The Wise Still Seek Him
Lesson Set


Overview of all the workshops in this set of lessons:

(This set of lessons was divided up by grade level/age - younger and older.)

For 1st- 3rd graders:

  • Storytelling: Hear the story from the book Mary’s Treasure Box. Experience touching & smelling items from Mary’s box of "treasured items." Students will fill their own smaller version of a treasure box to take home.

    Member Reviews/Adaptations/Comments on the Storytelling lesson:
  • Games: Learn story details; Play a game of Bible bowling.DVD - The Very First Noel
  • Video: Watch portions of the animated video The Very First Noel  (2006)


For 4th-6th graders:

  • Art: Create stars from paper.
  • Cooking: Make star-shaped no-bake cookies.
  • Drama: Pantomime the story using a shadow screen.


Also included, are the workshops we used when we first did this Rotation in 2002. (Note that the scripture references and objectives were different for this older set of workshops. We are always updating our lessons when we use them for the 2nd and 3rd time around!)  

  • Games: Play a variety of games to learn story details & experience being a refugee.

    Member Reviews/Adaptations/Comments:
    Member "Tramseyer" posted: loved the interruption/journeying/new room idea

  • Music: Learn story details.
  • Video: Theories on the Star of Bethlehem. (for older students)



Scripture Reference:

Matthew 2:1-12

Key/Memory Verse:  “ “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

Lesson Objectives:

At the end of the Rotation, participants should be able to:

  • Name that the story is found in the New Testament.
  • (For 3rd grade and up) Locate the story in the Gospel of Matthew. Identify the four Gospels.
  • Re-tell (in his/her own words) the story of the wisemen, including certain story facts: the number of wisemen is uncertain; they visited Jesus as a child — not as a baby. When they found him they bowed down and worshipped him and gave him precious gifts.
  • Describe how the wisemen were seeking Jesus and were led by a star.
  • Discuss how we seek Jesus. God reaches out to us to lead us, even before we are aware of it (prevenient grace).
  • Recognize what a gift God has given us – his son Jesus. Discover how we can respond by sharing our gifts.

Story Background:

Our Advent Rotation focuses on the wisemen. Perhaps by concentrating on what really is an Epiphany story, we are a bit out of season but we’ll use the story of the wisemen as a different window to the birth story of Jesus. Children are probably very familiar with the story yet are likely to learn new facts. Along with many adults, they may be surprised to learn that:

  1. The Bible doesn’t talk about the number of wise men.
  2. The wise men were probably not kings.
  3. They didn’t visit baby Jesus in the manger with the shepherds (how many of our crÈche scenes are incorrect!)


This background material has been prepared to help you teach the story to children and to set straight holiday traditions vs. Biblical truth.

Epiphany: literally means manifestation or appearance. The day of Epiphany itself, which western Christians celebrate on January 6th, is the day that commemorates the visit of the Wise Men. During the season of Epiphany, which stretches until Ash Wednesday, God is made manifest (made obvious) through the flesh and blood presence of his son, Jesus, on earth.

Magi: the same as wise men. Probably were not kings but students of the stars, astrologers. They probably were from Persia (today’s Iran) or Arabia. The Bible does not say there were three! We assume there were three because of the three gifts mentioned. The names of the magi – Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar – were given to them in the sixth century. A long time after the gospels were written!
It is important to note that these wisemen were not Jews. In seeking Jesus and worshiping him, we are reminded that Jesus came for all people.
The magi were learned-men. Even though they weren’t Jewish they obviously knew Old Testament prophecy.

What Old Testament prophecy?
A prophecy is a prediction of a future event. From the beginning, God had promised his people that he would send them a king to save them. That king would be a descendant of Abraham and King David and would be born in Bethlehem. The prophet Micah spoke of this saying, “But as for you, Bethlehem. . . from you one will go forth for me to be ruler of Israel.” (Micah 5:2) The Israelites had been holding onto God’s promise for hundreds of years, through many generations. They were watching and waiting in anticipation for the arrival of their king.

What about that star?
Meanwhile, the magi were studying the stars. They saw something that caused them excitement! It’s likely that is wasn’t any large, bright event that everyone noticed. Indeed it seems that only the Magi knew about it. (Herod didn’t see it, nor did apparently the shepherds). We have this fanciful image of a picturesque, bright star, but there is no scriptural evidence for such a scene. (For more info on the “Star of Bethlehem” and a possible scientific explanation, see the last two websites listed in the references below.)

At that time in history, stars were often associated with royal events. (All great kings at that time had stars associated with their nativity.) Could what the wisemen observed mean that the King of the Jews had come? The wisemen were excited enough about this event to check it out. They wanted to worship this new king.

When did the wise men visit?
Their journey likely was long and they arrived many months, if not years after Jesus’ birth. Therefore, they did not show up at the manger. The text makes it clear that they came to the "house" (see Matthew 2:11). By the time these wisemen got to Jesus, he had grown and could have been up to two years old.
The wisemen journeyed to Jerusalem, and expecting to find a king, inquired at Herod’s. (Who better to ask about the next king, than the current king?!) The wise men asked, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” (Matthew 2:2)

What was Herod’s reaction?
Herod was frightened by what the wise men asked. He feared a rival king and plotted how to protect himself. It’s obvious he hadn’t seen any star. In verse 7 he secretly asks the wise men what time the star had appeared. Then he requested that he be told where the child is found so he too could pay him homage! (In verse 16 we see Herod’s real response when he learns he’s been tricked – he orders all children two years or younger to be killed.)

After leaving Herod how did the wise men find the Christ?
The star that they had seen appeared again and led them. When they found Jesus they worshiped him and offered him gifts.

What about those gifts?
Gold: A befitting gift for a king.
Frankincense: Incense used in the Temple (burned to honor God), distilled from tree sap.
Myrrh: Also an aromatic tree sap, used to prepare a body for burial.

Then what happened?
The wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, that Herod meant the child harm. Jesus was spared because Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt. Thus as a young-age Jesus became a refugee. (A refugee is someone seeking shelter from something threatening, often by going to a foreign country). After Herod’s death, Joseph experienced another angelic visit. The family returns to Galilee to live in the town of Nazareth.

Anything else?
The story of the magi is only found in Matthew’s gospel.


References:

Barclay, William. The Gospel of Matthew. pp14-25, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958.


 

A Lesson Set written by folks from: First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2002, 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

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The Wise Still Seek Him

Storytelling Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Use the book Mary’s Treasure Box to tell the story. Include the experience of touching and smelling the items mentioned in the book. Play the "left-right" game to focus on story details. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


 Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • The book Mary’s Treasure Box
  • A wooden box to use as the "treasure box"
  • Items to place in this treasure box – straw, sheep’s wool, a wooden flute, swaddling cloth (a piece of flannel), a small gold bracelet, frankincense, and myrrh
  • One gift box for each child (used small jewelry type boxes purchased at Michael's)
  • Items mentioned in story that can be put in each child’s gift box (see source notes at end of lesson)
  • A table for these supplies
  • Copy of Left-Right game (see end of lesson)
  • For 3rd grade: Bibles, One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.) and a Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen

    Before Start of Class:
  • Set up an area of the room in a storytelling tent.
  • Read the storybook Mary’s Treasure Box. Be able to tell the story especially the beginning part as actually reading it word for word will take up too much time.
  • Organize all of the supplies for the children's boxes on the table.


Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Say: Welcome to storytelling! Today we’ll hear stories about Jesus’ birth and in particular, the visit of the wise men.
Ask: Did you know that there is even a day that celebrates the wise men visiting Jesus?
Does anyone know what that day is called?
Say: It’s called Epiphany. Epiphany actually happens on January 6th but we’ll celebrate Epiphany here in this church on January 4th because that’s a Sunday.
Ask: I wonder if there will be some sort of special event that day?

Say: Once we go in to the tent we’ll want to sit quietly and listen so I thought first we’d spent a couple of minutes sort of getting our sillies out and stretching a bit.

Ask: What guided the wise men to Jesus? (a star)
How might the wise men have reacted to first seeing this star? (awed, excited)
How do you suppose their faces look?
Say: Let’s pretend we are wise men seeing the star. (Feign amazement and wonder.)
The wise men traveled quite a ways as they followed the star. They might have ridden camels. [Lead the kids in some other creative stretching and movement.]
Ask: How might a camel move?
Herod when he found out he had been tricked? (maybe stamping of feet)
Wise men when they knelt down to worship Jesus?
Jesus, safely asleep on his bed?
[End with a quiet “movement” to get everyone calm.]

Say: Let’s move into the story tent.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
For 3rd grade:
Distribute Bibles.
Ask: Where in the Bible would we read a story that included Jesus? (in the NT)
Ask: What are the first four books of the New Testament?
What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
Say: If you have your own Bible with you today, be sure you receive a tab for the Gospel section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]
Have them find the story in Matthew 2:1. Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament.
Say: This is where you find in the Bible the story of the wise men visiting Jesus. Now I would like you to close your Bibles and listen to a story that I will tell you.

