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Why Gary Neal Hansen’s Christmas Play?

Your church wants to put on a pageant this December. You want more than kids as shepherds in bathrobes and tinsel-winged angels. Sure, they’re cute, but you want your congregation to know why the baby Jesus matters.

You want to show the real meaning of Christmas: the story of the coming of Christ into the world, Jesus born of Mary, the Son of God.

It is easy to go wrong in a play about Christmas. In a heartbeat things can get too sweet, or too preachy, or downright tacky.

Despite the best of intentions, plays can even take our attention away from Jesus. Focusing too hard on modern problems like materialism, they can almost forget to show the world-changing story of the coming of Christ. 

So you fear that your play will aim too low. You fear missing the once-a-year opportunity to help people see and feel the story of how our salvation began to be revealed.

Gary Neal Hansen’s Christmas Play tells the whole biblical story of the coming of Jesus in the Bible’s own words. It weaves all the relevant Gospel passages into one seamless drama. 

This is the story of the Light coming into a world of shadows -- the Light that darkness can never overcome.

Gary Neal Hansen is the award-winning author of Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers (InterVarsity, 2012), and Love Your Bible: Finding Your Way to the Presence of God with a 12th Century Monk (Climacus, 2015). He serves as Associate Professor of Church History at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. 

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“What you hold in your hand is powerful.  Hansen understands that the bells and whistles of Christmas often hide its true message, and so he allows the very words of scripture to irresistibly draw congregation and participants into the dramatic sweep of the story of God breaking into our world as the Christ-child.  In Christmas Play, the Living Word becomes embodied and proclaimed, creating a simple, yet powerfully joyful and serious production.  Hansen includes excellent stage directions and recommendations to ensure a deeply meaningful and significant Christmas experience.  You will find that Christmas Play is a tremendous way to let the wondrous story of Christ’s birth transform lives through this unique proclamation of scripture.”--Mark McIlraith, Ph.D., professional actor, currently Senior Pastor of Moorpark Presbyterian Church, Moorpark CA

“Gary Neal Hansen has handed us a gift. Christmas Play is easily staged for full production or can be offered as a reader’s theater presentation with script in hand. People of all ages can both enjoy and participate in this refreshingly full-bodied telling of Christmas. Angels, shepherds, prophets, animals, and a holy family; all take the Christmas stage and proclaim the Good, Good News:  For unto us a son is born.”--Lauren McFeaters, professional actress, currently Assoc. Pastor of Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton NJ

“As a current pastor, and a former actress, I can say with conviction that Gary Neal Hansen’s play is a beautifully evocative rendering of the gospel birth narrative. I plan on using this play myself knowing that it will have great impact for congregations and that it will be simple enough for amateurs to perform well.”--Lesley Abrams, professional actress, currently Pastor of St. John on the Desert Presbyterian Church, Tucson Arizona

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