Jay & Mary Carpenter
Rachel and Will
The Salvation Army Bellringer
The Maintenance guys
Coffee shop clerk
Airport Workers (choir)Preset lights/prelude music
Blackout. Sounds of airport (planes, people, etc). Choir moving around stage.
Stewardess (on mic as lights begin to rise): Will passenger Ken Harrell please report to Gate A9? Passenger Ken Harrell to Gate A9. Thank you.
(Characters begin to mingle with choir as lights slowly rise. EJ enters SR, struggles through with packages, running into people, sits down in front chairs. Robert enters SL, moves to seats, sets up ďshop.Ē The Carpenters enter SL, move around looking at shop, etc., exit SR. David enters SR, looks at departure boards, moves slowly through to coffee shop. Jessica enters SL, wanders around stage, with headset on. Stewardess stands at center desk, talks to passengers, directs people, etc.)
Stewardess (on mic): Attention all passengers and airline personnel. The approaching storm seems to be gathering strength. Please watch the monitors for more updates on cancellations and delays.
Commercial begins on screen (pre-recorded)
Merry Christmas and welcome to Central City Airport. Iím Denny George, Assistant Airport Manager for Central City, and we are glad that you have chosen us for your holiday travels. In order to celebrate this wonderful season, we will be playing our favorite holiday songs on the monitors you see around you. We have also arranged for a variety of groups to perform for you in each of the concourse lobbies. It is our pleasure to serve you, and we hope that your time with us will be full of holiday cheer.
Stewardess (on mic): We regret to announce that the approaching snowstorm has forced us to cancel all flights until further notice. Please report to your airline counters for further information or assistance. We will begin flying again as soon as possible. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
Jessica: You have got to be kidding me! (Flops into USC chair, watches commercial.)
Commercial: And now without further delay, enjoy these festive holiday favorites!
(Following short dialogues spoken by choir/characters during songs. Movement is continuous. Choir moves in groups, with luggage and families around stage (unless singing) and characters also interact with them. Everyone is disgusted about the delays, trying to figure out their new travel plans. Some on cell phones, public phones; some getting in line at counter.)
Song: Feliz Navidad (BB Right)
Passenger 1: When do you think theyíll start flying again? (Moving SR)
Passenger 2: I donít know, but this is really annoying.
Passenger 1: No kidding...why do these things always happen at Christmas?
Jessica: I canít believe this; Iím supposed to be home by tonight. (From seats in front)
Robert: I donít have time for this either. I have a very important meeting tomorrow afternoon. My company is depending on me!
Song: Caribbean (BB Right)
Mary Carpenter: (Moving SL) Rachel, Will, come on now kids, we have to find the counter. Donít lag behind or youíll get lost.
Jay -Will, stop gawking, we can come back here later if you want to look at something.
Will -Dad, can we get something to eat? Iím hungry. (Stop at store; Jay pulls him off stage.)
Stewardess: We have to keep everything running smoothly today. There are going to be a lot of angry travelers to deal with.
Assistant: Maybe people will remember to show the Christmas spirit!
Stewardess: One thing Iíve learned from all my years working here, the Christmas spirit doesnít exist at the airport. What we need is a miracle! (Both exit SL)
(EJ starts to get up to exit. Canít handle all her packages and drops them.)
Adam: Here, maíam. Can I help you with this load? You look like youíre having some trouble with all this stuff.
EJ -Thank you so much. Iím supposed to be flying out to my sisterís house for Christmas, but I didnít expect to have to lug these all the way across the airport!
Adam: No, we never expect most of the things that happen, do we? So where do you need to go? (Exit together SR)
(Robert and Jessica sit USC. Carpenter family comes in while EJ and Adam leave, needs Jessicaís seat to sit together. She moves into chair next to Robert.)
Jessica: Here, let me move down.
Jay: Thank you so much.
Jessica: No problem. (Bumps Robert) Excuse me.
Robert: (barely looks up) Donít worry about it.
Jessica: Maybe the delay will be good for you...you seem to have a lot to do.
Robert: (closing cell phone) I always have a lot to do, and delays are never a good thing.
Jessica: Are you always this busy?
Robert: Always. In my line of work, the traveling is non-stop.
Jessica: What do you do?
Robert: Basically, Iím the front man for my company; I travel around and present our services to the companies that we think could benefit from them.
Jessica: So youíre a salesman?
Robert: No, Iím a service coordinator.
Jay (to Mary): Sounds like a salesman to me! (Robert shoots him a nasty look)
Jessica: So are you going to a meeting now? Itís almost Christmas.
Robert: Actually Iím on my way home. Iíve been traveling for most of the last two weeks. Business always picks up in December, which keeps me hopping.
