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What Shall I Give A King? Christmas Play - Poem by Loyd C. Taylor, Sr.


Christmas Play


Adult Choir sings: Joy to the World (Traditional)

Worship Leader: After the choir sings all verses, the worship leader invites the congregation to stand and sing the first verse and chorus again.

Opening Prayer:

Program Introduction: What Shall I Give to the King?

Stage direction: After prayer and everyone is seated, the program is introduced and the lights are dimmed.

Children's choir: Silent Night-Holy Night (Non-traditional)

Play begins: ACTION


Sound tech: Play soft background music: Silent Night

One cold winter afternoon a long, long time ago, some very wonderful news came to a little country town named Bethlehem.
What news, you may ask?
Why, a king was going to visit their little town. That's right: a king, a royal king. But he was not your usual king; no, this king was still a baby. That's right: a newborn baby king. His parents have named him Jesus because they followed the instructions of an angel, it is said.
The baby king was being moved from a stable where he has been born to a near-by house belonging to one of the town's people.
The whole village buzzed like a bee hive with this exciting news and the prospect of getting to see a real king. The air felt electric, for nothing like this had ever happened before in their small village. Faces filled with joy and anticipation as the town kept buzzing with the news, 'A King will be visiting their village! '
Sound tech: Music fades completely out...

In those days, it was customary to present a gift to a person of royalty when you appeared before him. The question on everyone's mind seemed to be, 'What shall I give to a King? '
Shops were packed with anxious shoppers, seeking just the right gift to present to this royal visitor.
However, one family in particular found themselves in a bit of a dilemma: although they were very happy about the news, they were also very poor, so, 'What could they possibly give to a King? '
Let's ponder this question for a moment. 'If you were called into the presence of a king and wished to present to him a gift, 'What would you give a King? '
Samuel's family received their answer from a mysterious visit and whispered message of an angel.
We invite you to enter into their world for just a brief while as we visit them in their humble cottage. You may be able to help them solve their dilemma as we witness the family decide just how to handle the exciting news.
Samuel is known as Samuel of Urr. He is a good man, a respectable and hard working carpenter. He isn't wealthy, but manages to provide for his family. Merriam is his wife. Rachel, Hannah and Caleb are their three children.
Samuel has just put in another exhausting day's work. On his way home, as he approaches his little cottage, he hears the 'Town-crier' making a proclamation of an exciting event that will occur shortly. He can hardly believe his ears! Samuel hurries home to share the news with his family.

Children's Choir: Go Tell It on the Mountain (Non-traditional)

Sound tech: Music will continue to play softly as the children’s choir is seated



Sound tech: Music will fade completely


Samuel can be seen walking towards his house carrying, his tool box and lunch pail. The Town-Crier begins, Samuel stops to listen.
The 'Town-Crier' holds an ancient parchment that gives predictions of this king's birth. He goes about the town, shouting from the street corners, making sure everyone knows about this special event.

Listen! I hear him now:

FADE OUT... Narrator

FADE IN... Samuel and Town Crier

Stage Direction:
Samuel is slumped over and dragging his tool box and lunch pail. His head hangs low.
Town-Crier appears, unrolls a scroll and reads the Proclamation.

Town-Crier: Hear ye, hear ye... Let every ear hear and let every heart receive the solemn words I hereby proclaim unto you today. We have cause for celebration, for the long awaited King of Israel has appeared in our little town as thus recorded by the Holy Prophets:

Isa: 7: 14: 'Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.'

Isa: 9: 6: 'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isa: 9: 7: Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.'

Isa: 11: 1: 'And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

Isa: 11: 2: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; '

Mic: 5: 2: 'But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.'

This baby king has been named Jesus, for he has been sent to save his people! The words I proclaim unto you today have been written by holy men of old though the Spirit of the Almighty God. Blessed be the ears that hear and the hearts that believe. Haste now all ye residents of Bethlehem, let us prepare for this marvelous event!

The scribe moves from the location and as he disappears. He can be heard reading faintly in the distance until he is out of hearing distance.



