Christmas In Iraq

BY Shelba Dixon




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Christmas in Iraq is a short play; takes about 20 to 30 min.

depending on how much music you use.

It has 9 characters, 5 M, 4 W.

Luke ------------a fun loving, boy about 12

Matt-------------a more serious boy about the same age

Janet------------a matter of fact young girl, close in age to the boys

Sally-------------a little on the silly and hyper side; same age

Mrs. Loud------a very opinionated gray haired gossip

Mrs. Fry---------an elderly lady who has a lot of common sense

†† andtwinkle in her eye, a friend of Mrs. Loud

Pastor Lane-----a friendly, compassionate man; appears to be

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in his 40's†††††††††††††††††††††††††

Soldier-----------a muscular man or teen-age boy with a deep

†† voice for reading the letter

Ishamel----------preferably a dark haired boy, non speaking part


Luke and Matt wear jeans and light jacket w/or without a scarf

gloves and or ball caps. In the last scene they should have church clothes .

Janet and Sally dress appropriately for being outdoors in their first

appearance. They can come in with the singers if you want in the

first scene.The last scene they should be dressed in pretty Christmas


Mrs. Loud should be dressed in dark colors and very sophisticated.

Mrs. Fry would be stylish but not overdone.

Pastor Lane could wear a suit or just shirt and pants in first scene.

He needs a coat, probably a rain coat would be cooler on stage.

The last scene he could have a suit or dress shirt and pants.

Soldier would wear camouflage pants, could have a bandage around

his middle. Maybe an army green T shirt. Dog tags help.

Ishmael would have brown pants and a cream colored shirt. A fair

child could play this part if you have a wig.

















Half of the stageis a street scene with a neat pile of snowballs and some orange crates near by. The other half of the stage is the inside of the church. The play starts with a group of kids singing, ďCome on Ring Those Bells.Ē The group moves off stage shouting Merry Christmas. One or two kids stop to ask Luke if he is coming to the church for Christmas program practice. Luke shakes his head ďNo!Luke is busy arranging his snow balls in a neat pile as Matt approaches. It is about a month before Christmas. Matt walks slowly up to where Matt is

stacking snowballs.


LUKE:†††††††††† Hi Matt, want to build a fort and play war with my new pile of snowballs?


MATT:†††††††††† Naa, Iím not in the mood today.


LUKE:†††††††††† Yeah, youíre just afraid that Iíll cream you like I did last time. Ha ,ha remember that? You were as white as a snowman.


MATT:†††††††††† Yeah, I remember. (Sits down on a crate with his head in his hands.)


LUKE:†††††††††† Youíre not still mad at me about that are you?


MATT:†††††††††† No.......Luke, did you ever wish there was no such thing as Christmas?


LUKE:†††††††††† (Shocked) What do you mean?


MATT:†††††††††† I mean that I hate this time of year.Everybody is so happy, singing songs,(points in the direction the singers went.)

putting up fancy lights,(motions toward some Christmas lights on stage.) and walking around saying, Merry Christmas (Says this sarcastically.) to

everyone. On top of that we are supposed to do that stupid Christmas program at church.


LUKE:†††††††††† I hate to tell you this, but if there were no Christmas then thereís no gifts.Last week you were excited about getting that new Nintendo game.


MATT:†††††††††† Yeah, that was last week,------ before my Dad was called to go to Iraq.


LUKE:††††††††††, youíre serious arenít you?(Luke goes over close to Matt and sits on a crate) When does he have to leave?


MATT:†††††††††† In two days,(Matt puts his head down on his arms, then he lifts his head and wipes away some tears) Mom says things are going to be pretty tight as far as money goes. She has to go look for a job.


LUKE:†††††††††† Thatís tough. I know how much you wanted that Nintendo game.


MATT:†††††††††† (Matt stands up and shouts) I donít want any stupid Nintendo game.I just donít want my Dad to die! (Matt walks off with his head down

kicking snow as he goes.)


