Christmas Series: Primary Nativity Program
If your ward is anything like mine, the Nativity program put on by the children of the Primary at the annual Ward Christmas Party is a highlight of the season! Some years, the script seems like it might have been lifted from “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” others you may notice the absence of spoken lines for the beloved female characters.
Let’s call this an “equitable” Nativity script, then. With spoken lines for Mary, Elisabeth and Anna (in addition to the lines of a second angel and shepherd which may be cast as either gender), this Nativity script offers equal speaking opportunities for girls and boys alike. It is taken almost entirely from the actual scripture text of the account given in Luke 1&2 (with a teeny, tiny lift from the NIV), plus a few lines from the Book of Mormon accounts in Helaman 14 and 3 Nephi 1. Since Anna’s actual words were not given in the scriptures, I wrote her lines based on the context clues given in Luke 2:38.
The musical numbers and hymns are just suggestions; it works beautifully well with songs swapped out depending on what your Primary children have learned or personal preference. Adding instrumental numbers based on your ward’s availability of players would be a lovely, unique touch. There are not many stage directions given in the script, mostly because I figured the stage action and set were pretty self-explanatory. A small manger scene. A step ladder for Samuel and Gabriel to stand on. A few microphones for the children to step forward and speak their lines so all can hear.
The Primary choir can be a mix of shepherds and angels. I imagine most Ward activity closets have a big bin of Nativity dress-ups for costumes, or the kids can create their own from towels and tablecloths from home.
Take away the set and the costumes, however, and you have a lovely program that could be duplicated in Sacrament meeting as a sort of “Primary Program Part 2,” if you have a bishopric to go for that kind of thing.
In my ward this year, the speaking parts are cast by kids in the Senior Primary, with everyone else (all the way down to the Sunbeams) in the Primary choir. The Narrators work well as adults, or well-spoken teenagers. Preparing this pageant with my Primary this year has been a sweet experience. We’ve told and re-told the story of the annunciation of the Angel to Mary, acted out the scene between Mary and Elisabeth and had beautiful discussions about Anna the Prophetess. Many of the kids remarked, “What’s a prophetess?” and that spurred a conversation about how women can testify of Christ, be workers in the temple, and be privy to special interactions with Savior. It has brought out some of the lesser-known parts of the Christmas story (“who’s Simeon?”) but, due to length of the overall program, the scene with the wise men visiting the young Christ child was not included. Going chronologically, it didn’t seem fitting to make that the final scene of the script; I really liked ending with Anna’s testimony of Christ and the words of the modern-day prophets about Jesus and his divine origin and mission. If it’s too late to use it in your ward this year, bookmark this page and save for next year! Enjoy!