A Christmas drama like no other! Written by a Middle Eastern and biblical expert, this version of the Christmas story reflects what the Bible actually says rather than what tradition has portrayed. Each play participant should read the essay included, Where Was the Manger and What Was the Inn? to better understand the biblical foundation upon which the play is written. The script calls for a 12-member cast---10 adults and two children---plus extras. Approx. performance time: 25-30 minutes (without music); 45-50 minutes (with music).
The traditional story of Jesus' birth is well known and beloved. A long journey from home. A pregnant mother. The crisis of birth. Remarkable visitors. But there is more. For the first time, here is a drama that accurately presents what the Bible actually says rather than what tradition and mistranslations of Scripture have portrayed. This fresh Christmas drama from world-renowned Middle Eastern and biblical expert Kenneth Bailey is full of wonder and hope. Pastors, Christian educators, musicians and others will welcome the opportunity to present to their congregations this drama of hospitality, grace and joy. Five original contemporary folk songs for guitar and a (SATB) choral anthem are also available to give the production delightful musical accents. InterVarsity Press also provides a PDF download musical score as well as a music CD or MP3 download in which all these songs are performed twice, once with vocals and once with accompaniment only. Without music, the drama can be performed in 25-30 minutes. With music, the performance time is 45-50 minutes. Here is a drama that is biblically accurate, heartwarming and perfectly suited for church performance.
Kenneth E. Bailey (ThD, Concordia Theological Seminary) is an author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he also serves as Canon Theologian of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The author of more than 150 articles in English and in Arabic, his writings include and Bailey spent forty years living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus. For twenty of those years he was Professor of New Testament and Head of the Biblical Department of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut where he also founded and directed the Institute for Middle Eastern New Testament Studies. Bailey was also on the faculty of The Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem. Traveling around the globe to lecture and teach, Bailey has spoken in theological colleges and seminaries in England (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol) Ireland, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia and Jerusalem. He is active as a Bible teacher for conferences and continuing education events in the Middle East, Europe and North America, and has taught at Columbia, Princeton and Fuller Seminary. Bailey and his wife Ethel now reside in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, where he continues to write and lecture on the New Testament. He spent forty years living and teaching New Testament in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus, still holding the title of research professor (emeritus) of Middle Eastern New Testament studies at the Ecumenical Institute (Tantur), Jerusalem. Bailey has written many books in English and in Arabic, including and He has also published many articles in and .
"With profound biblical understanding expressed in simple beauty, Ken Bailey combines his gifts with those of son/songwriter David, D. T. Niles and others to help us 'drink from the spring of Scripture as close to the source as possible.' In a world awash in stereotypical Christmas celebrations, don't miss this opportunity to offer Jesus our best."
"Your Christmas program will never be the same once you 'drink from the spring of Scripture' and hear the story of Christ's birth anew through the Middle Eastern insights of Ken Bailey--a master teacher for all ages!"
"Ken Bailey's scholarship gave "the West" a real treasure in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. His scholarship and imagination have now given western eyes a new way of looking at the birth of Jesus. Christmas in church has been offered a new and authentic setting--what a gift, what a legacy!"
"Ken Bailey retells the Christmas story not only with biblical integrity but with great warmth, wit and wisdom. When this drama was presented, we watched the incarnation become transformed from 'no room at the inn' into an experience of radical hospitality. This imaginative, dramatic script can revitalize the Christmas season in any size congregation."
"Having seen a production of Ken Bailey's Open Hearts in Bethlehem I can say that it is the new and important Christmas play many of us have been longing and waiting for. It reflects Dr. Bailey's lifelong immersion in Middle Eastern culture and his brilliant grasp of theological scholarship. Add to that the beautiful original musical score and the result is a fresh and original approach to the Christmas story. As an actor-director and former professor of theatre I highly recommend this production."
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