LUKE:†††††††††† (Luke rises and looks after Matt as he leaves. Then he turns and looks up to the sky and says) LORD, why does there have to be war anyway?(Stats pacing as he talks) Mattís my best friend, and I hate to see him so unhappy.What can I do to help him? Iíve tried talking to him before about getting saved and he just wonít listen. (Luke either sings, Can You Reach My Friend?, or someone else can sing it and Luke can act like he is thinking or singing it.)


LANE:†††††††††† (We see the Pastor in the church getting ready to come out by putting on his coat and scarf.He then mimes opening the door and comes out he should look like he going out into the cold. He picks up a snowball as he says) Hi Luke. How is that fort coming along? I have a few minutes if you want to volley a few snowballs.


LUKE:†††††††††† Oh, Hi Pastor Lane, No, Iím not in the mood right now.


PASTOR:††††† Now that is news when youíre not in the mood for some fun. What seems to be the problem Luke?


LUKE:†††††††††† Pastor, did you ever wish that there was no such thing as Christmas?


PASTOR:††††† Only when the bills come due.But I see you are in no mood for jokes.Why would you wish there was no Christmas?


LUKE:†††††††††† Itís not me that wishes that.Matt does, because his Dad has to go to Iraq.You see Matt is worried that he might lose his Dad over there.


PASTOR:††††† Iím sorry Luke. (Sits on a crate beside Luke , looks down for a moment)You know Luke, Christmas is about Jesus coming into this wicked world as a baby, so that all who believe on his death, burial and resurrection and take him as Lord of their life, will have eternal life.(Luke agrees nodding his head) Now I know that Mattís dad and Mom have trusted Christ as savior just as you and your family have.But I donít think Matt has been saved yet?


LUKE:†††††††††† I tried to talk to him one day but he said he has plenty of time to do that.


PASTOR:††††† (Pastor shakes his head knowingly)You know sometimes good things happen so that bad things can happen, so that good things can happen. (Pastor looks rather pleased with himself)


LUKE:†††††††††† (Looks confused) Excuse me, but what?


PASTOR:††††† Well, let me explain it this way. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus

came as a little baby right? That is a good thing. (Luke nods in agreement). It is always a blessed event when a baby is born. But, Jesus came as a sweet little baby to grow up and live a perfect life and die a most terrible death. That is a bad thing. His death was to pay the price for our sin so that we can be saved and go to Heaven. Thatís a good thing!


LUKE:†††††††††† I know all that, but what does that have to do with war and Mattís Dad having to go to Iraq?


PASTOR:††††† Well, I was thinking that maybe this will cause Matt to be a little more serious about his own life and death situation. Maybe if you came to the Christmas program practice and brought Matt.. well who knows how God will work things out? You know this just might be what it will take to see Matt accept Christ. That would be a great Christmas present for Matt and his Dad.


LUKE:†††††††††† Maybe youíre right but right now Matt seems to be too worried about his Dad to think of himself.


PASTOR:††††† Well, Luke, all we can do is pray and let God do the rest. Walk with me. (Pastor and Luke appear to be talking as they walk off stage.)



††††††††††††††††††††††† Good place for song.


††††††††††††††††††††††† The following is the Chorus from Helen Baylorís song entitled ďCan You Reach My Friend.ĒWith some reworking of the Pastors previous line, Luke could remain on stage and sing it or remain on stage positioned as if praying while someone else sings the song (full song or chorus).


††††††††††††††††††††††† Can You reach my friend?
Youíre the only One who can
Lord, I know You love him
Help him understand
Can you reach my friend?
Bring his searching to an end
Help him give his heart to You




SALLY:†††††††† (Sally approaches the pile of snowballs cautiously.She rubs her hands together to warm them.) Hmm..................I wonder where the trouble makers are hiding?





JANET:†††††††† (Janet comes in from the opposite direction)Hi, Sal, have you been waiting long?