For all students:
Say: Did you know that the Bible in its original form was not a book. Much of it began as stories, stories told from one generation to the next. Stories told in tents as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and much later, as the disciples shared the good news about Jesus. Today I want to tell you a story called Mary’s Treasure Box. This story is not a Bible story but it is based on characters that we read about in the Bible. One of the characters is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She’s a grandmother in this story. Her granddaughter calls her mamme (Pronounced: mam'-may). Listen for other people that we know from the Bible.

Start off telling the story of the book to the students. When actually reading pages, such as from “Sarah picked up a little bit of straw and gave it to Mamme Mary…” be sure to read slowly using “radio reading” (reading with feeling, and pausing at commas with slightly longer pauses at periods.)
At the appropriate part in the story, show your treasure box. As each item is introduced in the book, take it out of the box and show the students. Then encourage them to pass the item around.

Discussion:
As the children finish passing items around, ask a few questions…
Ask: What were the wise men called in the story? (magi)
Say: Sometimes we refer to them as kings but they probably were not really kings. They were people who studied the stars. They saw stars as signs of important events to come; this particular star leads them to Jesus.
Ask: I wonder what leads us to Jesus? (accept all answers)
When the magi found Jesus did they visit Jesus when he was a baby in the stable? (no)

Say: Did you know that most crèche scenes aren’t right? The wise men didn’t visit Jesus until he was older. He might have been up to 2 years old. If you have a crèche at home you can put your wise men on the other side of the room from the stable. When Jesus was staying in the stable is probably when the wise men started out on their journey. Then on Epiphany, when we celebrate the visit of the magi, you may add your wise men to the scene.

Ask: Does the Bible tell us how many wise men came to visit Jesus? (no!)
Say: Tradition assumes there were three wise men because of the three gifts mentioned but we don’t know for sure if there were only three.

Ask: What were the gifts that the wise men brought? (gold, frankincense, and myrrh)
Say: These gifts had significance to Jesus. Gold was certainly a gift for a king. Frankincense was burned in the Temple as a gift for God. Myrrh, a valued spice and perfume, was used to prepare a body for burial.

Say: Now let’s play a game called the "Left-Right" game. To play this let’s move out onto the rug.

Pass out a box to everyone. Gather everyone standing in a circle. Check to make sure that everyone knows “Left” from “Right.”

Say: I have a story to read to you about the wise men visiting Jesus. It is a story from the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible. As the story is read, listen carefully. Pass your box in the direction of the clue words “right” or “left” - passing your box to the right or to the left. The box you have on the last clue is yours to keep. Then you’ll have a chance to put some of the things from the story into your box to take home.

Read the story:
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem a star appeared right over the stable where Jesus was born.
Wise men in the east – magi who studied stars – saw this star. One wise man said to another, “look at that new star!” “Where”, said his friend? “Right there”, the first wise man responded.
Ooooh.

Now the wise men knew that God had promised he would one day send a king to rightfully rule over his people. Could this star be a signal left by God, that the new king had been born? The wise men left right away to follow the star. They left their homes behind. They followed the star, which lead them right towards Jerusalem.

The wise men stopped in Jerusalem and asked King Herod, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising, and have come to worship him.” King Herod was afraid. He was afraid that a new king who would kick him right off his throne! Herod asked the Jewish leaders where this Messiah was to be born. The Jewish leaders went right to their scrolls. They read what the prophets had foretold: the Messiah would be born right near by, in Bethlehem.

Before the wise men left, Herod asked them when the star had appeared. Herod told the wise men that he wanted to be told where they found this new king so he too could worship him. Ah, but was Herod telling the rightful truth? Alas, you are right, he was not.

After the wise men left, the star lead them right to Bethlehem. The star led them right to Jesus. When the wise men saw Jesus, they dropped right there and worshipped him giving him their gifts. Then they left for their own country by another road because they had been warned in a dream not to go back to see Herod.

Right, it’s The End.


Closing:
Say: Jesus came to earth to teach us about God’s love for us. God has given us his son Jesus as a gift. The wise men brought gifts to Jesus. We can respond to God’s love by sharing our gifts. Take home your box and share the gift of the story about Jesus’ birth.
Let’s close in prayer, then you may put one of each item from the table into your treasure box.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, thank you for the story of the wise men. Thank you for stories that teach us that all can worship God, even travelers from afar. Thank you for everyone who is here today. Be with those who couldn’t come this morning. We are thankful that you love each of us! (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

Allow kids to go fill their boxes from the items at the table. (Please: one of each item).

If you have extra time:
Encourage kids to use their boxes to tell each other the story of Jesus’ birth.


Resources for Storytelling Workshop:

  • Crane, Amy. “Storytelling In Sunday School Settings.” 1999.
    https://www.rotation.org/topic/biblical-storytelling
  • Kramlich, Carolyn Walz. Mary’s Treasure Box. Tommy Nelson, Inc. 1998. [Unfortunately this book is out of print. It is possible to find a copy through used book sources on the internet or check your local library.]

Update 2015:  Releasing Oct. 1, 2015 - "Mary's Treasure Box" by C.W. Walz (Carolyn), B&H Publishing, 2015, 9781433683947.   Art work is new, storyline appears to be the same.

 


What did we use for the treasure box items:
Straw: the real thing
Sheep’s wool: the real thing (raw and uncombed! Donated by a local sheep farmer from Manchester, MI.)
Swaddling cloth: small pieces of flannel
Gold: In 2002 we gave kids a choice of gold coins, gold painted hearts, or large gold beads. In 2008 we gave them each one shiny penny.
Frankincense: orange, scented bath salts
Myrrh: Real Myrrh Oil (Purchased at the local Whole Foods store) was applied to a cotton ball and placed in snack sized zip bag for each child.

Note: real Myrrh and Frankincense can be purchased on the internet. Use a search engine like google.com.

We had many positive comments from parents about this workshop and its affect on their child. This book has beautiful illustrations and properly shows the wise men visiting Jesus as a young child (i.e. not in the manger). It also includes the story of the escape to Egypt.


 Question by: Supporting Member  pizza*

Asked in the help lounge:  Looking for other ideas of what to use that may smell and/or look like frankincense and myrrh to be used with the "Mary's Treasure Box" lesson.

Suggestion by Neil: How about incense sticks cut into pieces and a bunch of those free perfume samples they give out at department stores?


 A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 


Copyright 2002, 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

The Wise Still Seek Him

Games Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Learn story details by playing a game of Bible bowling. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]

 

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • For 3rd grade: Bibles; One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.); Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
  • Story Bible for younger students: Read With Me Bible
  • Game questions (see resources at end of this lesson)
  • Easel; Appropriate marker
  • Ten plastic 2-liter bottles (empty & clean) or a set of bowling pins
  • Ball
  • Masking tape
  • Index cards; Marker; Pocket chart (hanging on wall)

    Before Start of Class:
  • Create a short masking tape line on the carpet at least six feet from where bottles/pins will be. Set up bottles/pins in the manner of a “ten-pin” game of bowling.
  • With a marker, write the key Bible verse on index cards (one or two words on each card); load in the pocket chart.


Presentation


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance/name tags while you are starting your lesson.]

Ask: Do any of you give gifts at Christmas?
Why do you give gifts? (accept any answers)

Say: It is thought that the practice of giving gifts at Christmas traces back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that were given to Jesus by the Magi.
Ask: Who were the magi?
Say: The magi are sometimes called kings. They probably were not kings. They are also often called the wise men. Let’s read more about these magi. Then we will play a game of Bible bowling that will test how wise we are!

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: Since the Magi visited Jesus, where in the Bible would we read about them, in the New Testament or the Old Testament? (new testament)
What do we call the first four books of the New Testament? (the Gospels)

Say: The word gospel means “good news.” These first four books of the New Testament tell the story of the good news about God’s love for us. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to us.

Ask: Who can tell me the names of the first four books of the New Testament?
Say: The four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are named after their authors. Our story about the magi can be found in the Gospel of Matthew.

For 3rd grade:
Distribute Bibles.
Say: If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the Gospel section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]
Have them find the story in Matthew 2:1-12.
Have students take turns reading verses.

For 1st and 2nd grade:
Read them the story in the Read With Me Bible on pages 271 – 276 showing the pictures as you read.

For all students:
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us…
The class says: Thanks be to God!
Remind the class that those are the words that are spoken in the worship service after the Bible is read. We say those words in class so that we will be used to saying them when we hear a Bible story read in the worship service.

Discussion:
Ask: In this story, the wise men found Jesus by following a star. Who led the star? (God)
So who led the wise men to Jesus? (God)
Who leads us to Jesus? (God)
Do you suppose that God leads us to Jesus by providing us with a star? (accept any answers)
Say: It would be great if God would always provide us with a “star” to find where we should go. But that doesn’t always happen.
Ask: What are some of the ways God provides for us to get to know Jesus? (studying the Bible, prayer, learning about Jesus in Sunday’s Cool, attending worship services, talking to other people who believe in Jesus)
Say: We can think of all of those things as “stars” which lead us to Jesus and to God.
God reaches out to lead us even though we may not be aware of it.

