Every typical nativity scene includes a few animals, usually a sheep, a cow and a donkey. Sometimes the camels show up and every once in while, a dove or two. Do you see any rats? Do you think they were possibly hiding in the straw that holy night of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem? Here is a Christmas Eve script that sticks up for the ones who tend to be pushed out of the scene on Christmas and at other times of the year. Not all of us show up in our Sunday best to the manger, but Christ accepts all of us, the ratty and the tattered. We all matter. All are welcome.
This script’s cast calls for one human (Ruth), a lamb (Baabara) and a rat (Grudge the Rat). It was performed at West Tokyo Union Church (WTUC) on Christmas Eve, 2015.
Christmas Eve Children’s Sermon:
Baaabara: This is wonderful! I love imagining that we are at the manger on the night that Jesus was born. I think some of my ancestors were there the night of Jesus’ birth.
Ruth: They probably were. We know that there were sheep nearby because there were shepherds.
Baa: And the sheep followed the shepherds when the shepherds followed the star that led them to the manger.
Ruth: There are so many Christmas carols that mention sheep because shepherds and sheep are a big part of the Christmas story.
Baa: That makes me feel all warm inside. I mean, I do have wool to keep me warm on the outside, but the Christmas story makes me feel all warm inside.
RAT: (Rat pops up in back.) Well, isn’t that nice. And while you’re all warm and toasty inside and out, I’ve been locked outside, freezing my poor little rat tail off! I suppose now that I have managed to sneak inside, someone is going to pick up a broom and yell, “Dirty rat!” and chase me back outside.
Ruth: No, no! Don’t worry. No one is going to chase you out. You can stay. Everyone is welcome at the manger.
RAT: The RAT knows that everyone is welcome at the manger, but most people don’t know that. We get chased away all the time.
Baa: Oh, that’s sad. You’re welcome to stay here with us. You can be part of the nativity scene.
RAT: You ever seen a nativity scene with a rat in it? No, probably not. But did you know that some of MY ancestors were there at the manger the night that Jesus was born?
Ruth: I didn’t know that. There aren’t any rats in any Christmas carols.
RAT: No, and that’s a shame, since so many words rhyme with “rat.” Someone should write us into a Christmas carol. We were there at the manger. Of course we were. Every stable has its rats.
Baa: That’s true. There are rats in almost every country in the world.
RAT: Yeah, we get around. But here’s the important thing: while everyone loves a cute and fluffy sheep, no one loves a rat. We get left out or thrown out of every celebration… but not this one. Christmas is different. God became human and was born into this small, dangerous and dirty world that we call earth.
Ruth: It was a very risky thing to do.
RAT: Can YOU imagine being asked to be born a rat instead of a human? Would YOU jump at the chance, to be born a rat, just to show a bunch of other rats that God loves them more than anything in the world?
Ruth: That is hard to imagine.
RAT: Humans think they’re pretty grand. But compared to God, they’re not all that. People accuse rats of spreading disease and chewing up things and making messes… well, compared to humans and the damage they have done to the earth, rats are angels.
Ruth: Yes, I see your point.
RAT: So compared to the Creator of the Universe and all things good and amazing, humans and rats are almost on the same level. But God loves us anyway. God loves the ratty and the tattered. God loves us even though we are small and mean. God loves even the rat.
Baa: No one chased your ancestors away from the manger?
RAT: No one chased us away. It was a holy, special night. We were there to worship the baby King. We knew that God loves us all, even those of us who are rats.
Baa: That’s wise observation. I think that rats should be part of the Nativity scene. If the sheep get to be there, the rats should get to be there too.
RAT: Thank you, Baabara. I appreciate that. That actually makes we feel all warm inside, and I’m not even covered with wool.
Baa: You’re always welcome here. WTUC is a church “Where all are welcome.” It even says so on the bulletin. All are welcome.
RAT: Even rats?
Ruth: Even rats.
RAT: Well, thank you. I will stay for the rest of the service. But I see Mary coming… and just in case she gets nervous around rats, I’m going to find a warm corner to curl up in. I don’t want to get stepped on.
Baa: Thank you for joining us at the manger. And I’ll ask the Pastor to add a rat figurine to the Nativity set.
RAT: Thank you very much. I appreciate the gesture. Merry Christmas Baabara. Merry Christmas, WTUC.
Ruth: Merry Christmas to you, dear Ratty!