Mystery in the Manger A Musical Play

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Artistry: Christmas

Mystery in the Manger

A Musical Play in One Act
Script by Stephen Phifer
Music by Geron Davis and Lari Goss


More than 30 years after the first Christmas, Benjamin, an old man now but a shepherd boy then, returns to Jerusalem. He comes to find other witnesses who will prove that his story is true. With him are his son and granddaughter. They are divided over the old man: the son is embarrassed by his father and his constant ravings about angels and kings and a baby in a manger. His daughter believes in her grandfather’s story. She is torn between her father’s cynicism and her grandfather’s faith. In Jerusalem they encounter the church, post Resurrection, post Pentecost, witnessing in the streets, telling the Jesus story. The old shepherd and his family hear the story from Mary, James, and Paul. The climax of the story is a celebration of the Lord’s Table.

The songs are integrated into the story. The choir appears in costume as the church in Jerusalem. Here is the music list.

Mystery in the Manger
A Musical Play for Christmas

Song                                                                                                       Source
1. Glory to God                                                                                           Hope Has Come
2. Hope Has Come                                                                                    Hope Has Come
3. Go Tell with Go, Tell It on the Mountain                                        Portraits of Christmas
4. Who Would Imagine a King?                                                             Portraits of Christmas
5. Sing                                                                                                          Hope Has Come
6. The Cradle That Rocked the World                                                  Hope Has Come
7. Isn’t It Amazing                                                                                    Hope Has Come
8. Agnus Dei with O Come Let Us Adore Him                                   Colors of Christmas
9. REPRISE: Go Tell with Co Tell It on the Mt.                                 Portraits of Christmas
10. The Little Child                                                                                  Colors of Christmas
11. Hope Has Come Finale                                                                     Hope Has Come
12. Cradle Reprise                                                                                   Hope Has Come

The mystery in this play is the wonder of the Incarnation. The Jesus story is told with awe and wonder at the truth of “God with Us.” As the unbelieving son and the hopeful granddaughter of the old shepherd hear the story they are led to confess the Lord as Savior. They can finally join the old man in his joyful, hopeful life.

This play was designed to me done in limited space by small choir and cast (4 men 2 women). There is a Prologue and an Epilogue with three scenes in between. Of course pageantry can always be added above and behind the stage or on the sides but is not necessary for the story and characters in the play to be understood. The running time is a little more than an hour.

Mystery in the Manger
Is a fresh approach to the story and the truth of Christmas. For me it was a wonderful pastoral tool for my company as well as an effective witness to the community. It is also a production within reach of a talented church production with limited resources.

“Hope has come in a Manger—let the whole world sing!”

Stephen Phifer, Author

For more information on obtaining the rights to this play or for a portion of the script to read:

Contact me

    • by phone: (863) 512-3671
    • by snail mail: 1400 Laurel Branch Place, Bartow, FL 33830 or
    • by email: steve@

Semper Reformanda!

© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

Mystery in the Manger A Musical Play

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