Have you every wondered what those shepherds were doing on the hillside the night the angels heralded the birth of Christ? You'd think they were tenderly caring for their sheep; but no, they were preparing to hang their fellow-shepherd after discovering he was a sheep thief! How could such an evil scheme be hatched on such a holy night?
The Second Shepherd's Play is a classic medieval nativity play. It is the story of Mak, a sticky-fingered sheep thief, who hatches a crafty plan to literally "pull the wool over the eyes" of his fellow shepherds, as he steals a sheep while his comrades sleep.
When the shepherds awake, they hurry to Mak's shack where they suspect they will find the stolen lamb; however, to their great surprise, all they find is Mak, his wife, and their newborn child. Oddly enough, Mak will not let them see the baby, "After all, a newborn babe is no great sight." They are about to leave, when the baby bleats, sounding very much like a lamb! Outraged by Mak's deception, they hurry him off to a hillside where they intend to hang him.
Just as they are about to tighten the noose, the sky fills with angels (The Madrigal singers.) "The Prince of Peace is born! Peace on earth, good will toward men," is their melodious message. Will the shepherds hearken to the message of the angels? Or, is this Mak's last night on earth? Watch and see!
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