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Our Church Christmas Play - Plus Many Free Church Plays Online

Updated on March 22, 2013

Free to you! Our Church Christmas Play- "I Heard the Bells!"

As Christian Church Leaders, we are always on the watch for good quality church dramas to inspire and entertain our congregations. Also, if your church group is like ours with limited resources, hearing about 'free' plays attracts undivided attention.

The featured church drama here is one written by myself that we performed a few years ago. My church really liked it, thus I felt it would be good to share it with my Squidoo community.  In addition, my husband and I thought we would scour the web and find other resources that might be of use to you in finding material for your church plays.

You are free to use or edit this, as long as you preserve the real Christmas message. I would like for you to let me know if it is a blessing to your group!

 Remember, I am not a professional, just a Christian Friend with a love for Christmas and good church plays,, especially for the smaller church with limited resources of people and funds. I also hope you will find the other free church play resources helpful.


(Photo - I Heard The Bells - Christmas Play)

(Note: If you would like a printer friendly version of the play just scroll to the bottom of this lens site, select text and print)

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Our Christmas Drama
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Introduction and Characters

I Heard the Bells - Church Play

I HEARD THE BELLS!

 This is a four act play based upon the song “I heard the bells on Christmas Day.” Each act dramatizes a verse of the song and plays on the theme of peace through Jesus Christ.

Stage setup: Stage is divided into three parts: the nativity, the cross (which should be kept hidden until used in 2nd act), and the listener's section (a wall or curtain with a window showing a church with bells and a chair for listener to sit). Singers could be placed behind Nativity Scene or over by piano.

Characters:
Listener
Nativity Scene characters [Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, and at least three angels. The number of shepherds can vary according to number of people available.]
Voice off stage
Soldiers dressed in combat clothing
A family (father, mother & teen)
Jesus
Soloist(s) one dressed as Roman soldier, one in modern attire
Singers
Seekers
Crew members will be needed to man the spotlights.
Prelude: Christmas carols could be played or sung. The audience could be invited to sing a Christmas carol such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”


Church-Christmas-play
Church-Christmas-play

Act 1 The proclamation of Peace through the nativity.

Our Church Christmas Play

Act 1 The Proclamation of Peace Through the Nativity.

Curtains are closed as music begins for "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (preferably played on bell sounds from organ or keyboard).

Soloist begins to sing verse 1.

" I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Listener: enters, walks to window and looks out as if listening to the bells, then still listening walks over and sits and listens and continues frozen through the rest of act 1. (An alternative would be for the listener to enter carrying an mp3 player and sit in chair listening.)

Pianist plays softly: "Silent Night" {The music should continue playing softly all through this act.} [Curtain opens. Spotlight follows Mary and Joseph as they walk slowly up center aisle to take their places in the Nativity scene.] Both the music and the action should continue through the following Bible verses and first verse of song.

Voice off stage: "(Luk 2:1-7) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.   (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)   And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."

Choir sings first verse of "Silent Night" [spotlight shines on nativity scene]

Spotlight moves to shepherds and angels, while shepherds walk up center aisle to the front and angels a side aisle. {An alternative for the angels would be for the singers to be dressed as angels and when they join the speaking angel, they could just step forward from the piano to the front.} Shepherds come to center front pretending to be afraid as one angel comes and stands in front of them. They continue to stand in this position until the end of verse 2.

Voice off stage: And there were in that same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,
Angel: Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Voice off stage: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, [other angels join first one at center front]

Angels: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sing: Angels We Have Heard On High

Choir : Second verse of "Silent Night"


Voice off Stage: (Luk 2:15) And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,

Shepherd: Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

[Shepherds and angels move to manger scene, where they remain until the end of the play. Spotlight follows them and remains on manger scene until end of act.]

Voice Off Stage: (Luk 2:16) And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Nativity Characters sing: Away in a Manger

Choir: third verse of "Silent Night"

Choir: "It Came upon the Midnight Clear"


Act 1: Preview Music: "Silent Night"

Act 1: Preview Music: Angels, We Have Heard On High

Act 1: Preview Music: It Came upon the Midnight Clear

Act 2 The Absence of Peace brings Despair.

Church Christmas Drama

Act 2 The Absence of Peace Brings Despair.

Spotlight returns to Listener who stands in dejection and continues in this position until the end of act 2.]

Soloist: sings vs. 2 of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."
And in despair, I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Discordant Notes are played. [This act is done in a series of short scenes done in succession.]

