Christmas at the Klooks
Theme: The Christmas message offers mankind peace and joy. But only when you accept the Savior’s gift.
Synopsis: What starts as a simple gathering for refreshments following a Christmas Eve Service becomes much more, as a father reveals the reason for his cynical attitude towards God. He’s been carrying a burden of guilt over the death of one of his daughters. But in an emotional climax, he finally experiences God’s forgiveness and release from a memory that has haunted him for years.
Running Time: Approximately 20 minutes
Greg—A supportive friend, steady and reliable
Sandra—a dutiful wife and daughter
Frank—A hurting, religious cynic who is slightly hard of hearing
Margaret—kind, gentle, and scatter brained
Robert—An intellectual, practical computer geek
Linda—A sanguine personality, a bit flakey, and tends to be over dramatic
There’s a living room with floor rug, flat TV on stand, couch, coffee table, chair, and end table with lamp. A few magazines are scattered on the coffee table. There’s also a small dining area with a table with a modest center piece and 4 chairs around it. Greg and Sandra are straightening chairs, organizing pillows on the couch in preparation for house guests.
Greg: Sandra, do you think your parents liked the Christmas Eve service at church tonight?
Sandra: I’m sure Mom did, Greg. But it’s hard to say about my Dad. He always wears that tough guy façade. Probably from all those John Wayne movies he watched when I was growing up. (pauses to reflect) It’s been so long since he’s even been to church. My sister died when I was little and after that, he just shut down.
SFX: KNOCK ON DOOR
Frank: Open up will you? It’s freezing out here!
Greg: (heads to door) Coming.
Greg: (louder) I said I’m coming!
(Greg escorts Frank and Margaret in. Sandra meets them, exchanges hugs, and she takes their coats)
Sandra: Mom…Dad. I’m so glad you could join us.
Margaret: We’re glad you invited us dear.
Frank: You got any coffee? I need to thaw out.
Sandra: Sure, Dad.
Sandra: (louder) Sure, Dad!
Frank: You don’t have to yell. I’m cold, not deaf.
Sandra: (starts to yell and catches herself) Okay, I’ll…I’ll get you a cup right away. Mom, do you want anything?
Margaret: Why don’t I just help you in the kitchen? I’ll warm up next to the oven.
Sandra and Margaret exit to the kitchen as Frank wanders into the living room. He picks up the TV remote to turn on the flat screen TV.
Frank: You know, I can’t tell if TV’s are becoming more like computer monitors or computer monitors are becoming more like TVs. There should be a game on somewhere.
Greg: It’s Christmas Eve, Frank. I think you’re limited to re-runs and It’s a Wonderful Life.
(Frank tosses the remote down in disgust.)
(Margaret enters from the kitchen carrying a cup of coffee.)
Margaret: Here’s your coffee, Frank. Anything on TV?
Frank: Re-runs and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Margaret: Oh, I love that movie. Especially the scene where…(trying to remember) where…
Frank: (fills the name in for her) Jimmie Stewart
Margaret: Yes. Jimmie Stewart. The scene where…uh, Oh you know…
Frank: Sorry, I reached the limit of my mind reading ability. You’re on your own.
(Frank picks up a magazine from the coffee table and starts paging through as Margaret struggles to remember.)
SFX: KNOCK ON THE DOOR
Greg: (going to the door) That’s probably Robert and Linda.
(Greg escorts Robert and Linda into the room)
Greg: I’m so glad you guys could come. Let me take your coats. (As he gathers their coats) Margret, Frank, these are friends of ours from church, Robert and Linda.
(Margaret approaches and greets them warmly as Greg takes the coats to another room.)
Margaret: It’s so nice to meet you.
Robert: It’s nice to meet you too, Margaret.
Linda: Yes, it is.
(Margaret looks admonishingly at Frank) Frank?
(Frank has his head in the magazine and waves with disinterest)
Frank: How you doing?
Margaret: (to Linda) Sandra and I are working in the kitchen, would you like to join us?
Linda: That would be wonderful.
Frank: A lot of that going around tonight.
