The Best Christmas Present Ever

This is a script I wrote  a decade or so ago for Sunday School. The formatting did not come across right, but I hope you enjoy it.

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The Best Christmas Present Ever

By: S.C. Mathisen

Narrator:        One weekend, Susie and Stanley were spending the weekend with their Grandparents. Grammie was busy elsewhere in the house. Grandpa was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of his world famous oatmeal raisin cookies. The two kids have been trying to decide what would be the best Christmas present to get.

Stanley:        But Susie, I still think that a complete collection of Tonka trucks would be the best ever. Just think of all the dirt you could move!!

Susie:        Oh yeah, and you know how mom feels about all that dirt. Now what I think is that new Barbie doll with all of her stuff like the big house that looks like a castle & cars & boats & clothes…wow, that would be great!!

Stanley:        But that’s girl stuff!!

Susie:        Yes and trucks are boy stuff. We gotta think of something that anybody would like.

Stanley:        How about computer games? Remember that game where you had to find things, and it took us nearly a week of looking together to find everything?? That was fun, and we both like it.

Susie:        Yes, that’s true, and we both played with the Legos and Lincoln Logs. I made a doll house out them, and you built a fort.

Stanley:        But maybe older kids & grownups wouldn’t like that stuff as much as we would.

Susie:        You’re right, Stanley. Hmm, what would ANYBODY like to get…???

Stanley:        Hey! Maybe we could ask Grampa. He could help us figure it out.

Together:        Yeah!!!

Both kids jump up and rush into the kitchen . . .

Together:        Grampa!!!

Grampa looks up from his cookie mix . . .

Grampa:        Hey there kiddos! How are my two favorite grandchildren?

Together:        Grampa! We’re you’re only grandchildren.

Grampa:        Well, that doesn’t change the fact that you are my two favorite grandchildren in the whole wide world. Now, what is it that you two want? The world famous oatmeal raisin cookies have not even gone in the oven yet. I was just tasting the dough to make sure I haven’t left anything out.

Susie:        Grampa! They are not cooked yet! Ewww!! Yuck!!

Licking his lips & fingers . . .

Stanley:        I don’t know, Susie, this tastes kind of good. This would go great with ice cream Grampa!

Grampa:        What was it you guys wanted anyway??

Stanley:        Oh, yeah . . . we wanted you to help us figure something out.

Susie:        That’s right. We have been trying to figure out what the best ever Christmas present would be. Stanley thinks that it would be Tonka trucks & stuff. I think that it would be all the new Barbie dolls & stuff. Then we thought about computer games that we could both play or Lego’s or Lincoln Logs or—

Grampa:        Whoa there little one, I got the idea. Why don’t the two of you sit down at the table there while I put this first tray of my world famous oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven? We’ll talk while they are baking & maybe we can sample them fresh out of the oven.

Both kids:        All Right!!!

Grampa:        Now let me get this oven door open, put this tray in, make sure that the temperature is just right and set the timer. Good! All done! Now, let’s talk about this present thing. I don’t think that you kids are thinking big enough. Let’s think about the best present ever given. Not just the Christmas type. I seem to remember a story that starts like this.

A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when God had just created the earth. He had just finished making all of the animals and fish and plants & trees. He said that all of this is good, but . . . He then took some mud and created Adam. (I think that is why boys like dirt so much.) When Adam was awake and had looked around a little bit, God asked him to name all the animals. Well, that took awhile, but, after Adam was done, he was a little lonely. All of the animals had males and females. They had someone to spend time with and talk with and stuff, but…Adam didn’t. God knew that this was making Adam sad. So, He put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and made Eve. She was a present from God to Adam. God then gave the whole world to Adam and Eve to rule over and be masters of. That was a pretty big present if you ask me.

Well, pretty soon Adam and Eve messed up and sinned against God. This pretty much messed up everything all around. They got kicked out of the garden that God had planted for them to live in and they had to work hard every day just to survive. Sin had been brought into the world by their disobedience, and the world has been a mess ever since.

 

But, even as God was kicking them out of the garden, He made a promise that one day He would send someone to do something about the mess that they made.