Stage direction: Samuel picks up his pace as well as his head and heads for his home to share the news he has just heard. He comes running into his house, excitedly places his tool box and lunchbox down and calls for his wife and children.

Samuel: Family come, come quickly! Gather around.

Stage direction: Samuel is pacing, as an expectant father might over the news of a newborn child.

Stage direction: Family enters.
Merriam enters first into the room, makes a bowing gesture to her husband, and takes his lunchbox and cloak.
Rachel enters bowing, and then stands near her mom.
Hannah and Caleb enter, give their dad a quick hug, and then take their places on the floor near his feet.
Merriam has a concerned look on her face; she comes nearer to her husband.

Merriam: What is it, Samuel? What are you so excited about?

Samuel: Woman, I have just heard the most amazing news!

Stage direction: Rachel jumps up and down and waves her arms as she takes a step towards her dad exhibiting some excitement as well...

Rachel: Oh Father, what is this great news?

Stage direction: Hannah jumps up and down excitedly.

Hannah: Will we be getting a pony or a new baby lamb?

Stage direction:
Caleb looks intently at his father and listens, but does not speak.
Samuel motions for them to settle down, gesturing with his hands.

Samuel: Family, listen to me; a king is coming to visit our small town!

Merriam: A king? A king is coming to Bethlehem?

Samuel: Woman, it is true. The Town-crier proclaimed it earlier this very day, on this very street. It is true, it is true! He is the one the prophets spoke of, his name is Jesus. This king is God's Son!

Merriam: Husband, if you are sure you heard correctly, then this is indeed good news!

Samuel: Woman, I heard every word. Baby King Jesus is coming to our town. We must prepare! Everyone will be doing special things to honor him. I am sure he will receive many gifts. Family, this will be a day to remember! '

Stage direction: Hannah jumps up excitedly, shouting repeatedly…

Hannah: A king is coming! A king is coming!

Rachel: Mother, may I make a new dress? Oh, I must take down my new material and get started on a new dress!

Stage direction:
Rachel elegantly leaves the room.
Hannah excitedly jumps up and down.

Hannah: Mother, mother, may I also have a new dress and may I have some new shoes? Please, please?

Stage direction:
Hannah runs out of the room all excited before her mom could respond.
Samuel appears to be concerned, wringing his hands. He paces to the window and stares out.

Merriam: You seemed troubled, my lord.

Stage direction: Caleb sees his father's concerned look, stops playing with his donkey, staring curiously at his father.

Samuel: Come here, Merriam, and let us talk.

Stage direction:
Samuel sits down at the small wooden table, motioning for Merriam to join him.
Merriam pours them a cup of juice and places a loaf of bread before him, then takes a seat as they proceed to talk.


Stage direction: During the entire time, Caleb hasn't said a word. He has been playing with his toy donkey. He moves closer to hear what his parents will talk about. He places his hands to his cheeks as if in deep thought and listens intently.


Sound tech: Begin music to choir number “O LITTLE TOW…”

Adult Choir sings: O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM (Non-traditional)


Sound tech: Allow music to fade for choir number “O LITTLE TOW…”



Stage direction: Conversation takes place between Merriam and Samuel

Samuel: I am deeply concerned about the arrival of this new king.

Merriam: My Lord, I thought you were happy. What is it that troubles you so?

Samuel: I am concerned because everyone will be bringing special gifts to present to the king... I fear that what we shall be able to give him will be so unworthy.

Merriam: What is it that you plan to give to the king?

Samuel: I have saved up several gold coins from the sale of crops, to us they are worth a year's wages, but what would they be to a king?

Merriam: My Lord, if I might be allowed to speak?

Samuel: Speak, Woman... Speak!

Merriam: If it would please my Lord, allow your daughters and me to bake three loaves of bread using our finest wheat.

Then, if it pleases my Lord, we shall also prepare one of our purest flasks of wine.

We shall weave a beautiful basket to place these items in.

Then my Lord, you may present these gifts as well as your gold to this new king.

Samuel: Woman, that is a wonderful idea!

Merriam: I shall get started right away, if it pleases you, my Lord.

