caesar Augustus!
.           You must go to the town of your ancestors
.           and be counted for this worldwide census!

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.
.                                                         5
.                   SCENE 4 – ROOM 4

(There could be a carpentry project nearby, but
JOSEPH is pacing and thinking.)

JOSEPH      Have you heard about the census being taken?
.           This means I must go to Bethlehem,
.           because I am a descendant of king David.
.           I mean, I know this is all in God’s timing!
.           But when my fiancée told me
.           that she was expecting – that she is pregnant –
.           with the Israelites’ expected Messiah!
.           I had a very difficult time believe this.  So
.           while I had been contemplating a quiet divorce,
.           God sent an angel to me in a dream,
.           telling me that Mary is truly carrying
.           the Christ-child and I am to marry her,
.           and keep her a virgin until Jesus is born.  
.           I will be helping to raise the Son of God!
.           But I can contemplate this as we make our way to
.           Bethlehem.  Right now I must get us ready to go!

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                   SCENE 5 – ROOM 5

(INNKEEPER can sit at a table with a quill and “paper”,
then looks up as the group enters.)

INNKEEPER   I’m sorry.  We have no more vacancy.
.           All the rooms filled up very quickly
.           because of all this census-stuff.  Sadly so,
.           because there was a couple who arrived,
.           Joseph and Mary, who was - sooo pregnant.
.           I quickly thought, you know,
.           they could stay in our stable.
.           I know, having a baby in a barn is not the best.
.           But there was no way I was going to send them
.           to live out in the streets!
.           But I must tell you something else!
.           I decided to bring them some rags to wrap up
.           the newborn baby.  But this is no ordinary baby!
.           I just have a feeling that this baby Jesus
.           is going to do something very important!
.           So if you can, I highly recommend seeing Him.
.           They’re still over there in the stable.

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                   SCENE 6 – ROOM 6                       6

(Sheep can be heard in the background.  A vigilant SHEPHERD
holds a staff, and gets excited when he sees the group.)

SHEPHERD    Have you heard the great news yet?
.           Angels appeared – to us - to give us the news.
.           US!  The shepherds.  Like,
.           we are the nobodies in society.  
.           But somehow we
.           are still important in God’s eyes!
.           God sent the angels to tell us
.           that Jesus, our Messiah, has been born!
.           And we would find Him
.           in the town of David, in Bethlehem,
.           in a manger, wrapped in rags!
.           Even so, with such a humble birth,
.           He is our King!  He is our Lord and Savior!
.           It is the news of great joy
.           for ALL people!
.           You should go and see for yourself!

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                   SCENE 7 – ROOM 7

(MAGI sits in his tent, maybe having a meal,
or reading a scroll.  He looks up as group approaches.)

MAGI        Are you on your way to see Jesus?
.           We have just come from that way.
.           It has been about two years now
.           since the star first appeared.
.           BECAUSE we had heard the prophesies,
.           us magi from the east
.           knew that this star
.           signified something very great:
.           that the King of kings had just been born!
.           It was going to be an extremely long journey,
.           so we left with a very large caravan
.           to follow the star!
.           We wanted to meet Him and offer Him
.           our most treasured gifts - because
.           the King of kings, Himself, was going to give
.           the world His most precious gift of all.
.           Please!  Do not let me delay you any further
.           from finishing your journey.  Please.

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

.                   SCENE 8 – ROOM 8                       7

(There is a stable and an empty manger.  In the background,
either have a cross or the shadow of a cross.
PERSON can be one of your PASTORS.)

PERSON      You have come to Bethlehem to see Jesus?
.           He is no longer in the manger.  He grew up.  And
.           when He was 30 years old, He began His ministry.
.           And 3 years later, the Israelites rejected Jesus
.           as their Messiah, because THEY wanted Him
.           to save Israel from the Roman government.
.           But Jesus had come to save people from sin.
.           So it was God’s will that Jesus came to earth
.           in flesh, to die on the cross in our place.
.           And if you went to see His grave,
.           He is no longer there, either.
.           Jesus rose again to conquer death, so that
.           when we trust and believe in Him as our Lord
.           and Savior, we will have everlasting life!
.           This is the greatest gift
.           that we celebrate at Christmas!

TOUR GUIDE  Follow me.

(OPTIONAL:  as people exit through the lobby,
have a table with a pre-packaged gift of maybe
candy, candy canes, a pouch of hot chocolate, etc.
as well as a pamphlet of info for your church.)

PERSON      Thank you for coming.
.           (And please take one of our thank you gifts
.           as you exit.)  
.           We hope to see you again very soon.