Jessica: Why does it pick up in December? Donít most companies slow down at the holidays? I mean, I thought everything sort of slowed down at Christmas, except maybe WalMart.
Robert: Well, I donít know about the others, but my company definitely doesnít.
Jessica: Why not? What does your company do exactly?
Robert: We rent costumes and products for corporate parties. Santa costumes are the big sellers at Christmas.
Jessica: And is there a lot of demand for that?
Robert: Oh yes. In fact, we are down to only one Rudolf suit, and there are three companies who want it. (Phone
rings again. Rachel and Will exit SL)
Stewardess (on mic): Attention all passengers and airport personnel. The National Weather Service has extended the weather warning, so your flight plans will continue to be delayed. However, in order to provide as much comfort as possible, pillows and blankets will be available at each of the airline counters. Thank you for your patience.
Robert: (ending call) Will you excuse me for a minute? (Moves to counter to talk to Stewardess. Remains there for entire song.)
(Choir enters for song, lights change, as group joins in.)
Song: Sleigh Ride
End of Commercial: We hope you are enjoying these holiday classics. Please continue to watch the monitors for further entertainment options and let us know how we can serve you better. We will do whatever we possibly can to serve your travel needs. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!
(Lights up UC.)
Stewardess: Iím afraid I canít do that, sir. As I said on the announcement, there are no planes flying right now.
Robert: Now, look, Iím sure that there has to be some flight flying right now. I really need to get home. Surely you understand my problem...
Stewardess: Yes, sir, I understand your dilemma.
Robert: So what can you do for me?
Stewardess: Well, I can offer you a warm blanket and a pillow for your comfort while you wait.
Robert: (Exasperated) Now look, thatís not what I meant and you know it. Okay, what will it take? (Gets out wallet)
Stewardess: What will it take, sir?
Robert: Yes, I know that you could find a place for a president...right? (thumbs through the bills in his wallet)
Stewardess: Yes, sir, I am certain that we could find a place for a president. May I please see your ticket?
Robert: Of course! (Hands her his ticket with money and rubs hands together gleefully.)
Stewardess: I see that you have a business class seat and your plane will depart from Gate 14B... (Slips money into her uniform.)
Stewardess: (handing ticket back) and I would suggest finding a place nearer to that gate. The waiting area there will be much less crowded. Now if you will step behind the line, sir...
Robert: Hey, whatís the big idea? I thought you said you could find me a place!
Stewardess: Yes, I did. And the best place that I can find for you is near your gate. I couldnít do better if you were the president himself. Now if you will step behind the line, sir...
Robert: Now, look! There has to be an available seat on some flight that I can have!
Stewardess: Well, sir, unless you booked one of the reindeer-powered flights by North Pole Airlines, the only seats that are available are the ones just outside every gate. Now, I must insist that you step behind the line and allow me to assist the next person in line.
Robert: (looking behind him) But there is no one in line but me.
Stewardess: Yes sir, and you have been helped. So I now must make myself available for the next person who needs assistance.
(Robert looks between her counter and the empty line. Throws up hands in disgust, grabs the pillow and blanket and goes back to seat.)
Jessica: So did you get what you needed?
Robert: Not exactly. (Throws down blanket and pillow.)
Jessica: Iím sorry to hear that.
Robert: You know, a little assistance is not an overwhelming request, donít you agree?
Jessica: Well, I suppose not.
Robert: No it isnít. And after all of the travel Iíve done recently, I should have my own flight!
Jessica: Youíve been traveling a lot?
Robert: Yes. I was in five different states this week and was supposed to have a direct flight home. Unfortunately, this storm forced my plane to land in Tulsa, and I had to get an indirect flight with a layover here. And now here I am...stuck in this airport for who knows how long and I think that the airport employees should be working a bit harder to help us out! (shoots dirty look over his shoulder. Stewardess waves, still waiting patiently for the next customer.)
Jessica: Well, maybe you can just rest here for a couple of hours.
Robert: Not hardly. Since Iíll get home late, now I wonít be able to make the calls that I left for today. And I have all the orders for the last 10 days still unprocessed in my briefcase (patting it). No, now I have more to get done.
Jessica: Wow! And I thought studying for finals was bad. I donít have to think about anything until January.
Robert: Be thankful. (now heís getting chatty) Besides, even if work werenít busy for me, Christmas is always a hectic time, with all the other obligations.
Robert: Well, thereís my office party, my wifeís office party, my kidsí school concert, last minute shopping with the kids, stuff like that.
Jessica: Oh. That seems like a lot to do around traveling for work.