Play the Game:
Divide the kids into teams of 3 to 5 players (you might call them the Wise Ones, The Magi, the Yonder Stars, etc.) Each team answers a question. Have the team with the person whose birthday is closest to today’s date go first.

All the people on a team should confer/work on an answer. Checking Bibles (for readers) is OK! Remind the children that only the team in play should be talking. Use all chances to add discussion to these questions!

If the team answers correctly (from memory), one person from that team gets two chances to knock down the pins. If they get it right with help of a Bible, they get one chance to knock down the pins; If they get it wrong - no chances. If it is a “strike” and they have two chances to knock down the pins, set up all 10 pins again for their second chance. If they knock down 9 or less, the second attempt is with the remaining pins.

To save time have team members reset the pins while the next team answers their question.

Closing:
Say: Let’s close with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for the story of the wise men who journeyed a long way to find Jesus. Thank you for helping all of us to find Jesus in our lives. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

If you have extra time:
Using the key verse in the pocket chart, practice it once or twice with the group. Then have a student take a turn removing a word(s) – a card of the verse. Then have everyone say the verse including the missing word. Continue until all words are gone!


Resources:


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

 

If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert, Carol. "The Wise Still Seek Him: Games Lesson." 2008. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Wise Still Seek Him

Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:The Very First Noel DVD

Watch an animated video of the story “The Very First Noel” from Exclaim Entertainment. Learn critical viewing skills. Total viewing time: 16 and 1/2 minutes. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • The DVD: The Very First Noel, Exclaim Entertainment, © 2006 Reel FX, Inc.
  • TV/DVD player
  • Snack items: goldfish crackers (or popcorn, if any is left over!), cups, napkins, water pitcher
  • Easel with paper; appropriate marker
  • One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.)
  • For 3rd grade: Bibles; Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
  • Story Bible for 1st and 2nd grade – The Young Reader’s Bible

    Before Start of Class:
  • In the kitchen, fill a pitcher with ice and water. Gather enough plastic cups – the washable type – to serve water and Goldfish crackers.
  • In your classroom, prepare snack by pouring Goldfish crackers into cups. (Or pop popcorn for 3 minutes in the microwave). Pour cups of water.
  • Make sure you know how to use the TV/DVD, especially how to pause and restart and how to scan forward.
  • Insert the DVD. Have the video ready to start from the beginning. From MAIN MENU, choose SCENE SELECTIONS. This is where the video will be started.
  • Book mark the purple Adventure Bible to Matthew 2:1 (to page 250).


Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the video workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Today we are going to watch a video about Jesus and the Wise Men.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: Have you ever seen a nativity scene or crèche set before?
What things do you see in a nativity scene?
Who can tell me something about the Wise Men and their visit to Jesus?

See how much of the story your group knows. List the words and drawings (stick figures) to represent the different parts of the story as they are offered. [If someone mentions wise men, don’t draw them as part of the stable.]

This will be your “Things to Watch For” chart for the video. Seek out responses for each of the following:

  • Wise Men/Magi
  • Mary and Joseph
  • the angel Gabriel
  • Jesus
  • Shepherds


Say: There is one more person who is important to our story, someone who isn’t part of a crèche scene, who you will see more about later, and that is King Herod (add King Herod to the “Things to Watch For” list).
Say: Before we watch our video, let’s review in the Bible the part of the story about the visit of the Wise Men. Pay close attention to the Bible story; we’ll want to see if the movie tells the story correctly.

For 1st and 2nd graders:
Say: This story is found in the New Testament of the Bible, the part of the Bible where we learn about Jesus’ life and what he taught. We find our story in the Gospel of Matthew.
Read them the story on pages 250 – 255 of The Young Reader’s Bible. Show the pictures as you read the story.

For 3rd grade:
Distribute Bibles.
Ask: Where in the Bible would we find stories about Jesus and his teachings?
Where do we find the New Testament? [Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament.]
Say: Our story is found in Matthew, one of the 4 Gospels of the New Testament.
Ask: What are the other 3 Gospels? (Mark, Luke, John).
Say: If you have your own Bible with you today, be sure you receive a tab for the Gospel section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]
Have them find the story in Matthew, chapter 2, verses 1-12.
[Make sure they understand the difference between chapter numbers and verse numbers.]
Say: In order to have enough time to watch our video, I’m going to read you our story. The practice you just had in finding the story was important. I encourage all of you to read this story at home this week.
Read them following. [Note: The exercise of finding the story is important – don’t skip it.]
Scripture:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Wise Men or Magi came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star and have come
to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, it bothered him, and he called together his chief priests and law teachers, and asked them where Christ was to be born. They told him Bethlehem.
Then Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem and said, “Go search for the child, and as soon as you find him, come tell me, so that I can worship him too.” The Wise Men followed the star until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
[Show pages 254 and 255 in The Young Reader’s Bible as you read the next part…]
At the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and gave him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. They had been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, so they returned home to their countries another way.

For all students:
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us…
The class says: Thanks be to God.
Remind the class that those are the words that are spoken in the worship service after the Bible is read. We say those words in class so that we will be used to saying them when we hear a Bible story read in the worship service.

[You will want to refer to the “Things to Watch For” chart as you work your way through these paragraphs before starting the video.]

Say: Let’s talk about what I just read to you, and what you’ll see in our video.
Ask: Can someone tell me what “Magi” means? (wise men)
Say: We sometimes refer to these visitors as kings, but they probably were not kings.
Ask: In our reading, does it say how many Wise Men there are? (no)
Say: We really don’t know how many Wise Men there were. Because three gifts are mentioned in the Bible, we assume that there were three visitors. In the video, there are three Wise Men. You will also meet Mary and Joseph – Jesus’ parents – in the movie, the angel Gabriel; you’ll see shepherds, and King Herod.
Ask (“one last question": What does King Herod ask the Wise Men to do once they have found Jesus? (he wants them to tell him where Jesus is)

Show the Video:
Have the Shepherd distribute the snack.

Using the DVD, from MAIN MENU, choose SCENE SELECTIONS.
Choose – #1 “The Journey Begins.”
VIEW scene of about 3 minutes.
PAUSE when Melchior is seen riding into the expanding view of the star. (Approximately 3:00).
[Note: The PAUSE button is one of the most powerful tools in your workshop. Don’t be afraid to use it!]

Ask: Who is talking in this part of the video? (Melchior, one of the Wise Men)
Was the name “Melchior” part of the scripture reading? [Open the Adventure Bible to look.] (no, it was not)
Say: Videos about Bible stories sometimes add on to the story. It is good to check with the Bible to see if they are telling the story correctly.
Ask: What did you see in this part of the video - what is happening? (a Wise Man has seen the star and is traveling to see the new king)
Say: That is a part of the story that the video is telling correctly – we do know that the Wise Men said: [Hold open the Adventure Bible and read Matthew 2:2.] We find those words in the Gospel of Matthew.

RESUME VIEWING.
VIEW scene of about 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
PAUSE after the angel leaves Joseph. (Approximately 5:30).

Ask: How do you suppose you would feel if an angel came to visit you?

RESUME VIEWING.
VIEW scene of about 1 minute, 13 seconds.
PAUSE after Balthasar says, “no matter where it went” and the screen darkens (approx 6:43).

Ask: Why does Balthasar follow the star? (because it said that’s what wise guys do)
[Note: If the kids don’t know, use the SCAN BACKWARDS to watch the scene over again.]
Say: The magi studied the stars. In that time, people said that a new star usually appeared when new kings were born.

RESUME VIEWING.
VIEW scene of about 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
PAUSE after Joseph and Mary head for Bethlehem (words are: “as he took Mary south on a long donkey ride.” (approx 9:21).
Say: You’ll notice that this video is also telling us the other parts of the story of Jesus’ birth. We are going to skip parts of this video so that we have time to watch the important parts.

SCAN FORWARD…As the video scans forward…
Say: The Wise Men traveled a long way… finally they came to Jerusalem and entered the town.

RESUME VIEWING when it shows the Wise Men entering Jerusalem.
VIEW scene of about 2 minutes, 45 seconds.
PAUSE after Herod says, “Be quiet about it. Bring me those guys.” (approx 13:52). [It is ok if next scene of Mary and Joseph traveling appears before you are able to pause.]

Say: Tell me about King Herod.
Ask: What is he like? What does he want?

Ask: I’ll bet you all know what has been happening with Mary and Joseph?
How old do you suppose Jesus was when the Wise Men visited him?

Say: It must have taken the Wise Men a long time to get to Jesus, because they were coming from a long way away and did not have cars or airplanes. In fact, by the time they reached him, Jesus would probably have been a toddler! He could have been 2 years old. The Bible does tell us that the Wise Men visited Jesus in a house. Let’s keep that point in mind as we watch the rest of this video. Meanwhile Herod wanted to see the Wise Men.

SCAN FORWARD…
RESUME VIEWING when the three Wise Men appear. (approx 14:37).