Samuel: Thou art a gift thyself to me, Woman! Thank you. May the God of our fathers bless the work of your hands.

Merriam: I suppose I should go and gain the help of our daughters as we prepare for the great event.

Samuel: God's blessings, Woman. We will only be permitted to have a small space of time, we must hasten! I will go, prepare a small wooden box for the gold.

Stage direction:
Samuel and Merriam hurriedly leave the room while Caleb is left alone.
Caleb rises, steps to the window and gazes up at the sky; he seems to be lost in deep thought. Then he folds his hands in prayer as he speaks...

Caleb: Dear God, I am just a little boy. Mother and Father, even my sisters have a gift to give the baby king.

Stage direction: Caleb pauses, slumps his shoulders disappointedly...

Caleb: Dear God, what gift shall I give to a King?

The family members each have their part to play in the great celebration, all, it seems, but Caleb. He seems to have been overlooked in all the excitement, maybe because he is just a little boy. After all, what could a little boy like Caleb do anyway? He has no gold or silver; he has no job... He only has his little donkey, maybe a nice gift for a little boy, but certainly not suitable for a real king.
Although he is just a little boy, he seems to know how important this event is, but he finds himself in a difficult predicament. He had heard of the nice gifts everyone would give to King Jesus, but he had nothing. The question troubled his mind, 'What Shall I Give to a King? '

Stage direction: Caleb arises, moves over to the window and gazes up to the sky as he sings.

Sound tech: Fade in music to song “Just a Little Boy”

Caleb: sings: JUST A LITTLE BOY (solo) Verses 1 and 2 and chorus only.


Sound tech: Fade out music to song “Just a Little Boy”

Stage direction: Caleb moves slowly from the window, and then settles back to the floor. He proceeds to play somewhat sadly with his donkey.


Sound tech: Begin music for “A Little Boy Too” Choir positions to sing.

Stage direction: Adult choir and soloist is positioned to sing.

Adult Choir: A Little Boy, Too_ (With Solo)


Sound tech: Allow music to fade naturally, as Choir is seated and ext scene begins.



Stage direction: Caleb stops playing, goes over to the other window and prays again…

Caleb: Dear God, can you help me, 'What gift shall I give to the King? '

Stage manager: This is the cue for the stage manager to flip the lights on.

Lighting techs: On cue, turn every light off simultaneously to allow the angel to appear. Pause… Turn on baptistery light and Caleb’s light. Note: When the scene ends, the procedure is reversed.

Stage direction –
The stage goes completely dark for a couple of seconds, and then when the lights come on, the Angel is standing in the room.
Angel appears to Caleb.

Angel: Caleb!

Stage direction: Caleb turns towards the voice and appears startled when he sees the angel.

Angel: Caleb, God has heard your prayer.

Caleb: Are you an angel?

Angel: Yes Caleb, I am one of God's angels.


Caleb, God sees your heart. He knows you are just a little boy and that you do not possess expensive gifts.
Caleb, God wants you to know that there is one gift that is worth more than gold, silver, jewels or any other material things.

This gift is the one God would love to have given to him more than anything else.

Caleb, you already have that gift and it is in your power to give.

Caleb: Hosanna!


Caleb: What gift do I have? Please tell me.

Angel: I shall blow you a heavenly message as a whisper in your ear to tell you of the best gift to give the King.

It will be your choice as to whether you give it. If you choose to give this gift to the King, then He wishes you to share this heavenly message with others also.

Tell them that above all of the gold, above all of the silver and diamonds, yes, above everything, there is one thing that each person possesses. It is a gift that God would be honored to have.

Caleb: Please, please tell me, tell me!

Angel: Caleb, hold your hand to your ear and receive the heavenly message.

Stage direction:
The angel extends his hands, moves his mouth, and then magically blows the heavenly message to Caleb (similar to blowing a kiss) .
Caleb cups his ear and acts as if he receives the message.
Caleb's eyes grow large. He jumps up for joy! He turns around and around with joy.

Caleb: Hosanna! Hosanna! Thank you!

