Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic Activity: An At Home Nativity Play from Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-12


  • Speaking Characters:
  • Narrator
  • Joseph
  • Mary
  • 1st Innkeeper
  • 2nd Innkeeper
  • 3rd Innkeeper
  • 1st Angel
  • 1st Shepherd
  • 1st Wise man
  • Herod
  • Scribe   Non-Speaking Characters:
  • other angels (1 or more)
  • other shepherds (1 or more)
  • other wise men (2)
  • other scribes (0 or more)   Suggestions For Costumes:
  • Get out all of Dad's t-shirts, the more colors the better. Turn any with graphics inside out and give two to each actor, one for a tunic and one for a turban, veil, or head-scarf. Belt with ropes or bandanas or fabric scraps. Angels should have white shirts with paper wings stapled to the backs. Mary should be in blue. Herod needs a crown.   Suggestions for Props:
  • Mary should have a baby doll hidden under her dress. A stick horse or a rough cardboard cutout makes a great donkey. Shepherds can hold long sticks. Look around the house for containers for the gifts of the 3 wise men. Perhaps a vase, a wooden box, and a metal bowl.   Suggestions for Sets:
  • Set up in the common room of your house. Try to un-clutter one side of the room and have the non-participants sit facing this way. For the stable you just need a roof of some sort, it could be a large piece of plywood or cardboard with one end on the floor and the other end resting on two chairs, or a sheet hung from the ceiling and pulled back and secured at the bottom with books or chairs to create a triangle space. It should have a large star hung above it. Decorate the stable area with stuffed animals and a cardboard box manger filled with a yellow or brown blanket or towel. Each innkeeper can hold up a piece of cardboard or a large (but not too heavy) book for Joseph to knock on.

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This nativity play was written by Kendra Anne Tierney, mother of five. Taking the text almost completely from Scripture she has created this lovely script which will be be an aid to families in their celebration of Christmas.


Narrator: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Joseph leads Mary and the donkey from the back of the room.

Joseph: There it is Mary, we're almost there.

Joseph and Mary slowly walk around the room as the chorus sings:

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

Joseph: Now we'll find a place to stay for the night. Here's an inn.

They stop in front of the first door, Joseph knocks

Joseph: Do you have any room for us?

The 1st innkeeper opens the door.

1st Innkeeper: Sorry, no room.

The 1st innkeeper closes the door, Joseph goes to the next door and knocks, the 2nd innkeeper opens the door

Joseph: Do you have any room for us?

2nd Innkeeper: Sorry, we're all full.

The 2nd innkeeper closes the door, Joseph goes to the next door and knocks, the 3rd innkeeper opens the door.

Joseph: Do you have any room for us?

3rd Innkeeper: We're full too, I have no rooms to offer you, but I see that your wife is with child. Would you like to stay out back in the stable? It isn't much, but it will keep you out of the cold.

Joseph: Thank you, we will gladly take anything you can offer us.

Joseph and Mary walk to the stable.

Mary: I'm sure it will be fine, and I think we've arrived just in time.

Narrator: While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary removes the baby from her dress, wraps him in a blanket, and lays Him in the manger, then lays down next to Joseph to sleep.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The shepherds stand in another part of the room.

Narrator: Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.

The angels walk up to them.

Narrator: The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them,

1st Angel: Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Narrator: And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

All Angels: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel!

Narrator: When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

1st Shepherd: Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.

The shepherds walk around the room, arriving at the stable at the end of the song and kneeling down before the manger. Joseph and Mary kneel down with them.

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Narrator: So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

The shepherds go sit down. Herod and his scribes stand in the front of the room, off to the side away from the stable. The 3 Wise men walk from the back of the room to the front.

Narrator: When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, Magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying,

1st Wise Man: Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.

Narrator: When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him,

Scribe: In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Narrator: Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said,

Herod: Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.

Narrator: After their audience with the king they set out.

The 3 Wise men walk slowly around the room, arriving at the stable at the end of the song.

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
O-o Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Narrator: And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star,

The 3 Kings give high-five.

Narrator: And on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.

The 3 wise men kneel down before the manger.

Narrator: Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Each wise man offers his gift to Mary in turn, then walk a little way away from the stable and lie down to sleep.
The angel comes and whispers in the ear of one wise man.

Narrator: And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

The 3 wise men get up and go sit down
Mary picks up the baby Jesus and rocks Him, with Joseph by her side

Narrator: And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

During the final song, all participants make their way up to the front of the room and take their bows.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.