VIEW scene of about 1 minute 20 seconds.
PAUSE when the bright star appears over the shepherds. (approx 15:59)

Ask: What was it that Herod wanted the Wise Men to do? (tell him where Jesus was)
Say: The video got that part of the story correct.
Ask: Who visited the shepherds on the night that Jesus was born?
Say: The angels told the shepherds that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem.
Ask: Do you suppose that this video is going to show the Wise Men visiting Jesus as a newborn baby in the stable?
Say: That wouldn’t be telling the story right. We can still enjoy the movie even if they do tell the story wrong because we know what the Bible really says.

SCAN FORWARD…
RESUME VIEWING when the shepherds head for town. (approx 17:17).
VIEW scene of about 3 minutes.
STOP when the camera pans back on the manger scene. (approx 20:12).

Discussion:
Say: So the video did show the Wise Men arriving a little too early.
Ask: What parts of the story did the video tell correctly? (allow a few responses)
Say: I am wondering about the part that said that Jesus came for everyone.
Ask: Did anyone hear that part?
SCAN BACKWARDS to the entry of the Wise Men to the manager (approx 18:48) and VIEW this scene again.

*****

Say: God has given everyone his son Jesus as a gift. Jesus came to earth as a person to teach us about God’s love for us and to teach us how we should act.
Ask: What did the Wise Men do when they saw Jesus? (worshipped him & gave gifts)
God has given us Jesus as a gift. How can we respond to this gift? (allow all responses)

Say: We also worship God. We can also respond by sharing our gifts. The video shows a little boy who comes to see Jesus too.
Ask: What does he do for Jesus? (he plays his drum for him)
Say: We don’t know that there really was a little boy who came to play for baby Jesus. But the video shows us an example of a very nice gift that the boy gives to baby Jesus and his family; he does something special for them. Just like the Wise Men give very precious gifts to Jesus, and like the drummer boy gives a gift to Jesus by playing the drum, we can give and do things that are special to other people. Most parents love it when people give presents to their babies – it tells them that their baby is loved and welcome. God is the same way – God loves it when we do special things for his son, when we give him gifts or do loving things for him.
Ask: What are some loving things we can do for Jesus? What are things we can give?

*****

Ask: What lead the Wise Men to Jesus? (a star)
Who put that star in the sky? (God)
I wonder if it would be handy to have a star that showed us the way to Jesus?
(allow all responses)

Say: God reaches out to us, to lead us to him, even though we may be unaware of it.
Ask: Think about your experiences, I wonder if you’ve had a “star” show you the way to God? (allow all responses)

Say: God led the Wise Men and the shepherds to find Jesus. God still leads us today. He may not send a star, but he leads us in many other ways.
Ask: What are some ways that God leads us to him? (through our family, through prayer, the Bible, church, music, etc.)

Closing:
Say: Let’s close in prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, thank you for the gift of your son and for loving all of us so much. Thank you for the stars that appear in our lives leading us to you. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”


Resources:

  • Bruno, Bonnie and Carol Reinsma. The Young Reader’s Bible. Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 1998.
  • MacQueen, Neil. "A Brief Introduction to Teaching with Video.” 2002. http://www.sundaysoftware.com/video-tips.htm
  • The Very First Noel. Exclaim Entertainment, © 2006 Reel FX, Inc.

 

A lesson written by Lynne Pauer and Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 


Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:

Pauer, Lynne and Carol Hulbert. "The Wise Still Seek Him: Video Lesson." 2008. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

 A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

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The Wise Still Seek Him

Art Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Through story and the art of creating star ornaments, the children will learn about the wise men seeking Jesus, bringing gifts to honor him, and how we can do the same. In addition, children will learn about the church calendar and the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

 

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • Bibles
  • Children’s Illustrated Bible
  • Heavy wrapping paper scraps or origami paper or at a last resort: construction paper – eight 5 x 5 inch squares needed per student (to make one star each) – must be perfectly square and paper must all be the same size
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape or regular tape
  • Hole Punch
  • Heavy thread or thin ribbon
  • CD player with a CD of instrumental Christmas music
  • A crèche set in a box, not set up
  • Copies of page 28, Unit 2 in the Worship for Life materials (church year calendar)

Before Start of Class:

  • Test out the technique of cutting and taping the spirals. (See end of lesson for resource.)
  • Color in a copy of the church calendar with the appropriate colors to represent each season.
  • Set up to play the CD of Christmas music.


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Art Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance/name tags while you are starting your lesson.]


Ask: Why do you think some people have stars on the top of their Christmas Trees? (accept all answers)
Say: Today our focus will be on stars. We’ll be talking about the story of some wise men that followed a star to find Jesus. And we’ll be making some stars. First, let’s go out to the Bible timeline mural and look at the pictures painted there. Let’s see if we can find our story depicted in the artwork.

Head out to the time line:
Remind students not to touch the art work.

Ask: Can anyone find the story of the wise men depicted in this art?
Are they with Jesus when he was in the manger? (not depicted that way, they are a ways off)
Do you suppose that the wise men visited Jesus when he was a little baby in the stable? (accept all answers)

After a couple of minutes of looking (encouage seeking other stories that they know), head back to the classroom.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: Since the wise men visited Jesus, where in the Bible would we read our story? (NT)

  • What are the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
  • What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
  • What does the word “Gospel” mean?

Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” The story of Jesus’ birth is very good news.

Distribute Bibles. Have everyone find Matthew 2:1
If this is a week early in the Rotation, read the scripture together. Towards the end of the Rotation, ask the students if they can tell you the story. Have them check the Bible for accuracy.

If scripture has been read, when you are finished…
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!

Remind the class that those are the words that are spoken in the worship service after the Bible is read. We say those words in class so that we will be used to saying them when we hear a Bible story read in the worship service.

Initial Discussion:
Ask: What did you learn about the wise men story that you didn’t know before?

Say: The wise men followed a star because they were people who studied the stars. To them new stars represented important events. In this story, the wise men found Jesus by following a star. God created the Earth, the planets, and the stars and arranged them all in the heavens.

 

Ask: Isn’t it amazing that God used the arrangements of his heavenly bodies to guide the wise men -- do you suppose that God placed the star in the sky to lead the wise men to Jesus?
Who leads us to Jesus?
Do you suppose God leads us to Jesus by providing us with a star?

Say: It would be great if God would always provide us with a “star” to find where we should go and how to find Jesus in our lives. But such a direct sign doesn’t always happen.
Ask: What are some of the ways God provides for us to get to know Jesus? (some possible answers: studying the Bible, prayer, learning about Jesus in Sunday’s Cool, attending worship services, talking to other people who believe in Jesus)

Say: We can think of all of those things as “stars” which lead us to Jesus and to God. God reaches out to lead us even though we may not be aware of it.

Ask: Does this story gives us a connection as to why people put stars on the top of their Christmas trees?
Say: Let’s make some stars.


Start the art project:
Say: Today, you will be creating Christmas star decorations to represent the star that led the wise men to Jesus.

Follow the instructions to make stars (see resources). Have the students all make the first cuts and spirals together as you demonstrate the process.

Watch the time and stop a couple of minutes before the end of class to do the closing and to clean up.

Discussion while the kids are working: (Do as much of this discussion as time allows)

 

Ask: Do any of you give gifts at Christmas?
Why do you give gifts? (accept any answers)

Say: It is thought that the practice of giving gifts at Christmas, traces back to the gifts that were given to Jesus by the Magi.
Ask: Who were the Magi? (another name for wise men)
Say: The Magi are sometimes called kings. They probably were not kings.
Ask someone to read the sidebar note on page 196, “From the East” in the Children’s Illustrated Bible.

Say: God has given everyone his son Jesus as a gift. Jesus came to earth as a person to teach us about God’s love for us and to teach us how we should act.
Ask: What did the Wise Men do when they saw Jesus? (worshipped him & gave gifts)
God has given Jesus to us as a gift. How can we respond to this gift of Jesus? (allow all responses)
Say: We also worship God. We can also respond by sharing our gifts.

Ask: What gifts did the wise men bring to Jesus? (gold, frankincense, myrrh)
Say: These gifts had significance to Jesus.
Ask someone to read the sidebar note on page 197, “Three Gifts” in the Children’s Illustrated Bible.

Ask: Did you know that this is the time of year in our church calendar when it is appropriate to say “Happy New Year?”

Talk about how the church calendar starts with Advent. Show the church calendar and note the specific colors that are associated with each season.
(I had test here that I’d taken from Unit 2 of the Worship for Life material but I’ve removed it from this lesson for copyright reasons.)

Ask: Did you know that there is even a day that celebrates the wise men visiting Jesus?
Does anyone know what that day is called?
Say: It’s called Epiphany. Epiphany actually happens on January 6th but we’ll celebrate Epiphany here in this church on January 4th because that’s a Sunday.
Ask: I wonder if there will be some sort of special event that day?
Say: The season of Epiphany lasts until the start of Lent before Easter.

Ask: Are you all familiar with crèche sets?
What is typically seen in a crèche set?