SALLY:†††††††† No, I just got here. (She is still looking around as if expecting to see someone.)


JANET:†††††††† Why did you want to meet here? Isnít this where Luke and Matt hang out?


SALLY:†††††††† (Defensively) Itís close to my home...............and.......


JANET:†††††††† Oh, I get it. (Accusingly) You like one of those boys donít you? Letís see which one is it?


SALLY:†††††††† I do not like either one of those boys.They are nothing but trouble makers!


JANET:†††††††† Yeah, youíre right. (Paused and looks Sally in the eyes and says) Cute troublemakers.


SALLY:†††††††† Ok (Draws out this word) So I like one of them but Iím not saying which one.


JANET:†††††††† If you tell me which one you like, Iíll ........................tell you which one I like.


SALLY:†††††††† ( With her hands on her hips looking indignant) I thought we took an oath not to like boys until next year.


JANET:†††††††† Iím glad to see you kept your part of the deal.


SALLY:†††††††† Isnít it neat we both broke our agreement about the same time?We always have been....................(eyes wide) tell me which one it is that you like..........Oh, no (shaking her hands and jumping up and down partly to keep warm partly because she is hoping that Janet doesnít like the same boy.) Janet what if we like the same boy?


JANET:†††††††† Itís not like we are getting married you know.


SALLY:†††††††† You tell me first.


JANET:†††††††† No, no you tell me first.


SALLY:†††††††† I know, I have some paper in my pocket and a pen. Letís both write down the one we like and hand it to the other one.


JANET:†††††††† Ok, but like what is this going to prove?


SALLY:†††††††† I donít know. Letís just do it ok?


JANET:†††††††† Whatever. (Sally writes down on the paper and tares off a piece of paper for Janet and then hands her the pen and Janet writes.They both look at each other and Sally squeals) Ready, set, open!


JANET:†††††††† I knew it.You like Matt!


SALLY:†††††††† And you like Luke!


LUKE:†††††††††† Hi, guys.What are you up to?

(Both girls act like they were caught doing something wrong and quickly stuff the pieces of paper in their pockets.)


SALLY:†††††††† (Sounding angry) We arenít doing anything.And we are girls not guys.


LUKE:†††††††††† Excuse me. (Draws this out.)


JANET:†††††††† We were just talking about you and Matt. (Sally gives a worried look toward Janet.)


LUKE:†††††††††† Yeah?What were you saying?


SALLY:††††††† Oh, we were wondering why you and Matt werenít out here like you usually are.


LUKE:††††††††† Matt doesnít feel much like playing since he found out that his Dad has been called to fight in Iraq.


SALLY:††††††† Oh, no!


JANET:††††††† Wow, I canít believe it.The war always seemed so far away........and I never knew anyone over there............but now.


SALLY:††††††† I know what you mean.We always pray for the troops.........but well I think it will make me more sincere in praying for them now.


JANET:††††††† What can we do for Matt?


LUKE:††††††††† Well it doesnít seem like much to me but I was talking with Pastor Lane and he says that the best thing for now is to let more people from the church know so that they can pray Mattís family and for Godís will to be done.Pastor says that no matter how bad things get we need to remember that God is still in control. Although I sometimes wonder how true that is?I shouldnít say that. (Here the girls look at each other and turn and walk away. Luke continues talking as if they are still there.) I invited him to help with setting up the props for the Christmas program practice hoping that I could talk to him about getting saved. He didnít answer me. We are going to visit my grandma and I wonít see him for a long time if he doesnít come to practice. I just really donít know what to do because Matt is beginning to hate Christmas. I hope he doesnít turn against God all together. What he really needs is Christmas in his heart.



†††††††††††††††††††††† This is a good place for Christmas Isnít Christmas Christ Till Itís Christmas

In Your Heart. (Luke can sing this or the group of singers can sing it.)








It is two weeks later and Luke is pacing nervouslywaiting for Matt.