Angel: Caleb, you should thank God, for it is he that gave you this gift!

Stage direction: Caleb goes over to face the window, gazes heavenward... folds his hands and prays...

Caleb: Dear God, thank you for the gift to give to the king

Stage direction: The cue to turn the lights off and on for the angel to depart will be when Caleb goes to the window to pray.

Lighting techs: On cue, turn every light off simultaneously to allow the angel to disappear. Pause… turn off the baptistery and Caleb’s light. When the angel is gone, the procedure is reversed, lights are back on.

Stage direction - The stage goes completely dark for a couple of seconds, and then when the lights come on, the Angel is gone from the scene.



Stage direction:
When Caleb ends his prayer, the angel is gone, the family enters.
Family races in one by one into the room where Caleb is.
Caleb turns happily to face the family.

Merriam: Caleb, what was all the shouting about?

Samuel: Is everything all right, my son?

Rachel: Did you see something?

Hannah: Did you see a mouse?

Caleb: I saw an angel!

Hannah: A real angel?

Caleb: A real angel!

Rachel: What did he want?

Caleb: He told me what I could give the new king!

Hannah: Is it your toy donkey?

Stage direction: Hannah runs over, picks up the toy donkey and points at it.

Rachel: You are just a little boy, what could you possibly give to a king?

Caleb: Come closely, I will whisper and tell you what the angel told me.

Stage direction: The family huddles eagerly around Caleb as he whispers them the angel’s message.

What was the heavenly message the angel whispered to Caleb?

What was it that Caleb had to give to King Jesus?

What was it that the angel told Caleb that every person has that they could give to the King as well?




Stage direction:
The family hugs each other in joy. Smiles are on their faces.
Samuel raises his hands in praise towards heaven.

Samuel: Praise be to our God! Son Caleb, this is great news!
Stage direction: The family happily turns to face the audience.

Samuel: We must share the news with one and all!

Stage direction:
Samuel and Caleb step briskly forward.
Samuel cups his hands to his mouth as if he is shouting to the town.

Listen, listen everyone. My son Caleb has learned an important lesson this day.

He has learned that King Jesus is not concerned about treasures of gold, or silver.

There is one thing that he longs for above all gift!

Caleb my son, tell us what the angel told you.

Sound tech: Music begins for Caleb’s song

Caleb: sings: JUST A LITTLE BOY (solo) Verse 3 and Chorus

Stage direction: When Caleb’s song finishes, the music ceases, then Caleb steps to the center of the platform, raises his voice and shouts...

Caleb: Jesus the King wants my heart and he wants yours too!

Stage direction: The children come forward who will recite the poem.

Poem Readers: Recite poem “What to Give a King? ”

Sound tech: Music for “Little Drummer Boy” begins as children are seated.

Stage direction: Adult choir positions to sing.

Adult Choir: Little Drummer Boy


Sound tech: Music for “Little Drummer Boy” fades as Adult choir is seated.




Sound tech: Silent Night (Traditional) Music only plays in the background.

During this special time of year we celebrate the birth of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He came to earth and was born of the Virgin Mary in the town of Bethlehem.

Even though he was given expensive gifts, such as gold, frankincense and myrrh, he longs for something more.

No, it is not silver or gold. It is not diamond and rubies. It is not even our good deeds or our religious service.

What God wants us to give to the King of kings is our hearts. God want your hearts. God wants my heart.

Would you give Jesus the King your heart this Christmas?

How can we do this?

We give him our heart when we believe upon Him and accept Him as our savior and our Lord.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3: 16 KJV

Would you do so today? Would you give King Jesus your heart?

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6 KJV

Stage direction: As the music begins for “Silent Night” all of the actors, singers, children, adult choir come forward, positioning on the plat form.

Finale: Congregation: Silent Night (Traditional)


Stage direction: At the conclusion, every participant is to come forward for recognition and final applause. This includes sound and light techs. The sound tech can place a lively musical selection “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” to play automatically, then come and join the participants on stage.


Author's notes:
I wrote this to be performed in this year's Christmas program.

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