Bring out the box with the crèche set. Encourage the telling of the Christmas story. As each piece is mentioned set it out on the table in front of the students.
Ask: What about those wise men? Should they be a part of the crèche set?
What clues did you get from this story that tell us that the wise men probably didn’t visit Jesus when he was in the manger of the stable?

Have someone read Matthew 2:11 (“On coming to the house…

Ask: Who can tell me what town you were born in? (allow a few answers)
I wonder what it would have been like if someone had predicted 700 years before you were born, that you would be born in __<name a town>__?

Say: Well, that is what happened to Jesus. A prophet by the name of Micah predicted that a king would be born in Bethlehem.
Ask: What town was Jesus born in? (Bethlehem)

Read to the students Micah 5:2 -- “But you, Bethlehem, though you are one of the smallest towns, but the Lord will choose one of your people to be ruler over Israel.” (paraphrased)

Say: Remember the part of our story where King Herod asked the Jewish religious leaders where the Christ was to be born? Those religious leaders would have looked up in the Old Testament and found the words of Micah.

Closing:
Say: Let’s close with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: God, thank you for sending Jesus to the whole world. What a great gift! Thank you for all the ways you help us to know Jesus. And now we remember how Jesus taught us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Led us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.


Resources for the Art Lesson:

  • Faith Quest Lesson Sets at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church. “Wise Men – Antioch Arcade.” 2003. http://www.kirkofkildaire.org/...enAntiochArcade.html
  • Hastings, Selina. The Children’s Illustrated Bible. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.
  • Merten, Cynthia G. “Computer.” Worship for Life: Equipping Children to Grow in the Community of Faith. Unit 2: Call to Worship. Inver Grove Heights, MN: Logos Productions, 2008. 25-28.
  • “Wrapping Paper Stars.” Family Fun.com. http://jas.familyfun.go.com/ar...ay&craftid=11076 (see this web site for directions on making stars. It helps if you download the pictures and enlarge them to see where to make the cuts.)

Why are we sending kids out to look at our timeline? Well, we are mighty proud of our time line! It is a work of art! For pictures view the artist's web site (Look under the “Murals” tab and scroll down to click on First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor).


A lesson written by Carol Teener and Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

 

If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Teener, Carol and Carol Hulbert. "The Wise Still Seek Him: Art Lesson." 2008. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Wise Still Seek Him

Cooking Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Make no-bake cookies in the shape of stars. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

 

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Measuring Teaspoons (2)
  • Rubber spatulas (2)
  • Soup spoons (1 per student, not plastic)
  • Aprons
  • Sharpie marker
  • Bibles
  • Gingersnap cookies (5 cookies per student)
  • Soy Butter (substitute for peanut butter, found in the store, by the organic peanut butter)
  • Corn Syrup
  • Zipper sandwich bags (3 per student)
  • Cinnamon-sugar
  • Star-shaped cookie cutters
  • A medium-sized, empty, decorated gift box.

Before Start of Class:

  • Wash the metal table.
  • Bookmark a Bible to the story.


Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Gather everyone around the tables in the Social Hall. Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Cooking Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance & do name tags while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Today we’ll be making some yummy cookies. First, let’s spend some time talking about what activities you’ve been doing to get ready for Christmas. I’ve got this nicely decorated package. It’s actually an empty box so it’s not really a present for anyone but let’s think of this as our “presenting package.” The person who has the package is the one who’s turn it is to talk.

Give the package to someone. When they are finished their turn talking, they pass it to the next person. Allow everyone a chance (saying “pass” is ok if they’re not in the mood to talk). [Try to spend a maximum of 10 minutes on this activity.]

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Say: One of the reasons I had you pass around this decorated package is that it also symbolizes what we’ll be talking about today. We’re going to be talking about gifts and in particular, about the magi or the wise men, and the gifts they brought to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Ask: What gifts did the wise men bring? (gold, frankincense, myrrh)
Do those sound like the typical birthday gifts?
Say: Jesus was no ordinary baby. The wise men brought gifts that were meaningful to Jesus.
Ask: You all know what gold is, but what’s frankincense? (an aromatic incense; used in the Temple, it was burned to honor God; made from a certain kind of tree sap)
What about myrrh? (also an aromatic tree sap, used to prepare a body for burial)

Say: Let’s read the story of the visit of the magi.
Ask: Would this story be in the New Testament or Old Testament? (NT; stories about Jesus are in the New Testament)
Ask: Who can tell me the names of the first four books of the New Testament?
Say: The four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are named after their authors. Our story about the magi can be found in the Gospel of Matthew.

Have them find Matthew, chapter 2, starting with verse 1. Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament. [Opening the Bible in middle lands you usually in Psalms. Taking just the back half and finding middle of that, gets you to beginning of NT.]

Say: When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Herod was king. After Jesus’ birth some men who studied the stars – we sometimes call them magi or wise men – came from the East to Jerusalem. They asked around, saying: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.”

On the first week of the Rotation…
Say: I am going to start reading from the Bible at verse 3. Follow along if you’d like to do so.
Read to them Matthew 2:3-12.
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us…
The class says: Thanks be to God!

On the later weeks…
The students will be more familiar with the story. Have them locate the scripture in their Bibles. Then ask them to tell you the rest of the story. Fill in any missing details by using their Bibles. Read any portions that aren’t clear.

Preliminary Discussion:
Ask: How did the wise men find Jesus? (they followed a star)
Say: These wise men were students of the stars; they studied stars. What they observed in the stars caused them to search for a newborn king. They followed the star, and found Jesus.

Ask: I wonder if it would be handy to have a star that showed us the way to Jesus?
(allow all responses)

Say: God reaches out to us, to lead us to him, even though we may be unaware of it.
Ask: Think about your experiences, I wonder if you’ve had a star show you the way to God?

Say: Let’s go into the kitchen and make some star-shaped cookies. While we work, we can talk some more about the magi.

In the Kitchen:
Wash your hands first and then have everyone wash their hands. Offer aprons if kids want to wear one.

The “recipe” (makes 2 cookies)
5 gingersnap cookies
2 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp soy butter (we are substituting this instead of creamy peanut butter)
Cinnamon-sugar

  1. Give each student a zipper sandwich bag and five cookies.
  2. Put the cookies inside the bag, seal it, and crush the cookies into fine crumbs. Suggestions: use the back of a soup spoon as a crushing device. The bag will develop holes. Have kids keep same side of bag down (so holes are likely to be on top). Periodically have them gently shake bag from side to side to shift contents a bit. This step may take up to 10 minutes. Use this time to ask discussion questions (see below).
  3. When cookies are in crumb stage, if their bag has holes, put the crumbs into a new zipper bag.
  4. Have the kids hold their non-holey bag open, while you add 2 tsp of corn syrup and 1 tsp of soy butter. (Get the Shepherd to help you – you dispense one item, the Shepherd scoops in the other item. Rubber spatulas will be helpful here. The measurements do not have to be exact.)
  5. Have kids close their bag and knead ingredients until dough forms.
  6. Have the students remove the dough from the bag and flatten it on the metal table with their hands, until about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Cut star shapes. They will have to share cookie cutters. Sprinkle the cookies with cinnamon-sugar. Makes about two cookies each. Give each child a napkin to place their cookies on.


Discussion while working:
Say: We sometimes refer to the wise men as kings but they probably were not kings.
Ask: When we were reading the Bible did it say how many wise men there were? (no!)
Say: Tradition assumes there were three wise men because of the three gifts mentioned but we don’t know for sure if there were only three.

Say: As you crush your cookies, listen to the noise you’re making.
Ask: What does it sound like? (it sounds like footsteps)
Ask: What do you suppose the wise men talked about on their journey to see the new king?
Do you think the wise men’s journey took a long time? (it could have taken months or even years)

Say: Most crèche scenes have the wise men visiting a baby Jesus in the stable.
Ask: In light of what we just said, what’s not quite right about that? (by the time these wise men got to Jesus, he could have been up to two years old)
As you are working with crushing and mixing these ginger snaps does the spicy scent remind you of any of the gifts of the wise men?
Two of gifts that the wise men brought were scented items. Do you remember what they were? (frankincense and myrrh)

Back to the Social Hall – Discussion with eating:
When everyone is finished, have the students wash their hands and return to the Social Hall. They may choose to eat one of their cookies. Ask them to bag up their other cookie and take it home; they must tell the story to someone in their family before eating the second cookie.

Say: When the wise men finally found Jesus they knelt down and worshipped him. They celebrated Jesus’ birth by bringing him gifts.
Ask: What do you think would be the most important gift you could give Jesus?

Say: God loves you. We give gifts to others as a response to God’s love for us.
Ask: I wonder how knowing this story will make us think differently about gifts this Christmas season?

Closing:
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, We thank you for your presence with us today around this table. Thank you for the gift you have given each of us of your son, Jesus. Help us to remember this as we share our gifts with others. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

If you have extra time:
Play a game of 20 questions. Choose a student to think of a person, a place or a thing from the story. The other students attempt to guess by asking questions that have yes or no answers. Whoever guesses correctly gets to think of the item for the next round.