Robert: It is! This week, for example, we have a party tomorrow night, then Christmas Eve at my in-lawsÖalways a wonderful evening I can assure you (Jay nods & rolls eyes; Mary elbows him.)ÖChristmas Mass, opening presents with the kids on Christmas Day, and then I fly out Christmas night for another week-long work trip.
Jessica: Wow...you are really busy!
Robert: Yeah, well, I donít really mind. I mean, if Iím not exhausted before January 1st then I donít feel like Iíve really experienced Christmas.
Stewardess (on mic): Will passengers of Flight 5643 please report to the United Airlines counter at gate 14B. Thank you.
Robert: Hey, thatís my flight...maybe thereís some good news. Excuse me, please. Merry Christmas. (To Carpenters) Merry Christmas.
(Packs up and leaves SL. Nods coolly at Stewardess as exits. She smiles brightly and waves.)
Jessica: (calling after him) Yeah, you too.
Carpenters: Merry Christmas.
Mary (To Jay): I hope someday he finds out how wonderful a real Christmas is.
Song: Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Full Choir)
Stewardess (on mic): Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please. In the true spirit of Christmas, we will be having an old-fashioned sing-along while we wait for the weather to clear. We will be beginning the singing in half an hour near Concourse A. Please feel free to gather for the Christmas fun. Thank you.
(Lights up on airport slowly during VO. Jay and Mary seated. Jessica is nearby, listening to music on headphones.)
Jay: Mary, we should go and see that. It may be as close to caroling as we get to do this year.
Mary: Youíre right. Why donít we mention it to the kids when they come back?
Jay: Good idea. Iíll bet theyíll enjoy it. (to Jessica) Are you going to go? Oh, Iím sorry, I didnít realize you were listening to music.
Jessica: (taking off headphones) Oh, no problem. What did you say?
Jay: There will be a Christmas sing-along in about half an hour, and I just asked if you were going to go.
Jessica: Oh, well, probably not. Iím not much of a singer, really. (starts to put headset back on)
Mary: But itís tradition! For an old fashioned caroling session, itís not a big deal if you can sing.
Jay: Yeah, both of our families are tone deaf, but at Christmas, we sing anyway.
Mary: (playfully elbowing him) Hey! At least weíve never had a door slammed in our faces. So maybe we arenít
Jay: ...or maybe people are just being kind because itís Christmas! (She elbows him again)
Jessica: Well, Iíll think about it, but Iím not a big fan of caroling, really. (Again starts to put headset on)
Mary: How can that be? Itís such a wonderful part of Christmas! It would hardly be Christmas without singing carols donít you think?
Jessica: Well, I donít know. I guess my familyís traditions are much less...umÖpublic.
Jay: Well, thatís okay. Family traditions are the most important part of Christmas. Thatís how we got stuck here, actually. One of our traditions is taking our kids to visit their grandparents every year.
Jessica: Oh, how old are they?
Mary: Well, Rachel is 10 and Will is 8. They just went to look around a giftshop for a while; they should be back in a minute.
(Lights up on counter; conversation continues in mime. Kids enter, stop at airline counter. )
Will: (walking up to the counter) Um, excuse me? Can I get a pillow?
Stewardess: Iím sorry, young man. You need to take a number and get in line.
(The kids look at each other and the empty line. Will walks over, gets a number and gets into the line.)
Stewardess: I can help whose next, please. Yes, young man?
Will: Um, can I have one of those pillows?
Stewardess: Sure, here you go. Do you want one too, sweetie?
Rachel: Yes please...(moves around the line to get one)
Stewardess: Wait! You have to have a number, dearie! Go on nowÖ
Rachel: Oh, um sorry. (She walks over, gets a number, and walks into the line)
Stewardess: Good girl! Hereís your pillow. And would you like some Christmas treats?
Rachel: Yeah! (Reaches out, then stops.) Um, do I need a number for this?
Stewardess: Of course not! Donít be sillyÖyouíre already in line! There! That should be enough for your brother, too. Have a merry Christmas!
(Kids take their stuff and move back toward parents and Jessica)
Mary: By the way, Iím Mary Carpenter, and this is my husband Jay. Iím sorry I havenít asked your name...
Jessica: Oh, Iím Jessica Warner. So where exactly are you heading for Christmas?
Jay: Well, this year weíre going to my parentsí house, which is in Denver. Last year, we went to Maryís parentsí house; they live in Vermont. (Rachel and Will enter during this conversation)
Jessica: Wow! Iíll bet both of those places are great at Christmas!
Rachel: They totally are! My Grandpa Carpenter always takes us sledding, and my Grandpa James lets us help him cut down the Christmas tree. Thereís always snow at either house...
