Sample Candles in December Worksheet
Reading Comprehension Worksheets

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Candles in December
By Brenda B. Covert
  

CAST

Jordan Ford - Reporter (boy or girl)
Mischievous Bystander - may be boy or girl
Mike - Christmas Boy (dressed in red and/or green)
Marie - Christmas Girl (dressed in red and/or green)
David - Hanukkah Boy (dressed in blue, pale gray, and/or white)
Naomi - Hanukkah Girl (dressed in blue, pale gray, and/or white)
Lamar - Kwanzaa Boy (dressed in African outfit or red, green, and black)
Raven - Kwanzaa Girl (dressed in African outfit or red, green, and black)


Setting: Community center. Three tables are set up for the three December holidays. Christmas is Stage Right; Hanukkah is Center Stage; Kwanzaa is Stage Left. Holiday items are displayed on each table. Behind each table waits a boy and a girl, ready to explain their holiday. The local news station is covering the event.

Props: microphone, three small tables, advent wreath and candles, menorah and candles, and kinara and candles. Other holiday items may stand on appropriate tables as well. Optional: banners naming each holiday may be hung on the front of each table. NOTE: if candles are to be lit, use a lighter and have a candle snuffer on each table; snuff candles out; don't blow, which may cause melted wax to spatter.

JORDAN FORD:  
(enters from Stage Right, to audience with microphone) Hello! I'm Jordan Ford with Live Action News. I'm on the scene at the community center, where three different holidays are on display.


BYSTANDER:  
(Jumping into picture, waving madly at unseen camera) Hi, Mom!


JORDAN FORD:  
(to bystander) Move it! (To audience) First let's talk to Mike and Marie. (Walk to Christmas table) They are here to talk about Christmas traditions. (Thrusting mic at Mike) What would you like to tell our audience?


[BYSTANDER will have backed off and slipped away before JORDAN gets to the Christmas table.]


MIKE:  
(Flustered) Oh, thanks, Jordan! I think they might want to know about our advent candles in this wreath. (MARIE gestures toward them with her palm open and face up) It's a special tradition, though not everyone who celebrates Christmas uses advent candles.


MARIE:  
(Smiling and leaning into the mic) Some people like advent calendars instead. You know, those December calendars with little doors to open each day. Sometimes they have candy or tiny ornaments hidden in them. They're a fun way to count down the days until Christmas!


MIKE:  
(Pulling mic towards him) But we like the advent wreath. It has five candles. We light one each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Then on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we light the fifth one!


JORDAN FORD:  
What do the different colors stand for?


MARIE:  
You can see that there are three lavender candles.


MIKE:  
(Interrupts) They look purple to me.


MARIE:  
(Looking at Mike) Of course they do. (To Jordan) The lavender candles stand for hope, peace, and love.


MIKE:  
Then there is one pink or rose candle. It represents joy. It could be (looks at Marie) purple instead of pink.


MARIE:  
The white candle is the one we light on Christmas Day. It's called the Christ candle, and it stands for the birth of Jesus.


JORDAN FORD:  
(scratching head) So how does it work, exactly?


MIKE:  
On the first Sunday, you light a purple candle, read some Bible verses about hope, and pray. One the second Sunday, you light two purple candles, read verses about love, and pray.


MARIE:  
On the third Sunday, you light two purple candles and the pink candle, if you have one. Otherwise, you light three purple candles, read verses about joy, and pray.


MIKE:  
On the fourth Sunday, you light the four purple and pink candles, read verses on peace, and pray.


MARIE:  
On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you light all the candles, including the white candle. You read the Christmas story in the Bible, and you give thanks in prayer.


MIKE:  
Of course, some time Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it will be time to open presents!


JORDAN FORD:  
A very interesting tradition, to be sure. Very colorful!


MIKE and MARIE:  
Merry Christmas!


[ALL smile and nod. JORDAN FORD then walks toward the next table, the Hanukkah table. BYSTANDER is sneaking toward the table, behind JORDAN FORD.]


JORDAN FORD:  
Here we have David and Naomi. Hanukkah is their holiday. It looks like candles are an important part of your traditions. Am I right?


DAVID:  
Right you are, Jordan! Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday --


BYSTANDER:  
(jumping toward the mic) And I know what that (pointing to menorah) is called!


JORDAN FORD:  
(outraged) Hey! Watch what you're doing!


NAOMI:  
(quickly and loudly) It's a menorah!


[BYSTANDER sticks tongue out at NAOMI, who merely turns her head away.]


JORDAN FORD:  
(to BYSTANDER) Move along now. You've had your fun.


[BYSTANDER struts offstage, chin held high]


DAVID:  
As I was saying, Hanukkah is a Hebrew word meaning "dedication."


NAOMI:  
(waving her hand toward the menorah) Our candles are blue. They represent spirit, courage, justice, and hope.


JORDAN FORD:  
I see you have nine candles. Hanukkah must last nine days, right?


DAVID:  
Wrong! Actually, we celebrate eight days of Hanukkah. Eight candles symbolize the number of days that the miracle of the lit temple lantern lasted (pause for breath) one time in distant history.


NAOMI:  
The ninth candle is the helper candle; it's called the Shamash. We use it to light the others.


JORDAN FORD:  
(nodding) Ah, I understand.


DAVID:  
We light the candles from left to right. (Demonstrating) One on the first night, two on the second, and so on.


NAOMI:  
Each night as we light the candles, we recite prayers and sing songs. On the eighth night, we exchange gifts too!


JORDAN FORD:  
That sounds like a special time. Thank you for sharing your holiday with us!


DAVID and NAOMI:  
Shalom!


DAVID:  
That means "peace."


JORDAN FORD:  
(smiling and pointing) Shalom to you too!


[JORDAN FORD starts toward the Kwanzaa table. BYSTANDER slips up behind JORDAN FORD, who whirls around to confront him or her.]


JORDAN FORD:  
(sternly) Don't even think about it!


BYSTANDER:  
(turning away, pouting) Aw, man. I was just trying to have some fun and be on TV. (Kicks at the floor and slumps away)


JORDAN FORD:  
(standing taller, approaches the Kwanzaa table) The third holiday on display here is Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a Swahili word meaning "first fruits." Lamar and Raven are on hand to tell us about it. What can you tell us about your interesting looking candelabra thing there?



Paragraphs 99 to 143:
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