Resources:

  • Goings, Nanette. Incredible Edible Bible Fun. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 1997. (for recipe)
  • Hastings, Selina. The Children’s Illustrated Bible. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.
  • Klusmeyers, Steve and Brenda. “Angels, Shepherds, Magi, Covenant Fulfilled lesson set: Drama Workshop.” 2002.

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church

120 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Copyright 2002, 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

 

f you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert, Carol. "The Wise Still Seek Him: Cooking Lesson." 2008. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Wise Still Seek Him

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Pantomime the story using a shadow screen to show how God can lead us to Jesus and that we are called to offer gifts. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Easel; appropriate marker
  • Bibles; use the Good News version
  • Map: showing Persia and Babylon
  • Shadow screen (a large piece of shear fabric) attached to the drop ceiling with banker’s clips
  • Lights (Options: use a set of work lights on a stand, sort of like this one pictured. Moderator adds she used an inexpensive goose neck desk lamp, raising it by sitting it on a table or chair for height, worked fine, our area was only the width of a double door.)
  • Extension cord
  • Costumes
  • Props: Wise men head gear, Crown for Herod, Scrolls, Three packages or containers to be the gifts

Before Start of Class:

  • Lay out the costumes for easy access and to avoid a lot of time wasted searching for a costume.
  • Write the key Bible verse on the easel.

Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Drama Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance/name tags while you are starting your lesson.]

Ask: Are you excited about Christmas?
Do you know what we call the season we are in? (advent)
What is Advent ? (a time of getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus)
What preparations have you been making to get ready for Christmas?

Say: This Rotation we are studying a story that actually happened after Christmas. It has it’s own day of celebration called “Epiphany” which is celebrated this year on Sunday, January 4th.
Ask: Has anyone heard of Epiphany?
What is Epiphany? (it’s the celebration of the wise men visiting Jesus)

Say: We are learning (continuing to learn) about the story of the Wise Men visiting Jesus. Today we will retell the story of the Wise Men by acting it out in pantomime using a shadow screen.
Ask: What does pantomime mean?
Say: Pantomime means acting without speaking, just using gestures. With a shadow screen we create our drama with our shadows. The audience will only see the shadows, not the actors. So you’ll really need to think about what you are doing because people won’t see your facial expressions. We will take turns so that everyone gets to be an actor and an audience member. First let’s review our story.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: Where in the Bible would we read a story about Jesus? (in NT)
What are the first four books of the New Testament?
What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” The news of Jesus’ birth was very good news.
Ask: Why was it good news?
Say: Jesus came to earth as a human to teach us about God’ love and how we should act. Jesus also died for us so that our sins could be forgiven. That is very good news.

Distribute Bibles. [Use the Good News Version.]
Have everyone find Matthew, chapter 2, verse 1 in the Bible.
If this is a week early in the Rotation, read the scripture together: verses 1-12. Towards the end of the Rotation, ask the students if they can tell you the story. Have them check their Bibles for accuracy.

If scripture has been read, when you are finished…
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!

Discussion:
Ask: Who were the Wise Men and where did they come from?
Say: All we know is that they came from the east, probably Persia or Babylon. [Point out on the map: Persia, Babylon and Israel.] They had to travel a long way. These wise men probably studied the stars. They are often called kings but they were probably not kings.

Ask: How did the Wise Men find Jesus? (followed a star)
Did they stop to ask for directions? (yes, in Jerusalem)

Refer to the easel and the key Bible verse.
Say: They asked… [read the key Bible verse.] We find that verse in Matthew chapter 2, verse 2.

Ask: Where was it that King Herod told them to go? (Bethlehem)
How did Herod find out where Christ would be born?
Say: Herod consulted with the Jewish religious leaders to find out himself where the Messiah was to be born. He might have asked them: “There are these wise men saying that a king is born. They claim to have seen his star. What do your scrolls have to say?”
Ask: What would the Jewish religious people have been consulting?
Say: They would have looked up in their Bible, which was the Old Testament. The word of the Prophets from a long time before that time, people who were God’s messengers, is written in the Old Testament.

Have the student notice that at the bottom of the page where Matthew 2:6 is on, there is a note which says “2:6 Mic 5:2” - Point out that this tells us that the passage that is Matthew 2:6, is actually quoted from Micah chapter 5, verse 2. [If time allows you could have them find Micah 5:2.]

Enact the Story:
Have the students bring chairs to sit on the audience side of the screen.
Turn on the light behind the shadow screen. Show the students how they will need to be:

  • between the light and the screen in order to make a shadow.
  • close to the screen but not touching it. Shadows are clearest when performers are close to the screen; farther from the screen the shadows get fuzzy.
  • spread out a bit as they perform.
  • They’re movements and actions need to be exaggerated.

Ask one student to join you on the “stage.” Pretend that you are two wise men, both studying their scrolls. One sees the star and alerts the other wise man. Act out this scenario silently.

Ask: Does the Bible tell us how many wise men came to visit Jesus? (no!)
Say: Tradition assumes there were three wise men because of the three gifts mentioned but we don’t know for sure if there were only three.

Point out how not everyone can fit behind the screen – maximum of 4 or 5. [Not sure?]
Ask: How many wise men should we have?
Have that number of students come up and enact by themselves this same scenario of first seeing the star. Point out the value of spacing (some high, some low – i.e. some standing, some stooping) and exaggerated movement.

Ask: What were the three gifts that the wise men brought? (gold, frankincense, and myrrh)
Say: These gifts had significance for Jesus. They were gifts given to kings. Now we need some costumes and some props.

Have 3 or 4 different students than have acted so far get into costume as wise men and one as Herod. Establish one side of the stage as the “east” where the wise men start off and the other side of the room as Jerusalem where Herod is. Have them enact the story of the wise men traveling, (walking in place exaggeratedly perhaps) stopping to confer as if which way should they go, looking up for the star, etc. Then have Herod come on the scene and enact them asking for directions. As the students enact the story you can narrate it or ask one of the students to narrate. [They can read from the Bible or just tell the story.]

Stop and have other students get into costume. Set the scene for Herod to be asking new students posing as chief priests and elders who consult their scrolls and then point to Bethlehem.

Ask: When the magi found Jesus did they visit Jesus when he was a baby in the stable?
[If they seem uncertain, have someone check Matthew 2:11 and notice how it speaks of a house.]
Say: It is thought that when Jesus was staying in the stable is probably when the wise men started out on their journey. Jesus could have been up to two years old when the wise men visited.

Enact the rest of the story, wise men traveling again. Seeing Mary and Jesus. (Perhaps have a student get down on their knees to play a toddler-sized Jesus?) Have the Wise Men bow down and worship Jesus. Have Mary accept the gifts of the wise men.
Re-do the story with different actors. It is important to have some students be the audience. (Remind them to use their good audience manners.) Allow some time for more discussion and closing.

More Discussion:
Say: The Wise Men were people who studied the stars. They saw stars as signs of
important events; this particular star they followed led them to Jesus.

Ask: Do you suppose that God placed the star as a signpost for the Wise Men so that
they could find Jesus? (accept all answers)
Say: When we were acting out our drama we didn’t actually have a star as a prop. But everyone knew it was there.
Ask: I’m wondering if there’s something in our lives… something that we know is there but it’s not something we see… something that that leads us to Jesus? (accept all answers)
Do you suppose that we are led to Jesus without even knowing it?
What has helped you to find Jesus in your life?

For the 6th graders:
Say: John Wesley, who was the founder of Methodism, had a word for that kind of thinking – he called it “prevenient grace.” It means that God offers us a chance to have a close relationship with him before we even decided to say yes to that relationship.
God wants you to be a part of his great, big family, even before you’ve even heard of it. That’s prevenient grace. It’s a concept you’ll learn more about next year if you take the confirmation class.

Closing:
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Holy One, at this busy season of Advent help us to focus on the reason why we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Thank you for offering us the chance to have a close relationship with you. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

If you have extra time:
Have the students enact other parts of the Christmas story using the shadow screen.


Resources:


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert, Carol. "The Wise Still Seek Him: Drama Lesson." Dec. 2008. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

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Attachments

Photos (2)

The following three workshops are preserved here - they were used when we first did this Rotation in 2002. (But were not used in 2008). Note that the scripture references and objectives were different for this particular set of workshops.

Scripture:

Matthew 2: 1-16, 19-23

Workshop Objectives —children will learn:

  • The story of wise men from the east following a special star to find Jesus. When they found him they bowed down and worshipped him and gave him precious gifts.
  • The timing of story events (i.e. The wise men did not visit Jesus as a newborn.)
  • 3rd grade and up: Find the book of Matthew in the New Testament.
  • Understand the terms: magi and Epiphany.
  • We are on a journey to find Jesus in our own lives.

The Wise Still Seek Him

Old Music Workshop

Someone else wrote this workshop and because I am not certain of what’s copyright material and what’s not, I’m only going to provide what ideas were used. The usual Open, Dig… was followed. The Bible story was read and discussed to be sure kids had content.

