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The Menagerie at the Manger Children's Christmas Pageant

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The Menagerie at the Manger
Children's Christmas Pageant

An Easy-to-Implement Pageant • Connect with Critters around the Crèche for thematic activities

In this unique pageant, five animals that could have been with Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph during the first Christmas represent the five senses, challenging us to have a "sense-able" Christmas. In five scenes, the donkey invites us to hear love, the dog to smell hope, the dove to taste peace, the cow to touch joy, and the sheep to see light. This fresh approach to the familiar story appeals to children, youth, and adults with its down-to-earth message from the menagerie at the manger.

Make the Christmas story come alive! Each animal brings a unique physical sense to the story at the stable—hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching—which helps humans learn an Advent message: how to wait in hope, joy, love, and peace in order to live in God’s light. This thematic approach facilitates learning by connecting the known with the unknown, the tangible with the intangible. The Menagerie at the Manger invites participants to connect the physical experience with a spiritual one, to learn by celebrating a familiar story that builds and unfolds in a new way.

Organized into three sections:

  • Plan the Program contains an overview of each component of the production. It includes a basic timetable to guide the process as well as suggestions for rehearsals. Charts provide "At-a-Glance" checklists to guide preparation.

  • Prepare the Parts details activities for each age/grade, organized into Activity, Before the Pageant, and During the Pageant. Includes guidlines for music andreproducible outlines for animals used in the program.

  • Present the Pageant provides a complete, detailed script as well as an outline for a bulletin/program for the celebration. Charts in this section offer an "At-a-Glance" reference for each scene.

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This is a downloadable, reproducible product sold with a lifetime parish or school license. Please read the full license terms below.

Product License

This reproducible eResource is sold with a lifetime license for use within a parish, school, or diocesan office. You are allowed to make unlimited copies for use within your own community. You may also email these to members of your team or participants in your program. If you serve more than one parish or school, each should purchase its own license. You may not post our eResources to any web site without explicit permission to do so. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for cooperating with our honor system regarding our product licenses.

Format: eResource
Product code: PW114
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 66 pages
The Pastoral Center
Written by Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Anna L. Liechty


As a religious educator, PHYLLIS VOS WEZEMAN has served as Director of Christian Nurture at a downtown congregation in South Bend, Indiana; Executive Director of the Parish Resource Center of Michiana; and Program Coordinator for ecumenical as well as interfaith organizations in Indiana and Michigan.

In academics, Phyllis has been Adjunct Faculty in the Education Department at Indiana University South Bend and in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She is an "Honorary Professor" of the Saint Petersburg (Russia) State University of Pedagogical Art where she has taught methods courses for extended periods on several occasions. She has also been guest lecturer at the Shanghai Teachers College in China.

As founder of the not-for-profit Malawi Matters, Inc., she develops and directs HIV & AIDS Education programs with thousands of volunteers in 200 villages and more than 1,500 schools in Malawi, Africa including “Creative Methods of HIV & AIDS Education,” “Culture & HIV-AIDS,” and “Equipping Women/ Empowering Girls.”

Author or co-author of over 2,000 articles and books, she has written for over 80 publishers.

Phyllis served as President of Active Learning Associates, Inc.; a consultant or board member to numerous local and national organizations such as the American Bible Society, Church World Service, LOGOS, and the Peace Child Foundation; leader of a six- week youth exchange program to Russia and Ukraine; and Project Director for four Lilley Worship Renewal grants. She is the recipient of three “Distinguished Alumni Awards," the Aggiornamento Award from the Catholic Library Association, and the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE).

Wezeman holds undergraduate degrees in Business, Communications, and General Studies from various institutions and an MS in Education from Indiana University South Bend.

Phyllis and her husband Ken (who met when they were in second and third grade in elementary school) have three children and their spouses, Stephanie (Jeff), David, and Paul (Deha); five grandchildren, Quin, Ayle, Lief, Ashley, and Jacob; and two great-grandsons, Maddox and Troy.

View all resources by Phyllis Vos Wezeman

ANNA LIECHTY taught English to high school students and served as adjunct faculty for Indiana University South Bend for many years. Anna also worked as a mentor trainer and teacher coach with adult learners for the Indiana Department of Education. She won numerous educational classroom grants, including the Eli Lilly Teacher Creativity grant.

As a life-long church educator, Anna worked with all age levels, directing Sunday morning and youth programming, consulting with congregations about their educational ministry, and writing a wide variety of religious education materials. She served as Vice President of Active Learning Associates and co-authored four Lilly Worship Renewal grants.

Anna’s undergraduate degree is from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and her Master’s degree from Indiana University South Bend. She was certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts.

In retirement, Anna continues to pursue a variety of writing projects, receiving an Individual Artist Grant in Literature from the Indiana Arts Commission. Now living in Florida, Anna enjoys traveling with her husband Page Foster, a retired pastor, and counting the days between visits with six children, twelve grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

View all resources by Anna L. Liechty