Joseph and Mary: The Night Before

The script is in printable-outable pdf form here: Mary and Joseph: The Night Before. If I can be of any further assistance to you, please feel free to email me at

Joseph: How do you feel, Mary?

Mary: Pregnant. Very pregnant.

Joseph: Are you comfortable? Do you have enough hay?

Mary: I do, thank you. And thanks for doing such a thorough job cleaning that feeding trough. I can’t believe our baby’s first crib will be a feeding trough.

Joseph: No, no: it’s not a feeding trough. It’s a manger. Remember: not trough. Manger.

Mary: You’re so funny. That is a better name for it.

Joseph: We’re lucky we even got that. I can’t believe how crowded the inn is.

Mary: Everyone’s traveling because of that stupid census. Why can’t we just send something saying who we are? Why do we have to come all the way to Bethlehem in person to register?

Joseph [disdainfully]: Caesar.

Mary: I wish it would hail on Caesar. [Rubbing her belly]: Oh, well. Our little guy here will have a thing or two to say about the way things are run.

Joseph: Apparently. You know, I still can’t get over what the angel said to me that night.

Mary: Tell me again! I love that story.

Joseph: Well, I was sleeping, just like any other night—you remember that night; I stayed up late because I’d eaten that bad chicken.

Mary: I do remember that. You poor thing.

Joseph: So I’m finally asleep—when all of a sudden this vision of an actual angel was before me. In a voice like all the music in the world played at once, the angel said to me, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Mary: Wow.

Joseph: I know. That’s was pretty much my response.

Mary: It’s unbelievable.

Joseph: Which is why I didn’t exactly share it with the neighborhood.

Mary: It’s just so amazing.

Joseph: And then of course before that you had your whole miracle.

Mary: Tell me about it. Talk about divine intervention.

Joseph: And the angel who came to you said what, again? I love hearing it.

Mary: He said not to be afraid, that I had found favor with God. “You will be with child,” said the angel, “and give birth to a son. And you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Joseph: Wow.

Mary: I know.

Joseph: Well, at least we don’t have to worry about picking out a name for the boy.

Mary: Right. “Larry” is out.

Joseph: So is “Junior.”

Mary: [laughing] Yes, I suppose it is.

Joseph: You know, I still wonder what my angel meant by “he will save people from their sins.” Do you wonder about that?

Mary: How could I not?

Joseph: What is that about, you think?

Mary: I have no idea. I guess … that people will stop sinning?

Joseph: But do you really think that’s possible?

Mary: Well, we can’t start doubting the angels now.

Joseph [chuckling]: No, let’s not. But how do you think that whole “save people from their sins” thing is gonna work, exactly?

Mary: Maybe everyone will just start being … really nice all the time?

Joseph: I guess. Or maybe our son will make it so that people don’t want to sin?

Mary: Or maybe that they can’t?

Joseph: And how’s he gonna effect everybody? That’s a lot of people.

Mary: Maybe he’s going to travel a lot?

Joseph: Maybe it’s not going to be everyone who stops sinning. Maybe it’s just going to be us. My angel did say he’d save his people from their sins. Who’s more of his people than us? Maybe he’s just going to stop us from sinning.

Mary: That’d be nice.

Joseph: Be a change for me, anyway. You wouldn’t even notice a difference.

Mary [playfully slapping him]: Stop it. Besides, it won’t be just us. Remember: “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”? That’s not just us.

Joseph: It’s all so unbelievable.

Mary: It is. I just don’t know what to expect. Is he going to be born with wings? Is he going to come out talking? Wearing a crown? What?

Joseph: Well, we know we’ve been told not to worry. So whatever happens, it’ll be okay.

Mary: I know it will. I can feel it.

Joseph: I love you, Mary. So much.

Mary: I love you, too. You’re such a good, good man.

Joseph: Once our baby boy is born, things are going to be different for us.

Mary: In some ways, yes.

Joseph: I guess they’ll be different for everybody.

Mary: It seems so. [Pause.] I just hope he’s all right.

Joseph: What do you mean?

Mary: I hope that no one hurts him.

Joseph: Whaddaya mean? Why would anyone want to hurt him?

Mary: I don’t know. But you know how people are.

Joseph: I know how people usually are. But, unless I’m totally missing the whole point here, this child of ours is going to change all that.

Mary: I pray that you’re right, Joseph.

Joseph: Of course I’m right. He will be called “the Son of the Most High,” remember? Why on earth would anybody ever want to hurt him?

I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mary Wisner Miller via Facebook

    The inn is a myth and a mistranslation.

  • larry riedinger

    Stunning! An idea popped into my head years ago, stimulated by Charles Swindol: I wonder how many other girls were approached by the angel – and said, if effect, “Sheol NO! Begon! Adoni, and no one else, would approve of me being an unwed mother!!”

    In this dialogue, Mary could ponder that as a question….

    All the best!

  • Mary – who cares? It’s a poignant and funny and thoughtful story.