LUKE:†††††††††† Iíve never been so nervous. Matt wants me to meet him here for some reason.

I hope itís about the Christmas program practice. I havenít seen him in two weeks. LORD I donít know what to say to him.How do I cheer up someone whoís Dad is in so much danger?


MATT:†††††††††† Hi, Luke. (Sounds cheerful)


LUKE:†††††††††† Hi, Matt, how are things going?


MATT:†††††††††† Iím doing so much better since I got saved in church last week.


LUKE:†††††††††† Really? I didnít know that. Oh, yeah our family went to New York City to visit my grandmother last weekend. So you really got saved?


MATT:†††††††††† Yeah, You know what? I feel better about my Dad being gone too.


LUKE:†††††††††† Really? Boy God really pullssome surprises.


MATT:†††††††††† Yeah, I figure if God can create everything, keep everything working and if he can save me and keep me saved, then he can keep my Dad safe.


LUKE:†††††††††† Yeah, I suppose that is a good way to look at it. (Slowly, sounding doubtful)


MATT:†††††††††† Just what do you mean? You were always wanting me to get saved, now you donít seem too sure that God can take care of my Dad.


LUKE:†††††††††† I didnít mean that ............I just, well,......... you know,........ sometimes things happen .......that we donít want to happen.....even when God is in control.Pastor Lane says we have to remember that God is in control even when bad things happen.


MATT:†††††††††† So you donít think that my Dad is going to be safe, is that it? (Sounds angry.)


LUKE:†††††††††† I didnít say that.I just said that........I just was saying that.....well I was saying what Pastor Lane said.


MATT:†††††††††† Fine Christian friend you are, I might as well spend time with the girls.

(Stomps off.)


LUKE:†††††††††† LORD, why do I always put my big foot in my so called spiritual mouth?






Good place for a song. (It is the following day and Mrs. Loud and Mrs. Fry are walking down the street.



MRS. LOUD:†††††††††† Well if it isnít one thing it is another!


MRS. FRY:†† Very profound my dear.


MRS. LOUD:You know how Mabel loves to gossip.


MRS. FRY:†† Oh , yes, everyone knows that.What has she been up to now?


MRS. LOUD: Well, are you ready for this?She said Mr. And Mrs. Brown are heading for divorce and are going for counseling with that Reverend Lane and.......


MRS. FRY:†† Sounds to me like they are trying to get help, not headed for divorce.Iíve heard that Reverend Lane has helped many...............


MRS. LOUD: Now, Louise, please donít interrupt me when Iím talking.I donít know about you but I would never go to that church. About that Reverend, we all know what a phony he is.(Pastor Lane walks up to them greeting them)


PASTOR:††††† Good morning ladies.


MRS. FRY:†† Why reverend Lane we were just talking about you, werenít we Elizabeth? (Mrs. Loud acts very flustered.)


PASTOR:††††† Nothing bad I hope? (Looks directly at Mrs. Loud)


MRS. LOUD:Well of course not. Whatever could we say bad about a man of the cloth?


PASTOR:††††† I would like to invite you ladies to our Christmas program next Sunday night.The children have been working very hard and doing a fine job. I know your church doesnít have a service that night and besides, we will be taking up a special offering to help make Christmas a little more cheerful for the Mason family.You know them, they live about two houses down from you Mrs. Loud.



LOUD:†††††††††† Yes, yes, What has happened that they need cheering up?


PASTOR:††††† Iím sorry.I took it for granted that you had heard.Mr. Mason has been in Iraq for about a month now and.........well,they received word yesterday that....................he is missing in action.As you can imagine the family is devastated.


MRS. FRY:†† Iím so sorry to hear that Reverend Lane.


PASTOR:††††† So, we will see you at the program on Sunday night?


MRS. LOUD:Well, I assure you I will certainly give it considerable thought.


MRS. FRY:†† Iím sure she will be there unless she is sick.


PASTOR:††††† Good day ladies.


