The reason, dear reader, is this. Every year, we teachers have to get Mary to Bethlehem. To stop us all going mad we choose a different production, but let's face it - there isn't much room for variety.
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See what I mean? We haven't much option in the key characters, or in the general outline of the story.
However... enterprising musical impresarios have realised that a fresh take on a familiar story is always welcome, so for younger children, the story is often told through a minor character such as the innkeeper or a shepherd boy or through an animal. These characters invariably wander around the outskirts of Bethlehem, bumping into shepherds, wise men, etc. They usually have an endearing character trait that the children can identify with and they ultimately arrive at the stable just after the birth and their hearts are filled with joy. Last year's Reception production involved three Grumpy Sheep who became happy when they saw the Baby. This year, Reception has a dizzy Robin, who keeps falling over and bumping herself on the head. Presumably she wakes from seeing stars to see the Baby and stops being so silly.
And us? Well, here in Years 1 and 2, we have a Very Hopeless Camel, who keeps getting lost. The Wise Men are looking for the Special Baby who is born to be King and the poor old camel keeps leading them and the younger camels, all over the place. when he finally arrives at the stable, all he can see is animals, so is convinced he's failed again. Then the other camels see the Baby, tell the VHC and he instantly feels better about himself.
Cue parental applause and a big sniff from the Virgin Mary's Mum and Dad.
Watch out Mrs T, you have all this to come!