Well, a lot of time passed, and God gave lots of presents to His people. Sometimes the presents were people to help them out when they were in trouble like Noah and Moses. Sometimes He gave them food and water where there wasn’t any like when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert for 40 years. God fed them twice a day.

When they got to the Chosen Land, He helped them take control of it and get settled. He sent people called Judges to help them when they forgot about God and got themselves in trouble. He gave them a king when they wanted one. When they were taken into captivity after forgetting about God again for a long time, He sent them Daniel and kept him from getting eaten in the lions den. He sent them Queen Esther to keep them from getting killed by the evil Haman. He brought them back to Israel when He said that He would and even after they were conquered by the Romans. The finally time came for the best present of all.

There was a young girl named Mary we talked about her before, do you remember? Do you remember how when the angel told her that she was going to become pregnant, and she said that couldn’t be because she was not married and the angel told her that all things are possible with God? She told the angel that it was ok with her because it was going to be from God. Do you also remember that she did get married, and she and her husband Joseph had to travel all the way to Bethlehem because the Roman Caesar wanted to count everyone? And then there was no room at the inn, and they had to sleep in the stable? And then angels appeared to some shepherds to tell them that a wonderful thing was about to happen?  Do you remember what the angel said?

“But the angel said to them, do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

The angels were talking about Jesus. He was the one that God promised to Adam and Eve that would clean up the mess that they had made. Jesus came to clean us and take away all of our sins by dying on the cross for us.

Jesus is the best Christmas present ever.

Stanley:        Wow Grampa! That’s really cool. I never thought of it that way before.

Susie:        That’s right Stanley, and now because we have asked Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Saviour, we can go to heaven when we die and live for Him while we are alive.

Stanley:        And we can pray to Him when we feel lonely or scared or for just any old reason.

Grampa:        That’s right kids. I think that you understand really well. Oops, the timer just went off. Who wants some of my fresh hot world famous oatmeal raisin cookies???

Stanley:        Grampa, do you think that it would be a good idea to tell our friends about Jesus being the best Christmas present ever? I was thinking about telling my friend Whitney and maybe Johnnie.

Grampa:        I think that would be the best idea that anyone could ever have.

Susie:        That’s right! If we tell other people about it, it would be like giving them the best Christmas present ever, and we could give it to everyone we know!! Like I could tell my friend Cherry!

Grampa:        That’s right Susie and you too Stanley. Stanley, could you get the milk from the refrigerator? Susie, could you get some small plates. I think that you two will need some milk and cookies before you go & tell all of you friends about Jesus and ask them to accept God’s Best Christmas Present ever.

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The Story of Esther – Part 6 – Conclusion

King:                           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

Esther:                        (With her heart beating so loudly in her chest that she was afraid that the king might hear it.) If I have found favor with you, my king, and, if it pleases your majesty, please grant me my life. This is my request. Also, that you spare my people, this also is my request. For I and my people have been condemned to horrible punishment and…and…I can‘t even say it! If we had just been sold like fruits and vegetables in the market, I would have kept quiet and not disturbed the king. But, that is not the case . . .

King:                           Who is he, where is he that would do such a thing???

Esther:                        (Standing and pointing at Haman) Here he is, your majesty, the foul villain Haman!!

Esther accusing Haman

Mr. Mathisen:             Now Haman nearly choked on a bit of bread that he was eating and began to sputter food all over himself and the table. He was suddenly more frightened than he had ever been in his whole life. He did not know what to do. He did not know, nor would he have ever guessed that this lovely young queen was a Jew! How could he have known?

The king got up and walked quickly to a nearby garden to think. While he was gone, Haman went up to the queen and began groveling at her feet, pleading for his life. Just as he was doing that the king came back in and found him on the floor clutching at the queen’s feet whimpering for his life. The king thought that Haman was attacking the queen. The king called his servants and ordered Haman to be taken away. Another of the kings servants told the king that Haman had built a huge device in front of his home to punish Mordecai the Jew. The king then ordered that Haman be punished on the very device that he had prepared for Mordecai.

