Life is quiet and relaxed for the shepherds and sheep living on the hillside above the town of Bethlehem. (song – ‘Baa…Baa…Bethlehem’). However, for the youngest shepherds, Daniel, Rachel, Naomi and Eli, it’s not much fun. They are envious of the older shepherds who get to take the sheep to market, and sit in the seats closest to the fire on cold evenings – these are treats they can’t hope to experience until they’re much bigger and more ‘important’. It’s the same for the young lambs, who have to watch the older, woollier sheep grazing on the sweetest, lushest patches of grass, while they make do with bitter leaves from thorny bushes. (song – ‘Bottom Of The Heap’). Nevertheless, the youngsters are convinced that for them there’s something special on the horizon – they just need to sit tight and wait. (song – ‘We’ll Shine Through’).
In Bethlehem’s busy market, the older shepherds work hard to sell their sheep, and with lots of visitors to the town, business is brisk. (song – Market Day). A tired-looking man and woman arrive, urgently looking for a room as their baby will be born very soon. (song – ‘A Place To Stay’). They are told there is nothing available and are sent in the direction of another part of town. Thinking no more of it, the shepherds return to the hillside at the end of the day.
That evening the shepherds are restless. Two lambs are missing, and so Daniel, Rachel, Naomi and Eli are sent to look for them. They wander alone, further into the night, and notice how beautiful the sky has become. Amongst the sparkling, dancing stars, a magnificent new star has appeared, shining down on the town! (song/dance – ‘A Marvellous, Magical Sky’). As they stumble upon the missing lambs, who’ve found some lush grass to munch on, the young shepherds are then struck by the spectacle of a host of angels praising God! The angels tell them not to be afraid (song – ‘Don’t Be Afraid’), as they deliver the wonderful news about the birth of Jesus, and tell them to hurry to the stable lit by the star, to worship the new baby king lying in a manger.
Taking the lambs as a gift for Jesus, they find the stable and, in a traditional nativity tableau, kneel and present them to Him. The arrival of three elegant wise-men adds to the importance of the event, and Daniel, Rachel, Naomi and Eli realise that the special thing they had been waiting to be a part of for so long has now arrived. (song – ‘God’s Gift’)
On returning to the hillside, the four youngsters now have a glowing air of confidence and joy. Strangely, the older shepherds are now respectful towards them, and invite them to sit by the fire. As they listen to the amazing story of their night at the stable, and the part they have played in these wonderful events, they realise there is now a definite change in the ‘pecking order’. Things on the hillside will never be the same again…..! (reprise– ‘Baa…Baa…Bethlehem’).