  • Matt

    This little story really hits home just how shocking Jesus’ crucifixion must have been. No one thought that someone heralded by angels would actually be killed in such a horrific way. I mean, that’s not our idea of a king, is it?

  • Lissy

    Source, please?

  • Kerry

    I enjoyed reading this – Thanks

    P.S. How do you prefer to be addressed now? I never know what to type.

  • “Your Lordship” is fine. But whatever.

  • It’s funny to think of God visting another girl, before Mary, and going, “Be not afraid, Karen! This is what we’re going to do!” And Karen screaming and going nuts and totally NOT cooperating. And then God, drifting away, going, “Whoa. That was weird. I thought for sure she’d go for it.”

  • Yes, and that’s always been such a big deal with the Christian story: the idea of GOD being beaten and crucified as he was. It makes Christianity entirely unique in that sense: the Christian God alone has suffered prolonged and agonizing humiliation. We LIKE that, insofar as it allows us to know for sure that Christ DOES know what human suffering is all about, but throughout history (and today, and forever tomorrow), people of other religions are understandably a little confounded that anyone ever took seriously a God who allowed himself to get pummeled unto death.

  • Jill H

    Barbara, I randomly clicked into your fb page, and I LOVE that you quote Steven Morrissey on your home page! Not many people can make Smiths lyrics fit so well. Well done.

  • Lissy

    AMEN! NOT the point!

  • Martha Jean-Prunier via Facebook

    quit it…you made me cry again!

  • Beautifully written John.

  • Barbara Rice

    Thanks, Jill! I needed something to sign off with from a long government career and Morrissey said it for me.

  • Anne Kinney

    Love the story. I was just reading along with it in my happy little world enjoying the story when wham! I got hit between the eyes with “Why in the world would anyone want to hurt him?”

    Way to knock the wind out of me.

  • Kerry


  • Carol B.

    Yeah, it hit me the same way….that sentence will stick with me for awhile….

  • Carol B.

    Can I use this on Christmas Eve? Just to read in church?

  • I’d be honored, of course.

  • skip johnston

    Years ago, I was leading a 7th grade Sunday School class. We were discussing Mary. I asked why they though God chose Mary to be Jesus’ mom. Without missing a beat, a 12 year old girl said, “Because she was the first to say ‘Yes!'” That was it. End of lesson.

  • Lovely.

  • HA!

  • I see Joseph concerned for the safety and comfort of Mary. I see a man terrified as his wife is the the middle of labor with no one to help. I see mary struggling bravely and finally giving that last push and lo Jesus is born. Wet and crying like all babies. Mary wrapping him tenderly and Joseph holding them both.

  • jesse


  • jesse

    A very astute 12 year old young lady!

  • Linnea

    Awesome, John! We focus so much on Jesus’ divinity that we sometimes forget that he was indeed the son of human parents. And as such, his parents dealt with all the things that parents do, as well as the awfulness of seeing their son murdered. There’s just one thing that’s always bugged me about the gospels, though: Joseph disappears after the story of Jesus in the temple as a boy. Mary keeps appearing at intervals, but why not Joseph? It’s not like he wouldn’t have loved Jesus as his own son. I know, I know, the writers had their reasons, but it’s something that really stands out, reading the Gospels today.

  • mike moore

    you’ve been watching Downton Abbey and Upstairs-Downstairs, haven’t you, you wanker?

  • mike moore

    An excellent way of putting it, Anne …

  • It will certainly separate the panderers from the smartasses. Because there aren’t any of THOSE around here.

  • Jill

    How about Dowager Countess instead? Since we’re amongst friends…

  • Jill

    Funny how I was just thinking the same thing…. 😉


    As a matter of fact my wife and I DID just watch the whole first two seasons in our frothing anticipation for season three staring MacClaine oh my god I can’t wait i’m dying i’m dying now now now now now now now please WHEN ALREADY???

  • Donald Rappe

    (y) I recall that Henry Kissinger preferred “Excellency”.

  • Jill H

    Don’t you start me up! I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl waiting for it!

    I ♥ Matthew.

  • mike moore

    Sunday, January 6. Geez, I thought I was gay.

    (ok, but really … will Mary be able to stop herself from being a total bitch and screwing up her engagement? will Bates get out of prison? will Thomas find true love with a woodsman? will the Dowager and Cora’s Mother have a good old fashion cat fight? it’s all too nerve-racking!)

  • mike moore

    good, because I call dibs on Thomas … run to bad boy, I do.

  • David S

    Free John Bates!

  • David S

    * (with the purchase of an equally priced John Bates)

  • Jill

    OMG I did not expect that from you David! Ahahahahaaaha!

    I also have a wee crush on John Bates– he’s so sensitive and sweet…

  • Jill

    You would go for Thomas. But two bad boys together? The post WWI world couldn’t handle it.

  • I got what we young people on Tumblr call “feels”.

  • wonderful!!!!