Haman being led to the gallows

Esther explained the whole story to the king. The king then sent for Mordecai and gave him his royal signet ring and appointed him to Haman’s old job. Esther and Mordecai then explained to the king about the proclamation and asked that the king issue a new proclamation saying that the Jews in the country could defend themselves from others that tried to harm them. He did so and on the day appointed the Jews all over the country assembled together to defend themselves. That day is remembered by Jews today as the feast of Purim.

So, always remember to be strong and very courageous and never be afraid to do the right thing.

Stanley:                       Boy! That was some story. Queen Esther sure was brave, even if she was a girl.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, girls can be just as brave as boys. Remember it God who makes us really brave. We can’t be very brave at all without Him. Well, boys and girls, what do you think???

The Story of Esther – Part 6

That night the king could not sleep, so he had one of his servants read to  him the history of his kingdom. When the servant got to the part where Mordecai spoiled the plan of the bad men to kill the king, there was no record of Mordecai being rewarded. So the king decided to figure out how to honor the man who saved his life. By this time, it was early in the morning and Haman came to see the king early to ask for permission to punish Mordecai. The king decided to ask Haman what should be done to honor someone that the king wanted to reward.

King:            Haman, my faithful friend, there is a man in my kingdom that I want to honor. What should I do to honor him?

(Now Haman was so proud that he thought that the king was talking about him, so he said…)

Haman:       Your Majesty, you should dress this man in your own royal robes, let him ride on your own royal horse, let him wear your crown and have one of your most noble princes walk before the man as he rode through the whole city and shout out for all to hear “This is what is done for a man that the king delights to honor!”.

King:           Excellent Haman!! Excellent!! Now go and do all of this for Mordecai the Jew who works at the King’s Gate. Do not forget to do anything that you have suggested.

Mr. Mathisen:   Now Haman was so surprised he could not even speak. He went and did as the king commanded, he put the king’s robe and crown on Mordecai, set him on the king’s horse and led him through the streets of the city shouting “This is what is done for a man that the king delights to honor!”. Haman nearly choked on the words at times, but, did as the king instructed.

He went home with his head covered in shame. He was telling his wife all about what happened when the king’s servants came to get him to take him to the banquet with the king and queen. He was not feeling good about his day. In fact, so far, it had been the worst day of his life. But he cheered up at the thought of the meal with the king and queen. They were honoring him be requesting his presence.

When he arrived at the palace, he was taken directly to the queen’s dining rooms where the feast was to be served. He noticed all of the rich tapestries that decorated the walls, the fine furniture. The table was set with the fanciest dishes and the food. The food! It was the finest and richest in all the land. He was about to enjoy the company of the king, his beautiful young queen and the best food he had ever eaten.

The king was in a happy mood and looked lovingly at his new queen much of the time. Haman told amusing stories about his services to the king. The queen ate slowly and did not raise her head during the meal. When the king and Haman were finished with the meal, the king leaned forward and asked the Queen:

King:           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

The Story of Esther – Part 5

Esther sent a message back to Mordecai to pray & fast for her for the next three days. She also told him that she and her ladies would do the same thing.

After the three days, Esther put on her best courage and her best royal robes and went confidently to the king’s hall. She stood just inside the entrance and waited for the king to notice her. As she stood there, she became frightened for just one little moment but, then she remembered what Mordecai had told her about being strong and courageous and that God may have made her queen “for just such a time as this”. Her courage returned stronger than ever, and she stood just a bit taller than before. The king did notice her, was very happy to see her and asked her to come to him. As she approached, she touched the tip of his royal scepter.

Esther waiting to see the king

Stanley:                       Scepter, what’s a scepter? Is that like a scimitar. That’s a sword isn’t it. I know it is. It’s big and long and curved and SHARP!

Mr. Mathisen:             No, Stanley, a scepter is not a sword it is a staff, a ceremonial staff, rod, or wand used as an emblem of a monarch’s authority. Here, have a picture of the king and his staff. (show slide of picture…)

Now, to continue the story, the king was very glad to see Esther and asked her what she want:

King:                           “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request?”

Esther:                        “If it pleases the king, let the king, together with Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.”

King:                           “Bring Haman at once, so that we may do what the Queen asks.”