(Margaret and Linda exit. Greg ushers Robert into the living room.)
Greg: Robert, let’s have a seat in the living room.
(As they move to the living room, Frank takes his shoes off and lays across the whole couch. Greg sits in the chair and Robert stands nearby, awkwardly waiting for Frank to sit up. But he doesn’t. Robert clears his throat to get Frank’s attention, but Frank is absorbed in the magazine. Greg and Robert exchange looks and Robert tries again more forcibly. Frank moves, but just switches to laying on the other end. He still doesn’t look up.)
Frank: You know you might need to have that throat looked at. I got a sinus infection last December and I was hocking up giant green loogies all winter.
Robert: (To Greg) I think I’ll just sit at the table.
Greg: I’ll join you.
(They move to the table)
Frank: So, Bob what do you do for a living?
Robert: I prefer Robert.
Frank: Sorry…(mockingly to himself) I prefer Robert. There’s a girly-boy name for you.
Greg: Robert is in charge of the IT department at our company. IT stands for—
Frank: I know what IT stands for. (to himself) Information Twit.
Robert: (to Greg) He doesn’t have many friends does he?
(The ladies all enter carrying trays with coffee, sweetener, and cream. Linda are engaged in a conversation. Margaret is still trying to remember her thought from earlier.)
Linda: I’ve been teaching music in elementary school for over 20 years. Twenty years. It’s so hard to believe. Do I look that old?
Robert: Not even 30.
Linda: Oh, you’re such a Doll. (to Sandra) I really do love it even though it’s so demanding. I mean, I could have made it as a Christian music artist. Even went on the road for a couple of years. Remember that, Robert?
Robert: Yes I do.
Linda: Robert was my roadie. Set up, tear down, operated the sound system. A whiz with computers. And he prayed with people at the end of the concert. I know it sounds glamorous…and I suppose it is. (She separates herself a little and relives the moment) Night after night, singing before adoring crowds. Knowing that your music touches their hearts and souls…for the Lord that is. But then, life on the road does get old after a while.
Sandra: So how is the school year going so far?
Linda: Well, at the first PTA meeting we learned the state’s education spending has been reduced, so our school district has cut everyone’s budget. For me that means no paid assistant this year, which doubles the amount of my work.
Frank: Boo Hoo.
Margaret: Frank, who spit in your cornflakes?
Margaret: (louder) You heard me you selective hearing conman. You’ve been in a bad mood ever since church. It’s supposed to help you act better, not worse. I mean, I know you’re a crotchety old man, but you’ve taken crotchety to a whole new level. Now please sit up and stop hogging the couch!
Frank: (sits up) Well, I won’t take this lying down. (He makes a big show about sitting up and then to himself) I should at least get some credit for taking my shoes off.
Sandra: It is a difficult economy. But we should count our blessings. Many people have it a lot worse.
Linda: I know you’re right. But the way things are going, it just feels like we’re heading for…
Margaret: A car wreck!
Linda: Not exactly the word I had in mind, but it works.
Margaret: The scene in It’s a Wonderful Life. Remember, Frank? When Jimmie Stewart wrecked his car? And from there he learned how important and meaningful his life was.
Frank: Yeah…I feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
Greg: A movie classic. It makes a great point about the impact our lives have on others. And sometimes we’re the last one to know what that affect is.
Robert: You can rub off on people positively (looks at Frank) or positively rub them the wrong way.
Frank: I think I just got slammed.
Sandra: I hate to tell you Dad, but you had it coming.
Everyone: You had it coming!
Frank: Well, I don’t have to sit here and take that.
(Frank lays back down on the couch and Robert moves over and sits in the chair)
Robert: So, Frank, are you retired?
Frank: (shakes his head) Wide awake. I took a two-hour nap this afternoon.
Robert: RE-tired…from work.
Frank: (dismisses it with a wave) What for? I don’t play golf and I don’t have a condo in Florida.
Sandra: Dad owns a small hardware store.
Frank: Forty years and counting. Surviving against those big home improvement centers. I’ve staked my claim on offering true value. Sure, you can buy it cheaper somewhere else. But will it last? Will they stand behind it? Will they go the extra mile for you? Real costs are measured by true value.