Younger kids (3rd grade and under) learned a song sung to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Motions were made up for the E-I-E-I-O part. This song was called “The Magi Bowed Their Heads to Pray” by Jane K. Priewe and was from the book Creative Ideas for Epiphany. (Davidson, Linda S. (editor) Educational Ministries, Inc., 1991)
Older kids used a Syncopated Story to tell about the wise men’s journey. The leader says a line and the kids repeat it while maintaining a clapping rhythm. This idea is from the book Symbols of the Season: Exciting Epiphany Experiences by Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Jude Dennis Fournier. Educational Ministries, Inc. 1991.

As a part of our Music Workshop we use part of the time for what we call “Shepherd Time” when the Shepherds guide the kids in writing/drawing in their journals. That material is also included here.


Supplies:

  • Journals (the color of the journal matches the border on the class banner on the door)
  • Colored pencils, gel pens, markers
  • Coloring sheet with camel (for grades 1 –3); paper with wise men for older kids
  • Pictures of “gift” ideas for younger kids.

Leader Preparation:

  • Gather the materials.
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

 

Open with a prayer.

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:


The Plan: Gather everyone sitting in a circle on the rug. Introduce yourself and any other
adults. Make sure everyone has a nametag. Pass out journals and writing/drawing supplies.

For 1st and 2nd and 3rd grades:
Pass out the prepared sheets. Offer lap desks. [Note: the prepared sheet had a picture of a camel and the words "Imagine you are going on a trip across the desert with the Wise Men. Draw or write about a gift you can give Jesus."]

Ask: What are we learning about this month? (the wise men’s visit to Jesus)
Say: In the time we have left, you can work on this sheet for your Journal. Let’s look at what it says. Read the sheet to the kids. Show them the pictures of gift ideas. (Hint: when we use our gifts to help others we are giving gifts to Christ.) Have them draw (or write) what gift they can give Jesus.
[Note: the pictures of gift ideas were things like a watch, a clock, visiting someone in bed, kids singing, a Bible, a church, etc.]

For older kids:
Pass out the prepared sheets. Offer lap desks.
[Note: these prepared sheets had a picture of wise men on camels and the words "The wise men journeyed a long way to find the Messiah. How can we seek and find Jesus in our own lives?"]

Say: This month we are learning about the wise men’s visit to Jesus. The wise men
traveled a long way, following a star and seeking the newborn king. In the time we have
left, let’s write in our journals about how we can seek and find Jesus
in our own lives.

Note: You may not have time to finish this activity. That’s ok. When the Music/Movement
workshop starts clean up supplies. Load each students page into their
journal. Participate in the Music/Movement Workshop, following the leader’s direction.

 

Closing:

End with a prayer.


 

Written for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI

Copyright 2002 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI. 
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material 

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Wise Still Seek Him

Old Video Workshop

Note: This workshop didn’t turn out as I’d hoped because I was unable to obtain the video I wanted which was called Star of Bethlehem: A Mystery Revealed with Jack Horkheimer. We ended up filling in with a last minute substitute video. (I didn’t find out until too late that the video was out of stock and couldn't be had.) For the 6th graders we did something a little different, which I am including here.

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Use a computer to show a computer video on the “science” of the star of Bethlehem.

For scripture and objectives- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Preview the video and have it cued to the correct starting place.
  • Prepare an opening prayer in case you need one.
  • Gather the material.

Supplies List:

  • The video listed above.
  • TV/VCR


Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, introducing yourself and any other adults.
[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance, nametags, and any visitor cards; This can all happen quietly while you are starting your lesson.]

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests.

Say: Today we’ll be learning about the wise men and their visit to Jesus.
Say: There is even a day that celebrates the wise men’s visit to Jesus; does anyone know what it’s called? (it’s called Epiphany) Epiphany falls on January 6th. We’ll celebrate Epiphany here in this church on Sunday, January 5th.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: What guided the wise men to find Jesus? (a star)
What do you know about this star? (allow all answers)

Say: Today we’ll watch a video that tells us more about the star that guided the wise men. First let’s read the story in our Bibles.
Ask: Would the wise men story be in the New Testament or Old Testament? (New; stories about Jesus are in the New Testament) Can anyone tell me the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
Say: Our story is in Matthew.

Have the kids find Matthew, chapter 2, starting with verse 1, in their Bibles. Praise those who remembered to bring their own Bible. Have kids take turns reading verses 1 – 16 and 19 – 23.
Have the kids repeat the key verse with you (verse 2). [If the Bible they are reading from uses the word “homage”, explain that it means “worship”.]

Ask: Who were these wise men?
Answers looking for: (you might have to prompt with further questions)
Also called magi;
Referred to as “kings” but probably were not kings;
Were students of the stars or astrologers;
Came from the east, maybe Persia or Arabia (kids might not know this).

Ask: When we were reading the Bible did it say how many wise men there were? (no!)
Say: Tradition assumes there were three wise men because of the three gifts mentioned but we don’t know for sure if there were only three. We do know that it was what they observed in the stars that caused them to come looking for a newborn king.

Ask: Have you ever wondered about that star that the wise men saw?

Say: We’re going to watch a presentation on what modern-day astronomers think about the Star of Bethlehem.

Run through the web site “video”. Read the words on each screen (paraphrasing is ok).
Point out on the conjunction screen, how it shows the planets orbiting the sun (not all planets are shown). The blue inner planet would represent Earth. Have the kids watch the planets in the two outer rings so they can see how a conjunction would look from Earth. On later screens you can click the “play” button to reshow the arrangement of planets.

Discussion: (After viewing)
Say: God created the Earth, the planets, and the stars and arranged them all in the heavens. Isn’t it amazing that God used the arrangements of his planets to guide the wise men?

Ask: How many of you have a crèche at home? Does it have wise men and maybe a camel? (allow all answers) Most crèche scenes have the wise men visiting a baby Jesus in the stable. But what’s not quite right about that? (The journey of the wise men took a long time. By the time these wise men got to Jesus, he could have been up to two years old)

Ask: How do you think the wise men felt when they finally found Jesus?
The wise men followed a star to find Jesus. What can we do to try to find Jesus in our lives?
Wouldn’t it be nice if God could just put a star in the sky to direct us today?
How can we take time to see the “stars”?
What happens if we aren’t paying attention to God’s presence in our lives today?

If you have extra time:
Show the video “A King is Born”. It is cued to the part where the wise men first see the star and discuss what gifts to bring. Fast forward through the part about Jesus being presented at the temple. Start again where Herod is told about the Messiah. Show until the end (lasts about 8 minutes.) Point out that Jesus is shown as a baby when the wise men visit him. Ask what’s wrong with this?

Closing:
Say: God loves you. God has often used startling events in our natural world to cause us to stop, to wonder, to want us to seek him. This was true when God spoke to Moses with a burning bush, it was also true when God placed the light in the sky for the magi. The magi responded by seeking the one born king of the Jews. As Christmas draws near
we too are drawn to seek Jesus. Be sure to look for the “stars” that might lead you to Jesus.


Resources for Video Workshop:

  • Computer images of the web site of the Griffith Observatory http://www.askelm.com/video/v020301.asp
  • If have extra time, show Animated Stories from the New Testament: The King is Born Nest Entertainment.
  • A rotation lesson set compiled by Cindy Merten of First Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, MI

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
120 S. State Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Copyright 2002 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Wise Still Seek Him

Old Games Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Use games to learn the story. Kids will become refugees when they are “kicked out” of their workshop room. [A reminder that Jesus and his family were refugees (Matthew 2:13-15) and that we are on a journey to seek Jesus.]

 

For scripture and objectives- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
  • Be prepared to follow the lesson according to what grade will be in your workshop.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Bible storybook for 1st and 2nd grade: The Beginner’s Bible (Zonderkidz)
  • Easel with paper, markers
  • Cards for Pictionary game (with Epiphany words written on them)
  • Cards with pictures to play Concentration
  • Worksheets (grades 3 and up-word search, 1st & 2nd dot-to-dot)
  • Someone to come in about 10:10 and kick you out of your room- preferably one of the senior high kids.


Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, introducing yourself and any other adults.
Pass around a basket to collect any offering. Remind everyone what the M&M project is for the month.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance, nametags, and any visitor cards; This can all happen quietly while you are starting your lesson.]

For 3rd grade (who visit on the first week of the rotation):
Say: Today we’ll be learning about the wise men and their visit to Jesus. There is even a day that celebrates the wise men’s visit to Jesus; does anyone know what it’s called? (Epiphany) Epiphany falls on January 6th. We’ll celebrate Epiphany here in this church on Sunday, January 5th.

For 1st & 2nd grade:
Ask: What are we learning about this month? (the wise men and their visit to Jesus)
Say: Did you know that there is even a day that celebrates the wise men’s visit to Jesus, does anyone know what it’s called? (Epiphany) Epiphany actually happens on January 6th. We’ll celebrate Epiphany here in this church on Sunday, January 5th.