Mr. Mathisen:             And so it was, that both the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. She provided for them the best food and drink in the whole kingdom, and they were both very pleased. When it was all over, Esther had still not figured out exactly how to tell the king what Haman had done so she invited them both back to another banquet the next day.

Haman was filled with pride that he had been asked to dine with the king and queen. He headed straight home to tell his wife how proud he was. He couldn’t help but strut and swagger as he headed toward the King’s Gate. As usual, Mordecai was on duty at the gate and refused to bow to Haman as he passed. That made Haman madder than he had ever been in his life. While he had planned to go home to his wife and brag to her, he now paced back and forth in his home and shouted out his anger about Mordecai. His wife said since he was so mad, maybe he should so something about it. Build yourself a big machine to punish Mordecai. That will make you feel better. Ask permission from the king to punish Mordecai on it. That will make you happy when you go to the banquet tomorrow with the king and queen. Mordecai ordered the machine built right in front of his house. He wanted everyone to see Mordecai being punished for not bowing to him.

The Story of Esther – Part 4

Haman:                       Your most exalted majesty, are you aware that there is a certain group of people scattered throughout your lands that do not follow your laws? They only follow their own laws and their laws are contrary to your laws. This is not good for your kingdom. I think that you should declare a law (of the Medes & Persians that can never be broken) that these awful, terrible, despicable people should be punished and removed from your kingdom. (Now remember that Haman did not know that Queen Esther was Mordecai’s cousin and a Jew herself.)

haman talking to king

Stanley:                     That’s horrible! He didn’t get away with that did he?

Mr. Mathisen:             Actually, Stanley, he did. The king did not know who these people were and just believed whatever Haman told him (a very dangerous thing to do). He had no idea that it would mean that someone would kill his own queen and the man that had saved his life. So, the king signed the new law (of the Medes & Persians that could never be broken), and Haman left with the proclamation a very happy man. The new law said that on a certain day all of the Jews in the whole country were to be punished and their property taken. He sent copies of the new law that the local rulers in every area of the country.

Now, when Mordecai found out about this new law he did the same as the other Jews, he ripped his robes, put on sackcloth and poured ashes all over himself and went up and down the street moaning and wailing. (By the way so did Jews all over the country when the news became known. They ripped their clothes, put ashes on themselves, put on sackcloth and mourned loudly in the streets…oh, what a noise they made!)

Mordecai could not go through the King’s gate this way so, he didn‘t visit with Esther for several days. She  became concerned when she did not hear from or see him for several days. She did not know about the new law and was just worried about her cousin. Finally, a servant told her what Mordecai was doing, and she sent a servant to bring him new clothes and to find out what was bothering him. He sent the clothes back to Esther with a message telling her what was wrong and sent a copy of the new law. He also told the servant to ask Esther to go to the king about the new law.

Esther sent back a message saying that the king had not called to see her for several weeks and if she went to see the king without him asking to see her…the punishment was….well…it was too horrible to say.

Stanley:                       Now THAT girl was in a pickle! I’m glad it wasn’t me!!

Mr. Mathisen:              You’re sure right, Stanley. But listen up because here’s what happens next: Mordecai sent her a message back saying that the fate of all of her people and her own life as well was up to her. He said in the message: “Perhaps, just perhaps, God put you in this position just for such a time as this. Be strong and very courageous!”

The Story of Esther – Part 3

At the palace, she was given the finest clothing, the most expensive beauty treatments and the best food in all the land. She was soon kept so busy every day with new activities that she forgot that this was all designed to make her even more beautiful to the king. They must have worked because, as soon as the king saw Esther, he seemed to forget all the other young women and made her his queen. Queen Esther of Persia! Esther was excited, proud and frightened all at once, but remembered what Mordecai had told her about being strong and courageous. When she remembered that, she prayed to the Lord for strength and felt much better.

Now, Mordecai went on with his duties as the gatekeeper at the King’s Gate to the city. He thought about Esther every day and would often walk by the palace to see if he could catch a glimpse of her. Soon they discovered that they could send messages to each other by way of her servants, and Mordecai also would visit her window occasionally and continued to encourage Esther in her new life.

