The feast of the birth of John the Baptist is June 24th. This saint can catch children’s imaginations! If he arrived today, it is likely that he would throw open the door, carrying a Ziplock bag filled with grasshoppers and a sticky jar filled with honey. What kind of beginnings did this important, quirky and challenging man have?
Here is a very easy way to find out:
In Honor of St. John the Baptist: A Simple Play for Children and AdultsOf all the feasts in the Christian year, there are only three celebrations of births: Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist, each filled with the Holy Spirit before birth. To learn about St. John, put on a play. Acting may have a greater impact on the audience than listening to a story, so both actors and audience benefit. This play is so uncomplicated it can be done on the spur of a moment. Adults and children can participate with little preparation; in fact, even very little children can participate. No actor speaks but should be encouraged to mime.
- Narrator: tells the entire story
- Crowd: at least four people
- A doll
Story: Based on Luke 1:5-25; 39-45; 57-80.
Scene 1: Zechariah, Gabriel, the Crowd
Narrator: Zechariah and Elizabeth were good people, but they were sad because they had no children. Some people were praying at the temple. Zechariah was praying there too, in another room. Suddenly, the great angel Gabriel was with him! Gabriel said, “Zechariah, you and Elizabeth are going to have a baby boy! Name him John. God says John will grow up to be a very holy man!”
Zechariah was shocked—first an angel, now this news! He wouldn’t believe it. “Well now,” said Gabriel gently, “you won’t be able to talk until John is born.” Gabriel went away. Zechariah tried to tell the people what happened, but he had no voice!
Scene 2: Elizabeth and Mary
Narrator: Gabriel was right: Elizabeth was going to have a baby. She and the silent Zechariah were very happy. Mary, Elizabeth’s cousin, came to visit. Mary was expecting Baby Jesus. “Mary!” cried Elizabeth. “My baby is so happy you’ve come! Both babies are gifts from God!” They hugged and visited.
Scene 3: Elizabeth, doll, Zechariah, the Crowd
When John was born, friends came over. “What’s the baby’s name?” they asked. Zechariah wrote down, “John.” Right away, Zechariah could talk! And he talked and talked, thanking God for John and all God’s blessings.
Conclude the play by reciting the Hail Mary together and then sing a rousing round of “Happy Birthday” to John the Baptist.