Here is an extra gift – a story I wrote some years ago. Originally, I created a narrative to be read by one person. This year, I present it in script form so that a number of people can take a part in the style of readers’ theater.
The props you’ll need: two candles to light. One should be a tall taper and the other a short, stubby one. You might consider using head scarves:
- For Mother and Mary, draped over their heads and tied under their chins;
- For the boy, a smaller triangle tied around the neck backwards;
- For the wind, something delicate that can be waved while reading his/her part;
- For Joseph, a dishtowel tied on with a cord;
- For narrator, simply draped over the shoulders, untied.
It probably works best to give participants the script ahead of time so they become familiar with the parts they are to read. Here are the six voices in the story: Narrator, Mother, Nathan – a young boy, the wind, Joseph and Mary.
PARABLE OF THE CANDLE
(Start with both candles lit where everyone can see them.)
Narrator: A little boy nestled on his mother’s comfortable lap. Tears streaked his dirty cheeks.
Boy: He called me Stubby! He said I was too small to count for anything!
Narrator: Mother smiled wearily over his dark head and answered softly in his ear.
Mother: Maybe to your brother you count for nothing, but to me you are a treasure, my precious youngest one.
Wind: I listened as I bent limbs and rustled leaves in the tall trees standing guard outside.
Mother: Let me tell you a story. Do you see the short, thick candle mounted up there on the wall?
Narrator: Nathan followed his mother’s gaze and nodded his head.
Mother: That candle’s place to shine is a dark corner. Later tonight, when the fire on the hearth has cooked our supper and we snuff out its dying embers, we’ll climb into our beds, blow out the tall taper and cover ourselves to rest. (Blow out the tall candle.)
Narrator: The boy’s eyelids drooped a little, as if he were already giving himself to dream shapes.
Mother: This is when that little candle on the wall seems to burn its brightest. By its rays I watch you and your brothers’ sleeping forms and know that all is well.
Wind: I whispered through the window sending a message of peace to the boy’s heart.
Mother: But that’s not the end of my story. We need the stubby candle when we close the shutters against the storms in the daytime.
Boy: It’s a very small light…
Mother: Yes, but it keeps me from stumbling when I come in with my arms loaded with wood for the fireplace.
Wind: I kept busy whistling down the chimney, flinging sparks around the bubbling stew pot.
Mother: You see, that little stubby candle must burn throughout the whole day.I like to think it braces itself against the winds each evening when Father comes in from his ship.
Narrator: The boy sighed, echoing the wind outside as it welcomed a rising new moon.
Boy: Is that all the little candle does?
Mother: Oh, no. It has an even more important task. Each time the sun slips behind the trees to the west of our clearing and shadows spread their dimness, I take the evening taper from the shelf and light it by the stubby candle’s flame. (Light tall candle from stubby one.) No matter how important the tall evening candle is, how could it give its light to our home without the one stubby candle sharing its flame?
Wind: I circled the little cottage humming a familiar psalm.
Mother: Remember, Son, you may be small, but you are the only one who can bring your light to this world. And who knows how many may light their flames by yours?
Narrator: With a kiss on his head, Mother opened her strong arms.
Mother: You don’t understand this now, but in time, you will. Now, run outside and play.
Wind: I chased after him with swirling leaves.
(Blow out the tall taper; leave stubby candle burning.)
Narrator: Late that night, the boy wakened to the wind beckoning through a crack in the wall near his ear. The stubby candle burned bravely in its corner and the family slept. The boy slipped to the window and opened the shutter. A donkey’s clopping slowed as it came into view. On the beast’s back rode a young woman, cradling a small bundle in her arms. A tall man led them, leaning on his staff.
Mary: It’s so hard to see, Joseph, with the moon gone. The shadows are at their darkest. How can we find a path in the wood ahead?
Joseph: It’s safe to light the lamp, now, Mary. The town is far behind.
Mary: Where will you find a flame for lighting it?
Boy: I have a candle. I’ll bring it to you, if you’ll wait a minute.
Narrator: Quickly the boy climbed a stool and, with great care, pulled the sturdy candle from its perch.
Wind: I hushed, waiting.
Joseph: A small lad should be in bed at this time…
Mary: …but we’re glad you wakened. We have far to go before the sun rises.
Boy: Can you come closer?
Narrator: The patient donkey nodded as it neared the window. Joseph brought out their tiny lamp and lit it from the stubby candle’s bright flame.
Joseph: Peace be to you, my child.
Mary: Our Child has come to be a Light for this dark world, brave boy. Even as we have found light at your window, many will find light through Him.
J and M: We must hurry on, now. Thank you.
Narrator: The boy watched until shadows erased the travelers from his sight.
Wind: Keep your light trimmed and bright.
Narrator: The boy heard the faint words as he returned the candle to its place. He looked around to see who spoke.
Boy: That must have been the wind.
Narrator: He climbed into his bed and fell asleep at last.
—– —– —– —– —– —– —–
to give its light away.
A festive taper set upon a
Christmas bough that uses up
its waxen fuel, consumes its wick
until at last a feeble ray surrenders
to the dark. Christ’s life, my own clear
burning, gives others light, fueled by a never
ending faithfulness. Obedience trims the wick.
by Nancy Tichy
Let your light shine in the sight of men. Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven. Matt. 5:16 (Phillips)