What’s so special about shepherds? – A Sketch

Inspired by Luke 2:8-20



[Enter GABRIEL, dressed in white suit.]

GABRIEL:                    Ahem! [coughs politely] 

[SHEPHERDS still snoring loudly.]

[GABRIEL coughs louder.  SHEPHERDS still asleep.]

GABRIEL:                    OI! 

[SHEPHERDS grunt and stir, but sleep on.]

GABRIEL:                    There’s only one thing for it.  A bit of glory’s called for. [CLAPS HANDS TWICE.]


[SHEPHERDS wake up with a start, look wildly around, shocked, and scream.]


SHEPHERD 1:     Wh – wh – what’s going on? 

GABRIEL:                    Ahem! 

[SHEPHERDS turn and face GABRIEL.]


GABRIEL:                    It’s ok.  Don’t be afraid!

SHEPHERD 1:     Don’t be afraid? You’d be afraid if you were in our position.  We were just minding our own business, watching our flocks by night – 

GABRIEL:                    You were asleep actually – 

SHEPHERD 1:     – we were resting our eyes, weren’t we boys? [OTHER SHEPHERDS NOD]

SHEPHERD 1:     umm, well, anyway … we’re looking after our sheep and then you appear out of nowhere, scaring us out of our wits with this bright light shining all around –

GABRIEL:                    It’s the glory of the Lord, actually.  Cool, isn’t it?

SHEPHERD 2:     Glory of the … Wh – wh – who are you?

SHEPHERD 3:     And where did you come from?

SHEPHERD 1:     And could you turn the lights down a bit?  We’re being blinded here!

GABRIEL:            Yes, yes, ok.  [CLICKS FINGERS and LIGHTS dim.] That better? Good. I’m Gabriel, I come from heaven.  I’m an angel.

SHEPHERD 2:     Gabriel? An angel? From heaven?

GABRIEL:            Yes, that’s right – do you have to repeat everything I say?  Anyway, I’ve been sent here by the Lord Almighty, creator of the universe, the Alpha and Omega, God himself to bring you a message.

SHEPHERD 2:     Bring us a message? – oh, sorry, repeating you again, aren’t I?

GABRIEL:            That’s quite all right.  Where was I?  Oh yes, I’ve come to bring you a message.  Now where did I put it?  [REACHES INTO POCKET] Here it is.  CLEARS THROAT AND READS OUT.]

“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

[FOLDS UP PAPER AND PUTS IT BACK IN POCKET.  Looks at SHEPHERDS who stand with mouths wide open, staring blankly.]

GABRIEL:            Hello? Did you hear what I just said?

SHEPHERD 1:     A Saviour has been born today, he’s the Messiah, the Lord, there’s great joy for all people – and you’re telling us?

GABRIEL:            Yes, is that a problem?

SHEPHERD 2:     Have you seen the state of us? Have you smelt us?

GABRIEL:            Yes, what’s wrong?

SHEPHERD 3:     [aside] He’s not that bright for an angel, is he? [to GABRIEL] You see, the thing is, we’re shepherds.  We look after sheep in the fields.  We smell like sheep.  We’re not very important.  Are you sure you’re in the right place?  Did your heavenly sat-nav system go a little wrong?

GABRIEL:            [aside] He’s not very bright for a shepherd, is he? [to SHEPHERDS] No, I’ve not gone wrong.  I meant to come all this way to see you, strange as it seems.  I’ve come to give you the good news.  

SHEPHERD 2:     Us?

GABRIEL:            Yes, that’s right.  You.  This baby that’s been born is a very special baby.  He’s a king.  Well, the King of Kings, and he’s been born to save the world.  He’s been born for everybody, including smelly shepherds like your good selves.  God Almighty himself wanted you to be the first to know.  He happens to have a soft spot for shepherds.

[SHEPHERDS look at each other in amazement.] 

SHEPHERD 1:     Can it be true?

SHEPHERD 2:     That a king has been born for us?

SHEPHERD 3:     Us nobodies?

GABRIEL:            That’s the point, actually.  You’re not nobodies.  Not in God’s eyes.  In fact, nobody’s a nobody.  Everybody’s special to God.  That’s why this baby’s been born.

SHEPHERD 1:     Wow, that’s amazing!

GABRIEL:            Do you want to see him?

SHEPHERD 2:     Can we? But we’re not dressed suitably! 

GABRIEL:                    It’s ok. Don’t worry, go just as you are.

SHEPHERD 3:     And we don’t have any gifts… What will his parents say?

GABRIEL:            I really don’t think they’ll mind.  I think they’ll be pleased to see you.  Go.  It’s ok.  It really is good news for you.

SHEPHERD 2:     Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this baby!

[SHEPHERDS run out as MUSIC PLAYS “Gloria in excelsis deo.”]


[STABLE at front of church with MARY and JOSEPH and ANIMALS around the manger.]

[SHEPHERDS run from back of church.] 

SHEPHERD 3:     are we nearly there yet?

SHEPHERD 1:     Yes, yes, nearly.

SHEPHERD 2:     In fact [POINTS TO FRONT OF CHURCH] There it is!

SHEPHERD 3:     Wow, a real life King. And we’re going to meet him.

SHEPHERD 2:     Quiet now, he could be asleep.

[SHEPHERDS walk towards STABLE on tiptoes.  MARY and JOSEPH sitting down, Jesus in manger.]

SHEPHERD 1:     Hi, you might think we’re crazy, but an angel told us to come here.  He said that a king’s been born today and that we’d find him here.  Is that him?  Can we have a look?

[SHEPHERDS gather around MANGER.]

SHEPHERD 2:     Wow, that’s amazing.  He’s amazing.

SHEPHERD 1:     It’s really true.

SHEPHERD 3:     God’s in that manger.

[SHEPHERDS bow down in worship.]


SHEPHERDS run to back of church, saying excitedly “Have you heard? It’s amazing!  A king’s been born – for you and me!” etc.  

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