Scene 1: War
War sounds of guns firing are played through 1st scene.
[Three young men dressed in combat fatigues come from side or back of church and march to center front and kneel as if firing and maintain that position while voice off stage speaks, they then run off down center aisle.]

Voice off stage: You shall hear of wars and rumours of wars

Scene 2: Family conflict.
[Family walks from side to church front center arguing and stand at front while voice off stage speaks.]

Voice off stage: A man's enemies shall be those of his household

Teen yells: "I hate You!" [he/she angrily runs down the center aisle and then is quickly followed by the other family members, still arguing]

[Other scenes could be added]
*note: {If actors and space are limited you might could film these scenes ahead of time and play them on power point]}

Scene 3: ultimate hate- the cross

Soft music for "The Hammer" (as sung by Ray Boltz)

[Spotlight slowly lights up on cross and back curtain is opened to reveal the cross. The cross could be empty, but the effect would be stronger if someone were on the cross for this scene.)

Voice off stage: (Mat 27:18) For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

(Two singers should be on stage beside the cross. One dressed as a Roman Soldier and the other in modern clothes. Each should be carrying a hammer. )

Several voices from audience: Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Song: "The Hammer" (as sung by Ray Boltz)

Voice off stage: (Isa 53:1-8) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?   For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.


Act 2: Music Preview: "The Hammer"

Church Drama
Church Drama

Act 3 The Source of our Peace is Jesus Christ

Free Church Plays Script

Act 3 The Source of our Peace is Jesus Christ

{Spotlight returns to listener who lifts head from dejected position and remains in this position until third verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"]

Soloist: sings vs. 3 of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men."

Choir: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" [Spotlight moves to nativity for vs. 1 and 2.

On vs. 3 At line "no ear can hear," the spotlight on the manger slowly fades and begins to slowly move from the nativity scene to the listener and then follows him/her as he/she moves slowly to kneel at the cross.

Soloist: "Kneel at the Cross"

As this song is sung seekers come to the altar ,perhaps one with each verse. These should be diverse showing that there is room for all. There should be enough for diversity but not so many that there is not room for any who answer an altar call.

Pastor: speaks briefly of peace through Christ and if he thinks it appropriate may give altar call.


Act 3: Music Preview: O Little Town of Bethlehem

Christmas Plays for Church: An Amazon Search

Church Theater Plays
Church Theater Plays

Act 4 The triumph of peace Through Christ

Our Plays For Drama

Act 4 The triumph of peace Through Christ

Soloist: Verse 4 "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

"Till, ringing sing-ing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sub-lime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Jesus: [dressed as risen Savior comes to stand on stage in front of cross. ]

(Joh 14:27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

[Those kneeling stand.]

Soloist: "The Only Real Peace"


Seekers and listener sing: "Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace"

Everyone Sings: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" [while coming to center]

The house lights come up and the audience could be asked to join the cast in either "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" or "Joy to the World"


Act 4: Music Preview: The Only Real Peace

Act 4: Music Preview: Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace

Act 4: Music Preview: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Act 4: Music Preview: "Joy to the World"

Printer Friendly Version of Church Christmas Play. "I Heard the Bells"

Just select text below and print (no text formatting in this module!) .

Church Christmas Play. "I Heard the Bells!"

_______

(Note: This play is our gift to you. Use it or edit it as you like. We pray it will bless you! Barbara Isbill)

_______

Act 1 The Proclamation of Peace Through the Nativity.

_______

Curtains are closed as music begins for "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (preferably played on bell sounds from organ or keyboard).

Soloist begins to sing verse 1:

" I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play.

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Listener: enters, walks to window and looks out as if listening to the bells, then still listening walks over and sits and listens and continues frozen through the rest of act 1. (An alternative would be for the listener to enter carrying an mp3 player and sit in chair listening.)

Pianist plays softly: "Silent Night" {The music should continue playing softly all through this act.} [Curtain opens. Spotlight follows Mary and Joseph as they walk slowly up center aisle to take their places in the Nativity scene.] Both the music and the action should continue through the following Bible verses and first verse of song.

Voice off stage: (Luke 2:1-7) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David : To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Choir sings first verse of "Silent Night" [spotlight shines on nativity scene]

Spotlight moves to shepherds and angels, while shepherds walk up center aisle to the front and angels a side aisle. {An alternative for the angels would be for the singers to be dressed as angels and when they join the speaking angel, they could just step forward from the piano to the front.} Shepherds come to center front pretending to be afraid as one angel comes and stands in front of them. They continue to stand in this position until the end of verse 2.

