Scripture John 1:4
"I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"
A Christmas Parable for Kids and Adults.
(c) Copyright 2000 Rev. Bill Versteeg
Kids forward aged 5-12
Listen - I have a story to tell you!
"It's going to be very cold out tonight and tommorrow" said the weatherman on TV. Tim shivered at the thought of having to go outside. He was glad that it was Christmas holidays and he didn't have to face the weather to go to school.
Tim was a dutch boy - his home was in a group of huts, mobil homes and Iglos - three miles east from Tuktuyuktuk - that's not in holland - its way up in the North west territories where the winters are very very cold and very very dark - especially right around Christmas time. 12 year old Tim was spending most of his time inside - where the light's were - and where the furnace kept him warm. He was having good fun with his Mother and little sister Sarah. Sarah wasn't feeling well - she had a bad cough. Dad wasn't home - he was working on a large oil drilling rig out in the ocean north of Tuktyuktuk. Dad said he would be home on Christmas eve - until then they would just have to wait and look forward to the time they would spend together.
They had all kinds of exciting plans. When Christmas day came - they would all go together to Tuktyuktuk - 3 miles to the west - to church - and at church they would have a special service and all the whole Sunday school was going to have a birthday party for Jesus. This was one party Tim was not going to miss. For now all Tim and Sarah could do was play, try to behave and wait.
It was later in the afternoon that same day that they heard a knock on the door of their mobil home. Tim and Sarah ran to the door all excited hopping it was Dad - maybe he came home early - but when they opened it - it was just the next door neighbor - with a little card he'd picked up at the post office in Tuktyuktuk - a card that said a parcel had come for them.
Tim and Sarah knew what it was right away - it had to be a package from Grampa and Grandma - they couldn't come for Christmas - they lived in Holland and the trip was way to far and dangerous for them at their age - but they could send a package with Christmas presents.
Mom thanked their next door neighbor for bringing the note by. But she started wondering how they were going to get the parcel before Christmas. Tomorrow would be Friday - after that the post office would be closed - and somebody would have to make the cold trip by skidoo to town - and she wasn't about to do that with her two children, especially when one was already half sick.
Tim in his excitiment offered to go.
"I will!" "I Will!"
He presented his case. After all - he had driven the Skidoo before. And the postoffice was on this side of the town. All he would have to do is carefully drive to the edge of town, get the parcel and drive back. He could bring the presents back home for Christmas.
"Can I?" "Can I?" "Please Mom?"
There was a long discussion. Tim was mastering the art of debate - and Mom was trying not to give in too quickly - she wanted the package home for Christmas too.
Tim got mom's permission.
He would have to get the parcel the next day during the 1 1/2 hours of light that they called their daytime. Some light would come to the sky at about 11:30 in the morning, by 1:30 in the afternoon it would be gone again - and all would be dark. He would have to make his trip in the light during lunch time. Along with permission came some strict rules.
Wear your snowmobil suit with an extra sweater and your face mask to keep you from freezing. Only drive on the Snowmobil path where the snow is packed and hard. Go straight ther - pick it up and come straight home! Mom knew Tim had a tendancy to wonder away from what he was supposed to do.
The instructions were clear.
Tim could hardly sleep that night - wondering what Grandma and Grampa had sent them - he hoped it wasn't a took or another pair of socks - maybe this time they would give Tim and Sarah something to play with...
The next morning Tim woke up tired but ready and eager to go. Just after 11 O clocke Mom gave him the permission to go out and start up the Skidoo so that it would good and warm for the cold trip to Tuktyuktuk. At 11:30 the sky was starting to light up - Tim's Mom gave him permission to go - and for emphasis - she reminded him of all the rules - drive slow - on the snow mobil path and don't get side tracked!
He went - maybe a little faster than his mother wanted him to - but he was excited - he wanted to get that parcel into his hands as quickly as possible - maybe he would be able to tell what was in it by its size and shape and weight.
The trip to town went so smoothly - there were only a few drifts over the path and they weren't very big ones - he got to the edge of town stopped the snowmobil - ran to the post office - showed the lady the card and in no time the parcel was right in front of him - wrapped in brown paper - addressed to Tim and Sarah Johnson, care of the Tuktyuktuk post office. It was not very big - kind of discouraging in size actually. He picked it up - it wasn't very heavy either - and when he shoock it - it didn't rattle. Tim though to himself "And I have to share this little thing with my little sister Sarah"
Suddenly the excitment that he had started out with faded and flew away like an early morning cloud.
He got back to the snowmobile - he tied it onto the back of the skidoo seat with some large rubber straps and started on his way home. He wassn't so interested in getting home anymore - it was only a small parcel - and to open it would certainly be a discouragement.
Since he still had at least an hour of daytime left - he choose just to weave back and forth accross the snowmobile track - at least he could have a little bit of fun out of this disappointing trip.
It wasn't long before the snowmobil track was positively boring - he stayed in the deep snow - it was a lot of fun to drive the skidoo through deep snow - slowly weaving back and forth, carving like a boat through deep water. And the machine pure and responded to his every command - the deep snow made the trip feel like a dream - all fun, freshness and excitment
BANG. Tim didn't know what happened, he felt his head hit the skidoo windshield as he flew through the air - and then every thing went dark.
Tim was unconcious. He didn't know how long he was there - he woke up a while later - he could feel his eyelids opening and closing - but it made no difference - everything was dark - very very dark. He could hear and feel the wind was blowing. It was building a small snowdrift around his body like a soft woolen blanket. He was in deep soft snow up to his waste.
