Getting Ready for Christmas: Ten Little Candles

It is a very special day when Amish parents come to the one-room school for a presentation by their children. The “scholars” are excited and nervous, of course, just as children their age would be anywhere. The atmosphere of the schoolroom makes for an intimate setting for the presentations, and even the youngest pupils get into the act. For those of us who are not Amish, to be invited to an Amish school Christmas program is a real treat.

I’d like to share with you a sample presentation excerpted from a book titled “Getting Ready for Christmas,” which I found several years ago in an Amish bookstore. It is a collection of poems, songs, and skits to be performed in Amish schools for the annual Christmas program. The book, prepared by an Amish lady, Emma Lapp, and typed by a wheelchair patient, has some delightful selections and will give you an idea of what some of the skits are all about…  

This poem, “Ten Little Candles,” is to be presented by ten children, each with a lighted candle. Each recites a verse, blowing out his or her candle at the appropriate time…

Ten little candles,
Jesus bade them shine,
But selfishness just snuffed one out, and then there were nine.
Nine little candles,
one without a mate,
Bad companions came along, and then there were eight.
Eight little candles,
doing work for heaven, “I forgot” sat down on one, and then there were seven.
Seven little candles,
all with blazing wicks,Someone cried out,
“Goody Boy,” and then there were six.
Six little candles,
all of them alive,
But one was tired of playing, and then there were five.
Five little candles, once there were more,
Sunday baseball fanned one out, and then there were four.
Four little candles, bright as bright could be,
But one of them just didn’t have time, so then there were three.
Three little candles, could one of them be you?
That one gave up going to church, and then there were two.
Two little candles, our story’s almost done,
“I’m too small, no use,” one cried, and then there was one.
One little candle, left all alone,
It kept on burning by itself, and oh how bright it shown.
Brave and steady burned the flame, until the other nine,
Fired by its example, once again began to shine.
Now the child with the remaining candle lights the other nine,
and the children exit singing, “This Little Light of Mine.”

Here’s hoping your light shines brightly this holiday season, and that you light some others along the way! 

—Brad Igou