Voice off stage: And there were in that same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,

Angel: Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Voice off stage: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, [other angels join first one at center front]

Angels: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sing: Angels We Have Heard On High

Choir : Second verse of "Silent Night"

Voice off Stage: (Luk 2:15) And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,

Shepherds: Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

[Shepherds and angels move to manger scene, where they remain until the end of the play. Spotlight follows them and remains on manger scene until end of act.]

Voice Off Stage: (Luke 2:16) And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Nativity Characters sing: Away in a Manger

Choir: third verse of "Silent Night"

________

Act 2 The Absence of Peace Brings Despair.

________

Spotlight returns to Listener who stands in dejection and continues in this position until the end of act 2.]

Soloist: sings vs. 2 of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."

And in despair, I bow'd my head:

"There is no peace on earth," I said,

"For hate is strong and mocks the song,

Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Discordant Notes are played. [This act is done in a series of short scenes done in succession.]

Scene 1: War

War sounds of guns firing are played through 1st scene.

[Three young men dressed in combat fatigues come from side or back of church and march to center front and kneel as if firing and maintain that position while voice off stage speaks, they then run off down center aisle.]

Voice off stage: You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars

Scene 2: Family conflict.

[Family walks from side to church front center arguing and stand at front while voice off stage speaks.]

Voice off stage: A man's enemies shall be those of his household

Teen yells: "I hate You!" [he/she angrily runs down the center aisle and then is quickly followed by the other family members, still arguing]

[Other scenes could be added]

*note: {If actors and space are limited you might could film these scenes ahead of time and play them on power point]}

Scene 3: ultimate hate- the cross

Soft music for "The Hammer" (as sung by Ray Boltz)

[Spotlight slowly lights up on cross and back curtain is opened to reveal the cross. The cross could be empty, but the effect would be stronger if someone were on the cross for this scene.)

Voice off stage: (Mat 27:18) For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

(Two singers should be on stage beside the cross. One dressed as a Roman Soldier and the other in modern clothes. Each should be carrying a hammer. )

Several voices from audience: Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Song: "The Hammer" (as sung by Ray Boltz)

Voice off stage: (Isa 53:1-8) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

________

Act 3 The Source of our Peace is Jesus Christ

________

{Spotlight returns to listener who lifts head from dejected position and remains in this position until third verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"]

Soloist: sings vs. 3 of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;

"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With Peace on earth, good will to men."

Choir: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" [Spotlight moves to nativity for vs. 1 and 2.

On vs. 3 At line "no ear can hear," the spotlight on the manger slowly fades and begins to slowly move from the nativity scene to the listener and then follows him/her as he/she moves slowly to kneel at the cross.

Soloist: "Kneel at the Cross"

As this song is sung seekers come to the altar, perhaps one with each verse. These should be diverse showing that there is room for all. There should be enough for diversity but not so many that there is not room for any who answer an altar call.

Pastor: speaks briefly of peace through Christ and if he thinks it appropriate may give altar call.

_______

Act 4 The triumph of peace Through Christ

____

Soloist: Verse 4 "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

"Till, ringing singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sub-lime,

Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Jesus: [dressed as risen Savior comes to stand on stage in front of cross. ]

(Joh 14:27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

[Those kneeling stand.]

Soloist: "The Only Real Peace"

Seekers and listener sing: "Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace"

Everyone Sings: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" [while coming to center]

The house lights come up and the audience could be asked to join the cast in either "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" or "Joy to the World"

I hoped you enjoyed this "Plays For Church" Web site enough to leave a coment!

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    • Wbisbill LM profile image
      Author

      Barbara Isbill 4 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      @RuthieDenise: Thank you for commenting.

    • RuthieDenise profile image

      RuthieDenise 4 years ago

      I love the song "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day. Very good lens. Thank you for sharing.

    • Wbisbill LM profile image
      Author

      Barbara Isbill 4 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      @anonymous: Thanks, glad you liked it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      this is wonderful,, it is my first time to try to put together a ply for our small church this site has been so helpful

    • Wbisbill LM profile image
      Author

      Barbara Isbill 5 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      @cararta lm: Thanks for the visit and comments.

    • cararta lm profile image

      cararta lm 5 years ago

      An extremely useful resource. I'm sending it to a friend who handles most of the plays for the Church. Thank You for the good work.