Robert: I agree, Frank. It’s the same in my industry. You can buy off the shelf software for your business. But then you have to make your business fit the software. I customize software to fit your business. But people only see the difference in the cost up front. They don’t see the big difference it makes in the long run.
Frank: Exactly. My customers aren’t just looking for a part…they’re looking for the right part and advice on how to fix what’s broken. And that’s where I come in. I help them solve their problems.
Robert: Me too…in my own, geeky sort of way.
Greg: Isn’t that what the Christmas story is all about? We all have a unique sin problem and God presented a customized solution through Jesus Christ? I’d call that true value.
Sandra: You’re right, Greg. We get so excited about opening Christmas presents. And yet many people don’t open the most important one of all—The gift of eternal life.
Greg: So, Frank, what did you think of the Christmas Eve service tonight? I thought it was very moving.
Frank: (shrugs) Sing Carols, light a candle, listen to the same story about the baby the Jesus, shepherds, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Sandra: Dad, you haven’t been to church for so long I’m surprised you even remember how the story goes?
Frank: God is love…blah, blah, blah. Like General Hospital. Missed it for five years and the first show back I hadn’t missed a thing. Except the actors looked older or sporting a fresh nip and tuck.
Robert: So you’re saying the scriptures reads like a daytime soap.
Frank: The baby Jesus was conceived out of wedlock. He was born in a barn. And his first miracle was conjuring up a fresh batch of alcohol to liven up a party. You tell me.
(Frank sits in the chair and puts his leg over the arm. Margaret gives him a disapproving look and he takes it off)
Greg: Frank, the whole idea behind the Christmas story is redemption. Not only did Jesus come to earth as a man, but in a way that was humble even from a human perspective. I thought tonight’s service communicated that very effectively.
Frank: Except when they turned out the lights and started lighting the candles, I thought we were warming up for a soft drink commercial.
Linda & Robert: (Linda starts singing and Robert joins her) I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to buy the world a coke and keep it company. That’s the song I sing—
Frank: Alright already. Geese, Louise. What is this, Donny and Marie’s Christmas in Branson? Next thing you know we’ll be joining hands and singing Kumbaya.
(Margaret moves and sits on the couch.)
Margaret: Like we did at summer camp. Sitting around the camp fire, telling ghost stories, and singing songs. And I remember one summer when the boys raided the girl’s cabin late at night. They dressed up like escaped convicts and banged on the windows. Everyone was screaming and going crazy. And one girl took a…uh, a…oh, what was that?
(There’s an awkward silence as Margaret tries to remember, so Linda jumps in to save her.)
Linda: I remember summer camp too. That was when I first started singing solos. Remember that, Robert? One night we were all singing camp songs and out of the blue, the camp director asked me to sing the second verse of Amazing Grace as a solo? And soon after that I started singing on the praise team at church. And then at other churches.
Robert: And you had one you sang so beautifully.
Linda: In the Garden.
Robert: So touching.
Frank: Oh here we go.
Linda: (Linda starts and Robert joins in harmony) I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ears the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his—
Margaret: Shaving cream! I don’t know where she came up with the can, but she started squirting it at the guys and suddenly from nowhere there were all these cans of shaving cream…and we were squirting it everywhere.
Frank: Forty years in hardware…I take one day off and I’m still surrounded by nuts and loose screws.
Robert: Greg, what about you and Sandra? What’s going on in your lives?
Greg: (looks at Sandra for permission) Well…
Sandra: (trying to contain her excitement) Greg and I have some exciting news.
Greg: We’ve actually been thinking about…and praying about this for quite a while. And we’re convinced the Lord has been part of it.
Sandra: We’re going to adopt a baby…
Greg: From China!
(Everyone reacts with excitement except Frank. He’s in the middle of a sip of coffee and spews it out)
Frank: China? What’s wrong with home grown, made in the USA?
Margaret: Oh, be quiet, Frank. Everybody knows you’re Archie Bunker.
Linda: Do you have any pictures?
Sandra: As a matter of fact.