A Christmas Skit
Santa Claus and a Sunday School Teacher are seated in chairs facing the congregation. A Child is seated in a seat between them. The Child stands up to deliver the first speech.
Child: Everyone talks about “the true meaning of Christmas”--the Christmas specials on t.v. say it’s all about giving, and being with your family--but then everyone acts like it’s all about getting a lot of cool stuff and breaking your diet and not worrying about gaining weight, and for me, it’s hoping that my relatives won’t embarrass me too much this year. But what is it really about?
Child is seated. Santa Claus stands up.
Santa Claus: The meaning of Christmas is really quite simple. Christmas is a holiday for making children happy. Especially good little children. Good little children who listen to their parents, follow the rules and act unselfishly deserve a reward. And bad little children--well … we won’t mention them …
Santa Claus is seated. Sunday School Teacher stands up.
Sunday School Teacher (addressing the Child): Don’t listen to him, young man. Christmas is not about deserving presents and getting them. On Christmas we remember that God gave us a present we didn’t deserve and that present is better than any gift imaginable.
Child (excited): [if a boy] Really? Is it a real helicopter with homing missiles?
[if a girl] Really? Is it a pony with rainbow hair?
Sunday School Teacher: (Sigh) No, it’s Jesus.
Child (disappointed): Oh … rats …
Sunday School Teacher: The gift is that Jesus enters into our hearts, just like he entered the world as a newborn baby at Bethlehem. If you have Jesus in your heart, you don’t need any other gifts.
The Child looks shocked and horrified. Santa Claus rises from his chair in anger.
Santa Claus: What do you mean by that? What are you trying to do here, say that I’m somehow wrong because I think giving and getting gifts is the true meaning of Christmas?
Sunday School Teacher: Well, yes. And to be quite honest, I think you’re disgustingly materialistic. (To the Child) Don’t you agree, young man/lady? (The Teacher takes hold of his/her arm)
Child: Well, um … maybe …
Santa Claus: Of course he/she doesn’t agree with you--he/she wants presents! Just like any little boy/girl would. (Addressing the Child and taking hold of his/her other arm) Isn’t that right?
Child: Well … I don’t know …
(Santa and Teacher ad lib insults cast at each other while pulling the Child back and forth)
Enter Jesus from the back of the sanctuary
Jesus (authoritatively): Just a cotton pickin’ minute!
Santa and Teacher drop the Child’s arms and freeze, gaping toward Jesus as he approaches.
Santa and Teacher: (Gasp) It’s Jesus!
Jesus: Yes, it’s me. And it looks like I got here not a moment too soon.
Teacher (shyly): We were just talking about--
Jesus: I know what you were talking about. I am Jesus, after all. And you, Santa, ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Teacher (loudly whispering to Santa): I told you your outlook is greedy.
Jesus: I never said he was making children greedy. Santa, you know what your sin is. You said just a minute ago that you give presents to good little girls and boys, didn’t you?
Santa (sheepishly): Well, yes, I did …
Jesus: And which children get the most presents? Is it the children who are the most obedient to their parents? Is it the ones who are the least selfish?
Santa: Well, no, not exactly …
Jesus: Then who is it? Who gets the most and the best toys?
Santa does not answer; he stares at the floor and scratches his head awkwardly.
Jesus: The wealthiest children get the most and the best toys. And what about the poorest children?
Santa: Well, if poor children are very good I do a special Christmas miracle, you know--I make sure that by my magic, an especially virtuous orphan or abused child will somehow receive just as great of a gift on Christmas as normal middle class children do.
Jesus: Oh, sure, Santa. Come on. We’re not talking about Christmas Specials on t.v. here, we’re talking about the real world. In the real world, on Christmas Day, orphans grieve for their parents even more than almost any other day of the year, and abused children get slapped in the face, or much worse, by their intoxicated parents.
Santa: I know, Jesus, but if we put that on t.v., it would just make people depressed--and who wants that during the holiday season? Holidays are a time for joy and celebration.
Jesus: Oh, yes, I know that--I’m not trying to dampen your holiday spirits--I’ve been known to be quite the “party animal” myself. If you don’t believe me, read Matt. 11:19. So of course I don’t mean to take away any of your joy in celebrating with family and friends.
Teacher: But, Jesus, then you must mean that the joy comes from within, from inviting you into our hearts, with the willingness of the virgin Mary, who bore that precious little baby on Christmas Day.
Jesus: Well, I do have to admit, I was a very cute little baby. And you’re right that, in a sense, I want to repeat the miracle of the incarnation in everyone who follows me. But you guys keep distracting me from what I came here to tell you today.
The Christmas scene I was born into was not one of comfort and security. It was not a warm, cozy middle class household. There was no roaring fire and no mashed potatoes with gravy on the first Christmas day.
Santa: I’m sorry, Jesus--if I’d’ve been around back then, it would have been different!
Jesus: I doubt it. Like I said, Santa, your rare, one-shot Christmas miracles have done very little to help working-class families like mine. And this is the point I’m trying to make here. That my incarnation is more than something to just give you all a sense of wonder and awe at the mystery of it. I came here, I became a human being, so that I could take on the likeness of people you call immoral or sinners: the tax collectors, the drug dealers, addicts and alcoholics, the prostitutes. I came here for the impoverished, broken families pungent with the stink of evil and despair. I was not born an infant so that I could be cute and adorable, but because I was willing to give up everything for people who are in need. And I mean, really in need.
Sunday School Teacher: But, um, Jesus, you said I was right, about welcoming you into our hearts, didn’t you?
Jesus: Yes, I did. And when you welcome me into your heart--that is, when you become part of my body, my church here in the world--that means you will be continuing my work. That means having compassion for the sinners, the outcasts, the poor, and bearing my light and my message of forgiveness and grace to the dark world into which you all, also, were born.
Child: Um, Jesus?
Jesus (kindly): Yes, child?
Child: I’m sorry, but I’m a little lost--what is the real meaning of Christmas?
Jesus: Christmas is about my incarnation. It’s a reminder that I came into this world, and that I am still here, in human form. I was born as a human being in Nazareth, and I am in you when you are in my love. Having my love in you means love for your family, your friends, and also for people you dislike, or are afraid of, and especially for people who are poor and suffering. Christmas is a time for enjoying and celebrating this love and forgiveness as you share it with your family and friends, and also, I hope, with people who are really in need. Does that answer your question?
Child: Yeah, I guess … but it’s still okay if I get excited about presents, right?
Jesus smiles big and gives the Child a hug.
Jesus: Yes, of course!
Santa picks up a sign with the words “THE END” written on it. Characters all stand, bow and walk out.