Will: ...and we get to make snow forts and snowmen...and we always get to take a sleigh rideÖ
Rachel: Öand they use real horses and everything!
Song: Winter Wonderland/Let it Snow (Full Choir)
Rachel: ...and Grandma lets us dress the snowman up with real clothes...and she makes the worldís best sugar cookies!
Will: Theyíre like this big! (Shows with his hands)
Rachel: Theyíre not that big, Will. Donít exaggerate.
Will: Well, theyíre close.
Mary: Enough, you two. I think she gets the idea.
Jessica: Wow...your family does have a lot of traditions.
Will: Well thatís what Christmas is about! Donít you do certain things every year?
Jessica: Yeah, we have a few things. We always decorate the tree together, and we have a family Christmas party on Christmas Eve. But thatís about it.
Rachel: We do all sorts of stuff, donít we, Mom?
Mary: Yeah, I guess we do. Letís see, thereís always the church pageant in the first few weeks of December. Jay and I almost always play Mary and Joseph. I guess the names sort of fit; Mary and Jay Carpenter. It was very useful when the kids were little; we had our very own baby Jesus, too!
Jay: Although the year Will was the baby Jesus, he let out this horrible squeal just as one of the wise man came to set his gift down. The poor guy tripped over his huge robe, and nearly dumped his chest of gold pieces right into the manger. The whole church just cracked up!
Mary: Then we host a church Christmas party, then a neighborhood party, and then we usually host a small party for Jayís office. They always enjoy it. We make all sorts of cookies and candies.
Will: But Mom makes us give most of it away...
Mary: Tis the season, Will! Anyway, we also go and cut down our own tree, and we spend an entire Saturday decorating it.
Rachel: And our house has the best Christmas decorations of the entire block!
Will: Yeah, Dad spends like a week putting it all up. Itís awesome!
Jessica: Is it really that big?
Jay: Well, last year, I think I used over 10,000 lights total. We usually have a manger scene on the lawn, and lots of lights on the house and in the trees.
Will: And thereís a Santa and his reindeer on the roof!
Jessica: Wow! Iím impressed. Thatís a lot. And you do all of this before traveling?
Mary: Yes, it just makes the season for us. Of course, weíre pretty exhausted by January, but if we had to give up even one of our traditions, it just wouldnít feel like Christmas!
Stewardess (on mic): Attention passengers. The Christmas sing-along in Concourse A is set to begin in 5 minutes. Thank you.
Mary: Oh, I almost forgot! Do you kids want to go to the sing-along? We may be stuck here long enough to miss the caroling tonight at Grandmaís, but this would be almost the same.
Both: Sure! Let me get my stuff.
(Family starts grabbing their bags, coats, etc., and heading offstage)
Mary: Are you sure you donít want to come?
Jessica: No, thanks though. Iím getting hungry; I may go find something to eat.
Jay: Well, it was very nice to meet you Jessica, and have a very merry Christmas! (Family repeats the same to her.)
Jessica: Thanks, and you too!
(She watches them exit SL, gathers her things and heads offstage SR as lights fade)
Song: Lights up on Country Band. Lead Sing Along with audience.
Song: Celebrate the Joy (Orchestra) Characters/Choir walking through, Bell-ringer working near counter)
(Lights up center stage. Maintenance guys walking through. One is sweeping, the other dusting. Dusting MG sets up coffee shop counter, tables and chairs during dialogue.)
Stewardess: (enter SR with armload of blankets, etc.): So, have you seen much holiday spirit today?
Salvation Army Bellringer: Well, Iíve been standing here for about an hour, and Iíve gotten $6 and a lot of free advice, especially about the bell. Apparently, being stranded at the airport will suck every last ounce of charity out of people.
Stewardess: (moves behind counter) Oh, you just have to know how to deal with them. In a volatile situation like this, people need someone to tell them where to go, when to go there, and what to do. Or not do. (Uses handheld lights to illustrate, as if directing an airplane.)
(Sweeper maintenance guy finds a coin in the dustpan. Pulls it out and drops it in the bucket.)
SAB: (to MG) Thank you! Merry Christmas! (moves toward counter. Sweeper starts digging through bucket for
more coins which he deposits into bucket too) Hey thatís great. (leans on counter). Do you actually ever use those things with travelers?
Stewardess: Not unless I canít get their attention in any other way. Hey, would you mind moving behind
SAB: (ignoring her) It is amazingÖso many people just donít pay attention! You wouldnít believe what Iíve had dropped into my bucket that people thought were coins! (MG starts putting other things into bucket, too.)