One day at the gate, Mordecai heard some men talking about a plan to kill the king…

Mordecai-at-the-Gate-overhearing-the-plot

Ali:                              We got the WORD Abdul! We got a dozen of the kings own guards in on it with us, and we’re gonna do it TONIGHT!

Abdul:                         Are you sure about everything, Ali? We don’t want no slip-ups. Are you sure we can count on them guards?

Ali:                              Yeah, it’s gonna be a cinch! The high prince that’s planning this thing has left nothing to chance. He’s got it all planned down to the last detail. We’re gonna be rollin’ in gold!

Abdul:                         Yeah, I can feel it in my hands already. HA HA HA HA…..

Mr. Mathisen:             Now Mordecai sent a hurried message to Esther and told her all about what he had heard. She sent a servant to the King saying that “Mordecai the Jew overheard a plot on the king’s life”. The king investigated the plot and stopped the plotters in their tracks. Mordecai had saved the life of the king. But…the king forgot…and the whole incident was soon forgotten. And, no one suspected the Queen Esther was Mordecai’s cousin or that she was herself a Jew.

Now one of the King’s highest advisors was an evil man named Haman. Haman was a very proud man and demanded that everyone bow to him whenever he walked by. He would go through the King’s Gate and demand that everyone bow to him as he went through it. Everyone did, that is, except for Mordecai. You see, as a Jew, Mordecai would bow to no one except God. Everyone else saw that and that made Haman really mad. And, because Mordecai would not bow to him, Haman began to try to think of a way to get back at Mordecai for embarrassing him. After thinking for awhile, Haman decided to not only get even with Mordecai but with all of the Jews in the whole land. One day he went to go see the king…

The Story of Esther – with Stanley – Part 2

Well, later that day the order came down from the palace for all of the most beautiful young women in the kingdom to come to the palace. The king would select one of them to be the new queen. Mordecai got a little worried because Esther was just the same age they were looking for and very beautiful. He hurried home that afternoon anxious to see and talk to her.

He arrived home to a find a guard from the palace outside his door. He went in just in time to see Esther finish packing to go to the palace…

Mordecai:                   Esther, my child! Is it true? Have you been chosen to go to the palace to be one of those that may be selected as the new queen?

Esther:                        Yes, cousin Mordecai. I don’t want to go. But, I have to go. I have no choice. It is the King’s command. There is a guard waiting to take me. I am so frightened! How will I live away from you? Who will take care of you?

Mordecai:                   Oh, my child! I do not want to believe it, but, we must accept the will of the King. Sit down for a moment and we will pray before you go.

O Lord of the Heavens and the Earth! O Lord the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, watch over this child of yours, my young cousin Esther that has been as a daughter to me these many years. Please watch over her and guide her. Let her know that she will never be out of your sight and that you will protect her for I know that she has loved you from her youth.

Esther, my child, be strong and very courageous. That is what Joshua told his people when they were about to enter the land of Israel. You must also be strong and very courageous for I believe that, perhaps, you were created for such a time as this.

Do not tell the people in the palace that you are Jewish or that you are my cousin, for you know that Haman hates me and all of our people. Promise me, now…

Esther:                        I promise, my cousin. You have been like a father to me, and I will be strong and very courageous for I do know that the Lord is with us His children and I will obey your word. It is time for me to go now.

Mr. Mathisen:             So off she went to the palace, Mordecai did not know if he would ever see her again.

Stanley:                       (Sniffing & crying a bit) That’s so sad…was she ever heard from again??

Mr. Mathisen:             Yes, Stanley,  she was, that’s why we are telling her story!

Stanley:                       (Sniffing and sounding more cheerful) Oh, yeah, that’s right…ok, what’s next?

Mr. Mathisen:             Esther bravely went (well, she was trying to be brave anyway) to the palace to be prepared to meet the king. She wasn’t really sure how she felt about the possibility of becoming the queen of the mighty Persian empire.

PersianEmpire

She looked all around her street as she followed the palace guard. Tears began to well up in her eyes. So much so that, it became a little hard for her to  see as she walked slowly away from her home and the familiar street she had grown up on. Everything was just a little blurry…