For 4th grade and up:
Ask: What are we learning about this month? (the wise men and their visit to Jesus)
Say: Did you know that there is even a day that celebrates the wise men’s visit to Jesus, does anyone know what it’s called? (Epiphany) Epiphany actually happens on January 6th. We’ll celebrate Epiphany here in this church on Sunday, January 5th. You are going to be able to take part in the church service when we celebrate Epiphany. We’ll hear more about that next week.

For all grades:
Say: First let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for the story of the wise men who journeyed a long way to find Jesus. Thank you for helping all of us find Jesus in our lives. Amen”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: Would the wise men story be in the New Testament or Old Testament? (New; stories about Jesus are in the New Testament) Can anyone tell me the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

Say: Our story is in Matthew. [Or try asking, does anyone know where our story is?]

For 1st and 2nd grade:
Read the story of the wise men from The Beginner’s Bible pages 288 – 298, showing the pictures as you read.

For 3rd grade and up:
Have the kids find Matthew, chapter 2, starting with verse 1, in their Bibles. Have kids take turns reading verses 1 – 16 and 19 – 23. [By week 3 – you might try having the kids tell you the story instead of reading it. But do still have them look it up in their Bibles.]
Have the kids repeat the key verse with you (verse 2). [If the Bible they are reading from uses the word “homage”, explain that it means “worship”.]

For all grades:
Say: These wise men were students of the stars; they studied stars. What they observed in the stars caused them to search for a newborn king. They followed the star, and found Jesus.
Ask: Do you think the wise men’s journey took a long time? (it could have taken months or even years)
Say: Most crèche scenes have the wise men visiting a baby Jesus in the stable. In light of what we just said, what’s not quite right about that? (by the time these wise men got to Jesus, he could have been up to two years old. The wise men didn’t visit Jesus as a baby in the stable with the shepherds.

Ask: How did King Herod react when the wise men showed up asking “where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?”
(Answers looking for: Herod was king; he was afraid of someone who might take over his kingdom. He pretended like he wanted to also worship the new born king, asked that wise men tell him where they found the Messiah. He was really planning to kill Jesus.)

Ask: How do you think the wise men felt when God told them not to go back to see Herod? How would you feel if God told you to do something different than what you were planning to do?
Ask: God also gave a message to Joseph to do something different. What message did Joseph get? (to flee to Egypt to escape Herod)
Say: So at a very young age, Jesus became a refugee. Do you know what a refugee is?
(someone who has to leave his or her home country because of something threatening)

Play Games:

For grades 3 and up:
Form two teams. Play Pictionary using the cards provided. Make sure each person has a chance to draw. The rest of their team tries to guess what they are drawing. Have a set time limit (use your judgment). Have each team say how the item relates to the story. [NOTE: you will get interrupted during this game – see below.]

For 1st and 2nd grade:
Form two groups. [Have Shepherds help decide how to best accomplish this.] Have each group play Concentration using the cards provided. (There are two duplicate sets.)
How to play: All cards are laid face down. When each person takes a turn they turn over 2 cards looking for a match. If no match, turn them face down again. If match, they pick up the cards. When they make a match, have student say how the item relates to the story.

For all grades: The Interruption (or you become refugees)
Someone will come and announce that you must leave your workshop room. They will be insistent: you must leave. Act surprised, saying things like “we’re in the middle of our game”. Protest a little bit. Try not to portray fear or too much concern. Eventually be matter-of-fact, “if you insist, let’s go on a journey to find a different room to use. Guess what: we are refugees just like Jesus was a refugee.”
Instruct everyone to take all your things – including game equipment and class banner. Gather everyone together; count heads!
Say: We are on our journey. I wish we had a star to guide us.
Go out your door to left. Go down one flight via the back stairs that end up by Wesley Lounge. Along the way look in rooms such as Wesley office (too small), Wesley Lounge (someone’s setting up to use that), go past main office, and left towards Chapel. Try Ellen’s office door (locked). Go down the back stairs to ground floor (comment on how rooms are being used, can’t go in that one). [Keep count of your kids!]
If you meet anyone along the way, Say: we are on a journey just as the wise men traveled to seek Jesus.
Go back up to the top floor (maybe via elevator?) Head for room 211.
Say: Here’s a room we can use!

When you’re in your new home:
Gather everyone together on the rug. (Use carpet squares if needed).
Ask: How did it feel to be refugees, to be on a journey and not know where we’d end up?
(allow kids to talk about the experience)
How do you think the wise men felt when they finally found Jesus?

Option if there is time left:
Continue with your game (Concentration or Pictionary) or
1st and 2nd grade can do a dot-to-dot worksheet
Older kids can do a word search

Closing:
Say: The wise men had a special star to guide them on their journey to find Jesus. As Christmas draws near we too are drawn to seek Jesus. God loves you and wants to help you go in the right direction so you can find Jesus in your life.

Ask the kids to help clean up, putting away Bibles and any supplies.
Encourage everyone to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite friends to come too!


Pictionary game cards. Write the following words on cards:

King, Gifts, Follow the Star, East, Wise men, Camel, We have seen his star, baby Jesus,
Manger, January, Star of Bethlehem, Knelt down,
Egypt, Light, Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh, Worship,
Epiphany, Study the stars, We Three Kings, King Herod.

Concentration game cards. Use clip art to create 2 sets of cards (so create 4 of each picture). Separate the sets so that each deck has 2 of each picture. Suggestions of pictures:

Crown
World (because Christ came for the world)
Star
Path (seeking Christ)
Gifts
Light (Jesus brought light to the world)
Camel
3 Wise men
Telescope
Scrolls (birth foretold in Old Testament)


Resources for Games Workshop:

  • The Beginners Bible. Zondervan, 1989.
  • Davidson, Linda S. (editor). Creative Ideas for Epiphany. Educational Ministries, Inc. 1991.

 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2002 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

Regarding this lesson set....

Storytelling Workshop:

I know several people who have used this lesson (I recommend it all the time) - reading the story "Mary's Treasure Box" and having the children create a box of their own - after or during the story.

Left Right Game - I used this for our special Christmas service. I usually hand out treat bags at the end of the service, but the year we did the "Wise Men" rotation I purchased wooden boxes at the dollar store and borrowed wood burning tools and did a Bethlehem scene with the Star on each box lid.

Drew freehand from a coloring picture, but please note, I'm no artist, no two boxes were the same. It took me 20+ minutes per box and I did 25 to 30 boxes.

Wise_Men_Boxes_with_Wood_Burning_done_on_LidsBefore I did the first box I practiced on a scrap piece of wood. It probably took me a good 45 minutes on the first five boxes, but I did get faster as I went. I guess I should be clear, after the doing the first three boxes and looking at the pile yet to be done I thought "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU GOT THIS GREAT IDEA!!!! LOL

I gathered the kids in a circle at the end of the service, handed out the boxes, then did the "Left Right Game". They took home the box they ended up with. Great fun, by the kids, and the congregation couldn't help but laugh as the kids (especially the younger ones) mixed their left and right up constantly. And one little girl was determined to keep the box she first received and so always passed along her neighbour's box, keeping her original box the entire time! 

Boxes contained some candies, including: a star ornament (Wise Men), choc coins (Wise Men's Gifts), and a candy cane (Jesus).

Note:  since making the above boxes I found a stamp called "Three Wisemen Peace" Rubber StampWise Men Stamped Ornament by DRS Design (Google it).  My thought was next time I will have the children decorate their box as creatively as they like, but they can add the stamp of the Wise Men.

I used this same stamp on this wooden hand-made ornament in 2017. My husband cut some birch tree branches and my son cut them into slices and drilled a hole for the ribbon to go. I used a black ink stamp pad and the Three Wisemen Peace Rubber Stamp.

Video Workshop - "The Very First Noel" - Love this movie!

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Originally Posted by CreativeCarol:

If you have found these workshops useful, it would make my day if you let me know about it...



Carol,

I love the interruption/journeying/new room idea. Going to use this as an option for my kindergarten class in the morning, or adapt it for the Prodigal Son, which is next week's lesson. Thanks so much. 

Theresa 

[Sorry, folks -- I don't know how to post this directly with the Storytelling lesson plan for this series of Workshops!]
 
1/28/2015
Carol, thank you so much for sharing the lesson plan! Although the book is out of print, it's now available in a Kindle version, though I was able to get a clean used copy from Amazon.

 

We used this lesson as the first in an "Epiphany" set of workshops:  The Magi, Simeon and Anna, The Baptism of Jesus, and The Miracle at Cana. The kids loved it. One of our families lives in the country and brought in our wool ... unwashed, with the barnyard smell still clinging to it. I had tiny plastic bags for the wool (and frankincense and myrrh) for anyone offended by the smell, but it was a great opportunity to point out to the kids that Jesus was born in a place that smelled *just like this*. Not much left to the imagination!  

Re: Storytelling Workshop above "The Wise Still Seek Him" written by Carol Hulbert uses a lovely, but out of print book called "Mary's Treasure Box".

Update 2015:  

Marys-Treasure-Box

"Mary's Treasure Box" by C.W. Walz (Carolyn), B&H Publishing, 9781433683947 was re-released in 2015, #9781433683947.   
Art work is new, storyline appears to be the same.

Luanne

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