Stewardess: I know all about that, too, so youíll understand when I ask you to... (points to sign)
SAB: I mean, if people would just pay attention, especially to posted signs, weíd all be better off! Itís just like when Iím out with the bucketÖ
Stewardess: (interrupting him and using the lights) Excuse me! You have to stay behind the line! (He looks at the sign, looks at his feet and quickly jumps back toward bucket.) Thank you (smiles brightly again).
(Sweeper sees George coming back, continues on his path. Duster now moves to counter and harasses Stewardess until she sends him away. Both MG exit SL. Jessica enters SR, stops at counter.)
SAB: Oh, you know, sir, thereís nothing like the airport to inspire Christmas cheer.
Adam: Well, here, maybe this will make the day worthwhile. (Puts in a folded bill.)
SAB: Thank you, sir, Merry Christmas.
Adam: No problem. Merry Christmas. (moves toward counter)
SAB: (grabbing his arm) Whatever you do, stay on THIS side of the line.
Adam: Uh...thanks for the advice.
(He exits SR. Jessica moves to coffee shop and takes seat. Lights up dim.)
Spotlight on Stewardess.
Stewardess (on mic): May I have your attention please. We hope you enjoyed the Christmas sing-along, and we thank all who participated. In just a few minutes there will be another treat for you. The Northwest Childrenís Choir, will be performing in Concourse B. Feel free to come and enjoy the music. Thank you.
Jessica (moves to counter to order): Could I have a turkey sandwich, mustard no mayo, and a grande white chocolate mocha please. To go. Thanks. (Clerk goes to get order. Jessica looks around shop. To David:) Excuse me, are you done with the arts section of the paper?
David: Oh, sure. (Hands her the section.) Actually, Iím almost done with all of it.
Jessica: Thanks. This will be fine. I donít really read more than the headlines and the comics. My dad always took the financial section and my brother wonít even let me breathe on the sports section. So that left the front page and the comics.
David: My sons always fought over the sports section, too. Actually between, my sons and my wife, I never really got to read much of the paper.
Jessica: Well, it looks like youíve got the whole thing to yourself today.
David: Yes, I do.
Jessica: My name is Jessica Warner.
David: David Harper. Pleasure to meet you. Where are you flying?
Jessica: Home for Christmas break. I rushed to the airport this morning, but that was apparently unnecessary. I was supposed to be home in time for dinner, but I donít think itís going to happen.
David: No, I guess not.
Jessica: Where are you flying?
David: To my oldest sonís house to spend the holidays with his family.
Jessica: Is your wife here, too?
David: No. My wife passed away a year ago last summer.
Jessica: Oh, Iím sorry. But at least you have a place to go for the holidays.
David: Yes, it is nice. My youngest son and his wife will be arriving tomorrow as well, so the entire family will be there.
Jessica: That will be nice. Oh, thank you. (Food arrives.)
David: Well, I hope you make it home all right. (somewhat disappointed)
Jessica: Thanks, I hope you have a nice Christmas with your family. (Starts to leave. Changes her mind.) So, um, where does your son live?
David: (looking up, surprised) Well, he lives in Minneapolis.
Jessica: And do you have grandchildren?
David: Yes, yes I do. (gets out wallet and pictures) Dave and Kathy have two boys, and Jared and Melissa have a girl, with a boy on the way.
Jessica: Oh, congratulations! I bet they are sweet children. It must be great to spend Christmas with them.
David: They are great kids. And they do love their grandpa. They all used to come to our house for holidays. My wife really knew how to do Christmas. Sheíd decorate the entire house and make me get a huge tree, for just the two of us. She loved Christmas music most of all. It played constantly from the day after Thanksgiving until New Years. I think thatís what I really miss.
Jessica: Did you go to the sing-along earlier?
David: I went but just listened. It was really nice. Did you go?
Jessica: No, Iím not much into that stuff. So, did you decorate or anything this year?
David: I put out a few things, but mostly just to remind me of Annie.
Jessica: It must be hard to enjoy Christmas without her.
David: Yes, I miss her a lot, but especially at Christmas. We were married for 52 years. She made so much of everything. I just canít seem to do it on my own.
Jessica: But at least you have your family.
David: Yes, they are wonderful to have. And they wouldnít dream of letting me spend Christmas alone, which is nice. But it is hard. They are busy, and the kids are young, and I canít help but feel in the way sometimes.
Jessica: Oh, but Iím sure you arenít in the way at all. I always loved it when my grandparents came to visit at Christmas.
David: Iím sure they would say the same thing. But itís still a very hard time for me. Iíve heard it said that Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for a lot of people. I just never expected to be one of them.
Jessica: Iím really sorry. But Iím sure that it will definitely get better.
David: I hope so.
