Visit of St. Nicholas
The First Sunday before Christmas
(Adapted from A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS by James G. and Judith Cobb and available from CSS Publishing of Lima, Ohio. Telephone number: 1-800-537-1030. Speak to DeeDee Norton, or email her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Obtain rights to produce this superb drama from her.)
Hello friend. Could you tell me where I am? This is a strange world! I feel lost. Could you tell me what year it is? (He asks one of the audience, and waits for a response.) Oh, I should introduce myself: I am Nicholas. I lived over 1600 years ago. I was bishop in the church at Myra. Today I believe that country may be called "Turkey." Oh, it was a hard life there 1600 years ago. It was nothing you would call "modern." There was no electricity. We used candles. We had no heat from furnaces, only fireplaces. No "fast food," only hard farm work and the basic necessities - and sometimes starvation. We didn't have medicines like you do. Instead, we knew frequent sickness and early death. There was no easy transportation. We just used horses. Often we traveled by foot.
But we did have festivals, like Christmas, which we celebrated in the church. We celebrated the birth of Jesus with his baptism day. We did that on January 6. We called the day "Epiphany." Our people would come to worship, and would remember the stories told by their great-grandparents. These stories told that Jesus was the Son of God, and that was the main thing. Let me tell you a little of my story.
When I was a young man, I inherited a great deal of wealth from my family. Early in life, I decided to become a priest, and people thought I was a little bit crazy. Soon, I was giving away my fortune and people thought I was even more crazy! Very secretly, I gave gifts to children on the day of Epiphany. We in the church remembered how the three Wise Men journeyed to worship baby Jesus and give him special gifts too. Like the Wise Men I, too, wanted to give. So I began to offer gifts to children. Before bed, children would leave their shoes outside their bedroom doors, and I would put something in them. I tried to keep the secret, but somehow people started saying, "Bishop Nicholas brought the gifts." Many years later, the church honored me by calling me a "saint." And ever since then, the gifts of Saint Nicholas have been given at Christmas - especially to the children.
But enough about me. I want to know, how do you celebrate Jesus' birth in 1993? Do you still tell the story?
Yes, we do St. Nicholas. We tell the story often. Every year at Christmas time! A home, on Christmas
Eve or Christmas Day, someone in the family will read the Christmas story. Or...when we go to church on
Christmas Eve, in the quiet darkness of the sanctuary, a reader comes forward with a candle and reads the
Christmas Gospel ... (The reader moves to the Bible with lighted candle as the child says, "or when we go
to church on Christmas Eve....)
We gather on this Christmas Eve to hear a reading of the Christmas Gospel from St. Luke. In those days, a
decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first census that
was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to be enrolled, each to his own city...
(Reader continues reading the Luke passage, but softer, as the TV announcer interrupts. The Gospel reader
continues reading until the TV announcer is finished.)
Good evening. This is Keith Eldridge from Channel 4 KOMO News. In this evening’s headlines, high
level talks continue between President Clinton and the Prime Minister of Japan about economic
negotiations. We'll have firsthand news from our correspondent on the scene. Next, we will go to North
Korea where news of crisis is brewing because the North Koreans have developed an atomic bomb. We'll
also be there in our nation's capital where the homeless people of Washington DC are staging a march on
the White House on this Christmas Eve. Now to our first story ... (Voice fades out, so does the Gospel
reader.....at the same time).
It's hard to hear the Christmas story here in your land. There is so much news. KOMO news. Firsthand
news. Local news. All the news seems to drown out the good news about the birth of Christ.
O yes, we love to listen to our news reports.
More than the Good News of Christmas?
Sort of ... but Nicholas. Come. Listen to our Christmas music. You'll love our Christmas music. We sing
the old songs that tell the old story.
(Quietly) O come all you faithful, joyful and triumphant. Oh come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come
and behold him born the king of angels, O come let us adore him. (Voice 1 keeps singing the next stanzas
until all four voices end at the same time.)
(Interrupting) Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would
even say it glows ... (interrupted by Voice 3, but keeps singing).
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! O what fun it is to ride and sing in a one horse open sleigh ...
(interrupted by voice 4 but keeps singing).
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
and folks dressed up like Eskimos (all four voices soften on Eskimos but keep singing).
Where is all that music coming from?
From our stereos, radios, shopping malls, telephones, elevators, and television sets.
