This is the second of three monologues on the Christmas story. In this one I chose to use the on stage screen to represent a second character’s part of the conversation thus putting the audience in the place of that character. From the response we received that mechanism worked pretty well.
Simeon here is probably best done with a rather stereotypical Jewish accent.
<Graphic on screen: ”Good day Simeon…”>
<looking up from imaginary set of “books” or real set of “scrolls”> Ah, Mathias, trust a tax collector to be on time. <chuckling> I have prepared the records from the last month for your review. I believe you’ll find them all to be in order as usual.
<flipping through a page or two>
You can see here that things have returned to normal after the crowds we had for the census. <shaking his head> While I do not begrudge the money to be made from such crowds it was a busy time indeed. If only Jesse and his sons had lived anywhere other than Bethlehem, perhaps then we would have seen an increase in business without the entire town overflowing.
<Graphic on Screen: “Yes, the home of the line of David, the shepherd king.”>
<Groaning, rolling his eyes> Ah you have done it now Matthias…reminding me of shepherds….<shaking his head> Do you know Mathias, that a flock of shepherds actually smells worse than a flock of sheep? <flipping through the pages> Yes, here it is, the last night before the official census was to begin.
A young couple comes to my door as evening is falling, obviously weary from the road. I am run off my feet as it were trying to keep up with my guests when they arrive looking for a room. Can I tell you Mathias I almost laughed. A room? In Bethlehem? That night?
<holding up his hands>Buuuut….I am not an unkind man Mathias as you well know, and the young girl appeared ready to burst with child soooooo…I offered them the hospitality of my stable. <chuckling> Do not look at me so. They were in need and I did not charge them….much. <pointing to the books>
I thought nothing of it…that is until later that night.
I awoke, not from any particular sound but from a sense of something of import happening…that is the best way I can describe it to you Mathias. I knew there was something afoot. I dressed quickly and checked the guest rooms. I thought next to check the beasts when I remembered the young couple.
<frowns>Imagine my surprise Mathias when I go out back to my stables to find a veritable flock of shepherds bobbing like chickens around the door. The smell was almost too much to approach but I managed to get the attention of one of the men on the edge of the crowd only to be told a fantastic tale about the birth of the child.
You know Mathias I believe that too much time spent with sheep makes a man as dumb as one…King David not withstanding…
<Graphic on screen: “I have heard the tale”>
<Second graphic on screen “They say the child is the messiah”>
<nodding> Then you too have heard the foolishness!! Imagine, the messiah, born in a barn, sleeping in a feed trough!! And these shepherds actually believed the tale!!! Some story about an angel, or an army, appearing and telling them it was so. And Mathias, they stayed all night!! Worse yet they went through the dark streets of out little town telling others, many of whom came to see for themselves.
<Graphic on screen “You do not believe their tale?”>
<laughing> Mathias, I am business man! What time do I have to spend on the superstitions of some wandering herdsmen who probably inhaled too much smoke from a dung laden fire and imagined the whole thing?
<shaking his head>No my friend. I saw the child. He looked as other new-borns…gangly, messy, odd shaped head. I congratulated the couple of the birth of their son…but that is all it was. And, as my gift to them, I did not even charge them for the use of the stable and the loss of a night’s sleep.
<considering, pouting a moment> Annnnd if it should turn out I am wrong perhaps “the messiah” will remember kind Simeon who let his parents stay for no charge. <laughing> Perhaps he will even pay for the night himself!!
Of course, then you would charge me the taxes…either way I lose.
Simeon missed it. What are you don’t this holiday season to help assure that you don’t “miss it”?