Stewardess (on mic): Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention. The Northwest Childrenís Choir will be giving a short concert in five minutes at Concourse B.
Jessica: Hey, it looks like this shop is just down from where the childrenís choir is singing. Maybe Iíll take my sandwich down there and be serenaded while I eat. Would you like to come with me?
David: Thanks, but I think Iíll just sit and listen to them from here, while I finish my coffee. I need to be getting back to my gate soon. Surely the snow canít last much longer.
Jessica: I certainly hope we can get out of here soon! It was very nice to meet you. I hope you do have a very merry Christmas.
David: Thank you. The same to you. (She leaves as lights dim in shop. Spotlight on soloist.)
Song: Merry Christmas with Love (Soloist)
(Jessica exits as lights fade to black. Lights up on BB for kids.)
Songs: Childrenís Choir Ė 2 songs (enter from back of auditorium and exit the same way)
(Lights up on Jessica entering SR, walking back towards seating area; EJ Marks is nearby, carrying many bags. Both are laughing)
Jessica: (laughing) I love watching little kids perform. They are so funny!
EJ: Oh my yes, that little one in the front was adorable! He reminded me of Nathan when he was that age.
Jessica: Is Nathan your son?
EJ: No, my nephew. Oh, I donít have any children.
Jessica: Oh, sorry. (hesitating) You sure have a lot of packages for not having any kids.
EJ: Well, my nephew and nieces are the closest thing I have to children of my own. So I like to buy them great presents every year. Of course, as they get older, the gifts get more expensive. But I donít mind. I just love this part of Christmas, hitting all the stores and finding all the great gifts to give people.
Jessica: Really? WowÖEveryone I know thinks of ďChristmas shoppingĒ as totally painful. All they
talk about is the headaches, screaming babies, lines, and stress in the mall in December.
EJ: Oh, no. I donít see it that way at all. Christmas wouldnít be Christmas without all the adventures that come
with shopping for presents!
Robert: Well, I heard a rumor that the planes will be flying again soon. I was wondering if you could check on that for me.
Stewardess: An announcement will be made when flights will be resumed. If you will just sit patiently, Iím sure weíll be giving an update soon.
Robert: But could you just check for me? Iíve been waiting for a long time, and thereís no one else in line to help.
Stewardess: Yes, sir, I understand that. But thereís nothing I can do to check. Youíll just have to listen for the announcement. They will make it as soon as they can.
Robert: But surely you could call someone, right? (stepping just past the line)
Stewardess: Sir... (pointing at his feet) you must stay behind the line. (Assistant enters, hands her a memo, exits)
Robert: (joining in with her) Ömust stay behind the line. Thanks for the help. (Picks up bags and starts to leave again, then turns back.) Oh, one more thingÖ
Stewardess: Iím sorry sir, youíll need to get a number and return to the line to wait your turn.
Robert: You know what? Never mind. Merry Christmas. (goes and sits in a chair, shaking his head).
Stewardess: Thank you, sir! And the same to you. (smiles cheerfully)
(Lights up on EJ and Jessica)
EJ: Of course, they are much harder to buy for now. But Iíve done pretty well so far, I think. I gave up buying clothes for them years ago. I didnít want to be that aunt, the one who gives the horrible clothes that she thinks are in style and just arenít!
Jessica: I actually have an aunt like that. Sheíll say, ďJessica, I just didnít know what to get for you this year. I should just start giving you money for Christmas.Ē And every time I open the box, I wish she had! So, Iím curious, though, what kinds of things do you get them?
EJ: Well, this year, I got Nathan some games for his Playstation 2 and the girls are getting a new portable CD player that also plays Mp3's. And, of course, I got them few other things each. Their mother helps me out quite a lot.
Jessica: Wow, those would be great presents to get!
EJ: Well, they seem to like them. And I really only get to see my family during the holidays because of work, and I want them to have the best gifts I can give them.
Jessica: Thatís great. Christmas is about giving, they say.
EJ: Yes it is. It just wouldnít be Christmas without the gifts. That has always been my favorite part. I can remember sneaking downstairs at 3 am just to look at the pile of presents under the tree. We would shake them, and try to see who got the biggest one, the heaviest one, the smallest one that had to be jewelry.
Jessica: My brother and I still do that! Itís so much fun!
EJ: And then later we would compare gifts to see whose were the most expensive! Mine were usually the best.
Jessica: So what about ďitís the thought that counts.Ē
EJ: The only people who say that are the ones who canít afford expensive things! My motto is ďThe perfect gift is an expensive one!Ē Besides, I just donít want anyone to be disappointed with my gift.
Jessica: Why would they be disappointed?