MRS.LOUD:What ever made you say something like that Louise? Why Iím as healthy as a horse. (Hotly indignant)


MRS. FRY:†† I thought you might be sick after chocking on all those nice words you had for the Reverend.


MRS. LOUD:Well, you can go to that Christmas program if you want but donít expect me to go with you Louise Fry. (Starts down the street in the opposite direction.)


MRS. FRY:†† Tell Mabel I said, ďHi!Ē(Mrs. Loud turns away from Mrs. Fry and storms off mumbling) Well I never!


MRS. FRY:†† (After watching Mrs. Loud storm off in a huff she smiles)I am going to go to that Christmas program! Walks off singing a Christmas song.







(Inside the church on the Sunday night before Christmas. A song has just been sung and the Pastor has just sat down. Luke is sitting alone. The girls are behind him.†††† Mrs. Fry and Mrs. Loud are there. Good place for a song. Matt comes in and sits beside Luke.)


LUKE:†††††††††† So you arenít angry with me anymore?


MATT:†††††††††† No, my Mom explained to me that you just didnít want me to get my hopes up in case something bad happened.


LUKE:†††††††††† But something bad has happened.


MATT:†††††††††† Right, but you know what? This is going to be a great service tonight.


LUKE:†††††††††† Boy, Matt, one minute you are angry, then when you should be sad you are happy.I think you have spent too much time with the girls.


MATT:†††††††††† (Matt hits Luke playfully and then laughs) I guess I deserved that.I have been a little unstable lately.


PASTOR:††††† Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls besides the Christmas pageant that I know you will enjoy we have an extra special treat for you tonight.As you know Sargent Mason has bee missing in action for two weeks and his son Matthew who recently accepted Christhas something he wishes to share with you.Matt, you may come now.


MATT:†††††††††† Hi, I donít have much to say but I wanted to read this letter that I got yesterday. (Opens a letter and reads.)


Hi, Son,(Here the boyís voice fades and the fatherís voice starts.) Lights come up on a soldier lying on cot dressed in camouflage. There is a young Arab boy sitting close by.


I want you to know that I am ok.I know you heard that I was missing in action, but I am found. Sort of like you were when you were far away from the LORD.Now you have been found.You know you were in more danger than I was because could have lost your soul forever but had I died, I would only have lost my earthly life.I canít tell you how happy I was to receive your letter telling me that you accepted the Lord Jesus into your heart.I have prayed for that for years.


I told you that I am ok, but I am in the hospital and doing fine.I took a bullet in the side but it missed all vital organs. I thank the LORD for that.I have to say though it did hurt, but they are taking good care of me here and it wonít be long till I will be home.


The battle that I was involved in brought me in contact with a young English speaking Iraqi boy who lost his parents in the same battle.He is a year older than you. We were together for days and he helped take care of me and brought me water when I was very weak.He and his parents were trying to flee the city.They were targeted by their own people.We both pretended to be dead until the enemy left.


The best news is, I shared with him the truth of the gospel and he wanted to receive Jesus as his savior. You have a new brother in the LORD.His name is Ishmael.Isnít that something?He follows me everywhere I go and is sitting here watching me write to you.He likes your picture and says to say, ďHi!Ē Take care of your Mom.Keep reading the Bible and praying. (Boys voice fades back)







MATT:†††††††††† I talked to my Mom and asked her if we could adopt Ishmael.I tried to make her feel guilty by saying Iíve always wanted an older brother.She wasnít sure†† it could be done. She said before taking a big step like that we need to pray and seek Godís will. Well thatĎs all I have to say. (Starts to leave and then comes back.) Oh, one more thing. Would you all pray with us about adopting Ishmael?Merry Christmas everyone!


( We see Mrs. Loud and Mrs. Fry dabbing a tissue to their eyes as Matt reads

the letter.)

The students that sang at the beginning come up and join Luke and

††††††††††††††††††††††† Matt. They all join in singing an appropriate song.


†† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††