Who is Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, and Jack Frost and what's that about chestnuts in an open fire?
These are new Christmas stories.
Doesn't the story of the birth of the Son of God get lost...confused…and mixed up...with all the other
Well, yes...that's true. (The four singers stop.)
(Comes bouncing down the center aisle) Ho, ho, ho, ho, hi boys and girls. Have you been good this year?
(sings) "I know when you've been sleeping, I know when you're awake, I know when you've been bad or
good, so be good for goodness sake."
My lord, what is that? Who is that?
I'll explain it in a minute. Let's watch.
(Up to the front, top of chancel and settled on a chair) Now, which of you little children are in line first to
come up and sit on Santa's knee and tell me everything you want for Christmas?
Me! Me! Me! I'm next in line Santa! Me! Me! Me! (Jumps up on Santa's lap). Hi Santa.
And what do you want for Christmas, my darling little child?
So many things. A new Barbie doll, a new doll house. Nintendo...a long list of things from the newspaper.
(He/She has brought a catalog from a store and is telling Santa all the things, quietly now as St. Nicholas
and the child continue their dialogue.)
And what did you say is happening there?
Well, that's you, St. Nicholas. Our version of you.
That's your version of me?
Yes, we tell Santa all the things we want to GET for Christmas.
GET for Christmas? God's Christmas story is about GIVING. Christmas is about a miracle...the miracle of
God giving his precious child to everyone. It is about a miracle...that giving can work in all of our hearts,
rich and poor. It's about the miracle of love. It's not about getting a list of presents you want.
Not about getting presents?
Of course not. When I was young, a little boy, I saw young girls forced to live on the streets without
homes. Can you imagine that? Maybe not living here. And I saw men...with no food, no work, no joy, no
roof. Sad and bitter. Can you image that? I saw children sick and dying. Diphtheria. The plague. Can
you image that? Maybe not, living now. I gathered money so that a share of some little joy from the Christ
Child himself could be given to the needy, to the hurting, the hungry...
(Softly, ever so softly and building. Nick and child listen.) Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright,
round yon virgin mother and child (continues as voices speak and ends with Voices 1, 2, 3).
St. Nicholas, as you tell your story, I am beginning to understand. What you did and understand the true
meaning of Christmas. (Pointing at Santa): That's not Christmas. Christmas is about God….God's
giving...God's miracle gift of his child to all people…to the rich and poor, to those who have and to those
who don't have...like... (Santa and child exit, with the child talking loudly about the list.)
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, falalala lalalala.
Voice 2 and 3:
Tis the season to be jolly, falalala lalalala.
Voice 2, 3, 4:
Don we now our gay apparel, falalala lalalala. Toll the ancient Yuletide carol, falalala
lalalala. (“Silent Night” has faded but not omitted during this song. All four voices end at the same time.)
It is hard to hear God's Christmas message with all these other songs and stories.
But it's now clear to me...that Christmas is about giving...God's giving of his love...of his child...to those in
What is your name?
And where do you live Jennie?
Well, uhhh, we used to live in Oklahoma.
Where do you live now?
In my father's car. With my mom and brother.
In your father's car?
(Blurts it our really fast.) Yes, we lived with my grandparents in Oklahoma, and when my dad lost his job
and there was a big fight, and we left grandma and grandpa's house and we drove to Seattle because my
Dad said there would be a job in Seattle...but...but…
There is no work, and no money and no food. Dad is down at some shelter trying to find us a place to sleep
for tonight...Christmas Eve night of all nights.
(To Congregation) Is this 1993 or the year 403 when I lived? A child without food? A mother without a
home? A father without a job? What century is this? Hmmmmm...
(Tugging on Nicholas' gown) I don't know where to get help? Dad's really down and my brother is sick
Well, you come with me. (Nicholas puts out hand and child hesitates and withdraws slightly.) We'll find
help. There are good people out there to help you. This is what I used to do a long time ago: find good
people to help. (Child pauses and gives hand to St. Nicholas.) Let's go find your mother, father and brother
and see if we can do something about that unpleasant situation. Now, what we can do is...(the two are
walking out the center aisle, St. Nicholas with the little girl...)
(Alone and softly). O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in, Be
born in us today (long pause and then swells). We hear the Christmas angels. The great glad tidings tell.
Oh, come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!