EJ: Well, Iím always disappointed when the gift doesnít meet my expectations, so I donít want them to be unhappy when they open my gifts to them.
Jessica: Oh, I see.
Stewardess (on mic): Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. The weather advisory has been lifted. Ground crews are working as quickly as possible so that we may begin flying again shortly. Thank you for your patience. (Robert stands during speech, throws his hands in the air, grabs his suitcase and exits SL. Stewardess waves as he goes, exits SR.)
EJ: Well, thank goodness! I guess I should head back to my gate. Maybe Iíll be on my way in short order. You have a merry Christmas. And I hope you get some fabulous gifts! (Exits SR with packages.)
Jessica: Same to you. Enjoy your trip! (watches her go) Wow...Iíve never heard that definition of a perfect gift.
Song: Grownup Christmas List
Adam: (putting down paper) It doesnít seem right, does it? What people think of Christmas, I mean.
Jessica: No it doesnít. It seems everyone Iíve talked to has an interesting view of the holidays.
Adam: Like what?
Jessica: Well, one guy was sure that Christmas was about being busy. A family that I met was all about the perfect traditions. I met an older man who spends Christmas missing his wife, and then EJ there is out to buy and get the most expensive gifts she can find.
Adam: Yes, people have lots of different views about what makes Christmas, really Christmas.
Jessica: Do you think any of them are right? Iím Jessica Warner, by the way. (They shake hands.)
Adam: Nice to meet you. Adam Shepard. The question isÖDo you think any of them are right?
Jessica: I donít know. They all talked about good things, important parts of Christmas, like doing special events, having traditions, remembering the past, giving gifts...
Jessica: But something else was missing. In the end, they were all either tired or unhappy. Surely Christmas isnít about wearing yourself out or fighting off disappointment, right?
Adam: Well, perhaps there is something more to Christmas than just gifts and family. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning, other than social events and traditions.
Jessica: And you have some idea about what that something is...?
Adam: Yes, I do. Do you want to hear?
Jessica: Well, Iíve heard so many others...so why not yours too? What do you think?
Adam: I think that, while all those things are good things, they all tend to distract us from the deeper meaning. Christmas would still happen without lights, music, gifts, or parties because Christmas isnít about those things. Everyone ran around this airport all day, trying to recover their Christmas joy. But it seems to me that if something like travel delays can destroy your Christmas joy, then youíve missed the real meaning. Whatever is central to your Christmas isnít the right thing.
Jessica: So what is central to Christmas?
Adam: Jesus Christ.
Jessica: You mean the baby in the manger story?
Adam: Yes. Christmas can make due without gifts, food, music, even family, but it could never have happened without Christ. Itís really that simple.
Jessica: I donít get it. I mean Iíve heard the story before: a baby born in a barn, angels, shepherds, wise men. Iíve sung all the carols and stuff. But I thought it was just a story, a myth.
Adam: Itís not myth. Itís a true story. It really happened.
Jessica: Okay, so it happened...what makes a baby in a barn better for Christmas than traditions, music and stuff. I mean, the Carpenters even play Mary and Joseph in their churchís Christmas pageant, but you say theyíve missed the real thing, just like everyone else.
Adam: Thatís just it. Sure they celebrate a little baby every year, but they leave the story right there. A baby in a manger wouldnít be much better than any of the other things, except thatís not the whole story. The important part, the something else, is who that baby was, and who he grew up to be.
Jessica: So...who was he? And who did he grow up to be?
Adam: The baby was God himself.
Jessica: That doesnít make any sense! God canít be a baby!
Adam: Why not? Heís God; he could do it if he wanted to, right?
Jessica: Well, I guess so, but why would he want to?
Adam: Thatís where the second question comes in. Who did the baby grow up to be? He grew up to be a man, who was executed by the Roman government.
Jessica: (sarcastically) Wow...God was executed by the Roman government. So the philosophers were right, and God is dead, huh?
Adam: Not exactly. The Jews and Romans thought they were just getting rid of a trouble-maker, but really they didnít kill him; he gave himself up to die. A willing sacrifice.
Jessica: Why would he do that? Who was he a sacrifice for?
Adam: For you...for me...for every single man, woman and child in the world, for everyone who had ever lived and who hadnít yet been born. And he sacrificed himself because he loves us.
Song: Just Imagine (with multimedia?)
Jessica: Thatís a lot of love. Why would he love me? Or you? Or anybody?
Adam: Because he created us.
Jessica: So he died for me because he loved me. My parents love me, but neither of them has ever died for me.
Adam: True. But if you needed them to, would they?
Jessica: Yes. At least I think so. Are you saying God came and died because we needed him to?
Adam: Thatís exactly what Iím saying.
