Christmas Eve: O Holy Night

Anya Sammler-Michael

The following was created for four voices, and intended to be read in quick succession

A - O Come, All Ye Faithful, to hear this story, this well known, well trod... used, rusted, distrusted, dull, aching (do we have to hear it again) story… Help us to hear this story anew on this, this particular Christmas Eve. This Christmas Eve, unlike any we have known before. Unlike any we have known before. (Pause)
B - Mary, the mother of Jesus.
C -  The mother of a child of God.
D -  The unwed mother of God. No more than sixteen.
B - An unwed outcast.
C -  Who said yes. Who said yes.
D - Yes to the angel. To the angel? To the angel that promised that something, something would come of nothing.
B - Who said yes to the child, growing within.
C - Yes to the journey, across the desert, full, bloated belly and all.
D - To give birth in an unknown land. To an unknown…
C - Child of God.
B - She said yes.
D - A prophet, unshrinking. Witnessing.
B - Waiting for a miracle.
D - Mary. Mary the Mother.
C - Heralding a new creation.
D - (drawn out for dramatic effect) Oh holy night!
B - Where the unwed mother, where the unwed mother is a mother of God.

(5+ seconds silence; all readers glance up toward the east, as if to a star.)

D - Joseph, the father of Jesus.
B - The silent partner.
C - Yeah… Imagine that?
B - With questions, ok, with questions, but also with faith.
D - ...Who said yes.
C - Yes to the child. Yes to the unwed mother. Yes to the angel. Yes to the angel? The angel that promised that something would come of nothing.
D - Yes to scandal. Yes to risk.
B - Yes to confronting his own jealousy and fear.
C - Yes to the child. That was not his own. Yes to the child. To the child of God.

(5+ seconds silence; all readers glance up toward the east, as if to a star.)

B - Child of God, you say.
C - I say.
D - I say. When I am speaking about Jesus. When I am speaking about my children. When I am speaking about you and I.
C - I say. Child of God.
B - When I am speaking about the ones on the margins.
C - The disrespected. The dissed. The distance between you and I. ...To bridge that distance I say… I say... Child of God.
B - Child of God.
C – And the shepherds. Don’t forget the shepherds.
B – The first to bear witness.
C - Those followers of stars.
B – Praising and thanking this holy night for what they had seen, for what they had heard.
D -  Shepherds. Protectors of the vulnerable.
B - Finding green pastures in a desert for their sheep.
C - ...in a desert. Finding green pastures in a desert!
D - And holiness in a star.
B - And promise in a story.
C - promise in what they were told.
B - on a dark night.
D - finding promise in what they were told. That a child born in the dust might just… might just save their hurting world.

(5+ seconds silence; all readers glance up toward the east, as if to a star.)

D - And they left. The shepherds, they left. They left their sheep.
B - for a star.
C -  For the child of an unwed mother.
D - Born in the dust of a stable.
B - Because there was no room at the inn.
C - Shepherds would dig that.
D - Wanderers in the darkness.
C - They would dig the story of Mary and Joseph and Jesus, alone, unwelcome, unsafe.
D - Yup, the shepherds would dig that. And they would follow.
C - Shepherds seekers in the desert, with a green pasture on their mind.
B - And the angels.
D - (exasperated) ...The angels.
C - The angels that came to the shepherds. Saying:
B - To you.
C - To you.
B - To you is born a savior.
Together - To you.
 
Brief Music: “Angels We Have Heard on High”

A - (cuts music off) Wait! Angels we have heard on high. Are you telling me that a babe was born to an unwed mother, some millennia ago, on a dark night, in a dusty room with a dirt floor, and this, this is the miracle that the angels sung about, the miracle that would bring light to the world? Passed through lowly shepherds. That this is the miracle we still yearn to sing about - on gatherings just like this… silent nights, holy nights, and come all ye faithful, joy to the world, and more?
C - ...I might have been looking for a little bit more.
D - It’s as if the angels are telling us, like this story is telling us, that something was born from nothing.
B - That’s not physically possible.
D - A miracle from the dust.
C - A holy night from a dark night, where there was no room at the inn.
D - a Child of God from a scandal.
B - It’s as if something was born from nothing.
C - A holy night from a dark night.
D - Where there was no room at the Inn.
C - It’s as if something was born from nothing.

D – Mary
B -  Joseph
C -  Shepherds
B -  Angels
D - Children
C - Scared
B - On a dark night
D - Children
C - All
B - Children of God
D - Rejected, reviled, scandalized, no room, no room for you, not for you at the inn.
B - Children of God
C - Oh come all ye faithful.
B - All who know that this holiness burns within.
D- Within the rejected, reviled, the scandalized.
C - In you.
B - To you.
D - With you.
B - On this dark night.
D - Amidst a pandemic. (Alter to recognize other moments in time.)
C - Silent night. Silent in all the wrong and right ways.
B - Holy.
D - With you.
C - To you.
B - Holy.
D- Holy.
C - Where something was born of nothing. And may. And may. And may be again.

(All speakers look East to the star one last time.)