Setting: The Rich Man and the Poor Man are standing upstage left, upstage right. Mary is sitting between them downstage center holding a baby. She has no dialogue. The Rich Man and the Poor Man speak to the audience.
Rich Man: I’m a successful guy. Things come pretty easily to me; I come from a good family, had the best education possible, became an astrologer and scientist. I’m well-known in my field. As far as my personal life, I married a woman I adored and we had a beautiful son. So, I was doing as well as anyone can in this life.
Poor Man: From the moment I was born, my fate was sealed. My father was a shepherd and his father before him. I started working in the fields as far back as I can remember. Out in the fields there’s not much to do but think. Sometimes I would wonder about God. He obviously set all this up but, beyond that… well he certainly wasn’t thinking about me. That’s the only thing I was sure of.
Rich Man: I was very sure of myself. I didn’t think about God much. The existence of God didn’t affect my day to day life so it wasn’t important. I was a rational, thinking person who managed my life perfectly well. What was there to think about? Every person is responsible for their own fate.
Poor Man: I knew what I had to do and I just did it. But I was miserable. I used to daydream about being someone else; traveling the world, being important, doing great things… It was a way to escape. But I had to stop. None of it would ever happen. It became painful.
Rich Man: Then the worst happened. My beloved wife died. After that my relationship with my son became really painful. I watched him ruining his life. The more I tried to help, the more he hated me for it. He just wanted me to leave him alone. But my heart was bound up with his. How could I?
Poor Man: I loved one girl and I always assumed we’d be married. But it turned out that was impossible. Being a shepherd wasn’t good enough for her family. They knew me, they knew I was a good person, but that didn’t matter. That’s when I understood my place in this world. Why are some people born with everything and others with nothing?
Rich Man: I began to realize that I couldn’t control the things that really mattered.
Poor Man: In the things that mattered most, I was helpless.
Rich Man: If I wasn’t in control, was there a god who was?
Poor Man: What kind of a God would make life so miserable?
Rich Man: Does He have a plan?
Poor Man: Does He care about us at all?
Rich Man: I needed peace in my life. Was there a God who could give me that?
Poor Man: If God is in control then I have a problem. I’m not at peace with this God.
Rich Man: When the opportunity came to go on a pilgrimage I was anxious to get away from home for awhile.
Poor Man: Life went on as usual. We were in the fields looking after the sheep. It was a night like any other. The sky was full of stars…
Rich Man: There was an ancient prophecy concerning a star that would come signifying the birth of God in human form. According to these ancient scriptures the time for the star to appear had come!
Poor Man: Suddenly there was a bright light in the sky, it was blinding. It felt, I don’t know… holy. Then we heard someone from heaven telling us not to be afraid.
Rich Man: As we followed that star I started to think that God did have a plan, and that we were part of it! It was frightening to think about.
Poor Man: We were terrified. Then the angel said that he was bringing good news that would be the cause of great joy for all people. Great joy? What does God have to do with joy?
Rich Man: It was written, “A Savior will be born who is the Messiah, Christ, the Lord. His name is ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us’.”
On this line they both move closer to Mary.
Poor Man: The voice continued. It said, “A Savior has been born to you; he is Messiah, Christ the Lord.” We ran to the place the angel told us about, and it was just as he said it would be.
Rich Man: We followed the star to a manger. The baby and his mother were there, right in front of our eyes.
Poor Man: We couldn’t stop staring at him.
Rich Man: She couldn’t take her eyes off him. I recognized the look of love in her face; the love of a mother for her child. From now on her heart would be bound up with his. That’s exactly how I felt about my son.
Is this how God looks at us? Could it be? Watching our every move with the obsessive love of a parent? Do we love deeply because the Creator God loves deeply? It was at that moment that I believed. This was ‘God with us’. How could he keep away?
Poor Man: Shepherds aren’t even allowed to testify in a court of law. But God chose us to testify about his birth to the world! Here he was, in this manger, not in a palace. He was one of us. Staring at his face made me aware of my own bitterness. Of course he came as a Savior, because that’s what we need. He knows what its like. He’s come because he cares. I never dreamed of a God like this.
Mary stands and slowly exits center. They watch her leave…
Rich Man: I continued to follow Jesus’ life right up until his death, and beyond. Everything in the scriptures concerning him came true. He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
Poor Man: He was God reaching out and making a way back for all of us.
Rich Man: A way back, a spiritual re-birth that happened the moment I asked Jesus into my heart. Now my heart is bound up with his, never to be separate again.
Poor Man: It changed everything.
Rich Man: Nothing is the same.
Poor Man: I sat next to him in that barn.
Rich Man: I was so close I could reach out and touch him.
Poor Man: But now he’s even closer than that. He is born in me.
Rich Man: Why would God come to earth for anything less than this?
Poor Man: The angels were right. God is about joy. He’s all about joy!
The two men look at each other for the first time.
Rich Man: Praise the Lord, my brother!
Poor Man: Yes, brother. Praise his Holy name!
They exit together.