Jessica: So why did we need him to die?
Adam: Because we arenít perfect, and he is. We all do bad things, right?
Jessica: Oh, isnít this the sin part? Look, Iím not that bad, certainly not bad enough that God would need to die.
Adam: How many sins has God committed do you suppose?
Jessica: Well, none, I would hope.
Adam: Thatís right...and how many bad things have you ever done?
Jessica: Well, Iíve done some, but still I donít think Iím that bad.
Adam: But heís never done anything wrong, and he is the standard. So that means that you only have to do one single thing wrong, and you would need the sacrifice. A perfect standard requires a perfect sacrifice. Only he could do it; so he did.
Jessica: And thatís the central part of Christmas? That God himself was born as a baby and then died for us. Yeah, thereís no reason to wear yourself out over that, is there? If God is dead, then maybe the unhappy people were right...
Adam: Well, thatís only the first part. God was born as a baby and became the sacrifice for us, but there is more. He isnít dead now; he rose again. His being born in Bethlehem wouldnít do us any good if he were still buried outside Jerusalem. But heís not. Heís alive. And that is the central part of Christmas.
Jessica: So what difference does it make that heís alive?
Adam: It makes all the difference in the world. Because he came, died, and rose to life, he can change our lives. Because of his perfect sacrifice, we meet that perfect standard. And all we have to do is to accept his sacrifice for us.
Jessica: And what good will it do for me to do that?
Adam: Well, when we accept his sacrifice, we become part of his family. We discover the plans he has for us during our lives, and after we die, we live in his presence in heaven forever. Thatís what Christmas is all about. Itís about the most important Gift ever, Jesus himself. All the music, activity, family and money...theyíre all good things, but they are secondary things.
Jessica: So when people make Christmas about the traditions, the people, the gifts, the whatever, theyíre actually missing the point?
Adam: Yes, and the amazing thing is that when we make Christmas about Christ, like it should be, all of those secondary things point us toward Christ, rather than distract from him. Instead of making us tired and unhappy, Christmas is fun and joyful. And it extends beyond Christmas, too, to every day of our lives. Itís really the only way to live Christmas all year round, like everyone talks about.
Jessica: Wow...I never thought about any of that. So, what if I wanted to start living like that? How does it work?
Adam: Itís very simple, really. You tell God that you want to. You tell him that you know you donít meet his standard, that you believe Christ died for your sins, as your sacrifice, and that you want to start living for him and with him.
Jessica: Thatís it? I was expecting a big long prayer or something.
Adam: Well, it is a prayer. But prayer is just talking to God.
Jessica: When can I do that?
Adam: Anytime you want to.
Jessica: Even right now.
Adam: Right now is always the best time.
Jessica: Will you pray with me?
Adam: Iíd be delighted.
(They bow their heads)
Song: This is my Desire/Give You my Heart (Spotlight on soloist with choir)
Jessica: So thatís it?
Adam: Well thatís the first step. Thereís a lot more to it, but that has to come first.
Jessica: A lot more? Like what?
Adam: Well, youíve started a journey, Jessica, a journey that starts now and ends when you die. But there are millions of steps, one for every minute that you live between now and then, that you and God will now take together.
Jessica: And what will we do? How does it work?
Adam: You are now his child, his friend. He gives you all of himself, every day. He will take care of your needs, answer your requests and concerns, provide for whatever problems you face and help you to stop doing all of the things that displease him.
Jessica: And how will I know what those things are?
Adam: Heíll make sure you know. You have his special gift now...the perfect gift.
Jessica: Whatís that?
Adam: Himself. He now lives inside you. And heíll always be there for you; he will never leave you.
Jessica: So if thatís what he does...then do I have to do anything?
Adam: Yes. You have to stay open to him. Talk to him every day in prayer. Let him talk to you every day through the Bible. And worship him. Live everyday in worship of him, and you wonít have to worry about a single step between this first one and the last one.
Song: Heart of Worship ? (Full choir)
(Stewardess enters SR, moves to counter.)
Jessica: Wow. Itís been an interesting trip home! Oddly enough, I think this might be the best Christmas Iíve ever had!
Adam: Iíll bet it will be.
Stewardess (on mic): Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. Flights will be resuming within the next few minutes. Please return to your ticket counters or gates for further information. We thank you for your patience and wish you all a very merry Christmas! (exit SL)
Jessica: Well, thatís great news! I guess I should go. It was very nice to meet you, Adam. I hope you have a very merry Christmas. And thank you. (Both gather up stuff and start towards the doors.)
Adam: You are more than welcome. And Jessica, have a very merry Christmas.
(He exits SL. She watches him go before exiting SR.)