"What happened?" he wondered. His head ached just above hid forhead. There was a goose egg under his snowsuit hood and face mask.
There were no stars - there was no moon.
That afternoon was especially dark. Any sunlight had long gone under the horizon. There were clouds in the sky that hid the stars and the moon. Tim had no idea what time it might be. He sat up - and looked around hard - he couldn't even see the skidoo. There was silence and darkness everywhere - except for the quiet swishing of the snow being gently pushed around by a light breeze.
Tim got up - he tried to take a step - and then another - but each step he took his feet sank in so deep it was very difficult to take the next step. Twenty steps and he was panting from exhaustion - this was hard work walking thorugh deep snow - if only he could find the skidoo.
At last he found a ridge of hard packed snow - a drift that he could stand on - he started walking hoping he was going the right direction - in this darkness - it was impossible to tell - he walked four - five steps into the blackness - and then suddenly there was nothing under his feet - he fell of the edge of the drift - now he had to clim up again.
Maybe this time he would walk the other direction - maybe the skidoo was that way. He fell again and again. It was so dark he couldn't even see where he was putting his feet.
And then he heard it. In the distance a bark and then a howl - a coyote howl - and then another one - or maybe it was a wolf - Dad could tell the difference - Tim couldn't.
Tim became scared, very scared. It seemed to him that this darkness had strange shadows - shadows where fierce animals like to hide - like wolves or bears. The black dangerous darkness seemed to come at him from all sides. Tim started to run for fear - as he ran he looke to all sides - he couldn't see anything but black scarey darkess on all sides.
BANG! - It happened again - this time he ran his shin into something hard and sharp - the side of his skidoo. He didn't worry about the pain in his leg - he grabbed for the skidoo hoping that if he could get it going, he might be able to make it the rest of the way home.
He fumbled around for the keys in the ignition - it was still turned on but the engine was silent, the lights were turned on - but no light came from its head light. Turning the key off and on made no difference - everything was silent and dark - and getting colder.
Tim sat down on the skidoo to think - to gather his wits - but he heard another howl - this time maybe a little closer. He gritted his teeth forcing himself to think as clearly as he could. But he could only thin one thing.
"I'm going to die from cold if not from wolves he thought."
"If only I had listened to mom and stayed on the snowmobil track - and gone straight home."
He was still warm - he was thankful to his mother for the warm clothing she had insisted he wear. But in this darkness - he wouldn't be able to find his way anywhere. He couldn't think of a single plan that would work - except sit there on a broken snowmobil and cry. He felt hopeless. He thought of Christmas coming - and Dad coming home - if only he were here now - but he wasn't.
Tim sat there and cried - silently - he knew nobody would hear him anyways - except for maybe - Jesus.
He shifted his foot forward and felt his boot push against a package - the one from the post office - he had totally forgotten about it. With his gloved hands - he picked up the parcel - he could feel it was torn open - probably from the accident - he tore off the wrapping and felt it - it had a handle, it had a switch - he moved the switch - and suddenly there was a bright light in his hands. Grandma and Grampa had given Tim and Sarah a toy flashlight - the good kind that turns itself off after a while.
But for Tim - this was a present above all presents - it was light in the darkest most terrifying night he had ever experienced. He saw a letter and a card in the wrapping and quickly stuffed them in his pocket.
He turned the light to shine at the skidoo - the windshield was missing - he had run into a boulder that was covered in the soft snow - the skidoo wasn't about to take him home. He turned the powerful light into the darkness around him - the darkness seemed so much stronger than the light - but as his eyes became accustomed to the little light shining through the dark - he started to see things. The places where he had struggled in the snow. His footprints - and then he saw it - the snowmobil track about 30 feet away - he walked toward it - with the light he could see where he was walking.
This time he walked - swiftly - surely, without falling - right to the track and with his light in hand he started to run - as swiftly as his 12 year old legs could carry him - he ran and ran toward home. It didn't take long and he could see in the distance another light - the yard light by their home - he ran on - he saw lots of other lights around his house - all the neighbors had come over and were planning to come to search for him on their snowmobils - but now he came walking out of the darkness himself cold, tired with nothing to show for his trip but a bruise, a Card and letter, and a Playskool flashlight.
When he got home Tim was attacked by questions "Are you OK?"
"What happened, where's the Skidoo?"
He would have lots of truthful explaining to do - he knew that. But what mattered most to him was the warm tearful hug he got from his mother when he got to the front door.
When all the commotion was over - and the neighbors had left - Mom pulled the Card out of Tim's pocket - addressed to Tim and Sarah and their mom and Dad - she opened it - on the front of the card there was a large bright star against a dark background. And on it were written these words
"Ik ben het licght der wereld"
They were words that Jesus said long ago. Jesus said "I am the Light of the world" He said more. He said I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Tim had never understood those words before. But now they started to make sense to him. He had been in the darkest world - and he had come to know how valuable it was to have a light. Now he knew what this passage meant - how he and each one of us needs Jesus so that we can know our way around in this dark world.
Mom read the rest of the letter in dutch - it ended with warm Christmas greetings from Grandma and Grandpa and Tim noticed especially their last words
"To Tim and Sarah with the warmest of prayers and blessings that the True light of Christmas might shine on you.
For Tim - this Christmas it certainly had.