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Video and A-V Lessons, ideas, and resources for teaching the story of the Magi, Matthew 2:1-12

Post your Sunday School video, A-V lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the story of the Wise men, Magi, Three Kings here. addition to all of our public lesson ideas, the Writing Team has written a wonderful Magi lesson set that includes a detailed lesson plan Supporting Members can teach using several FREE videos available online (including our unique Magi-Moana mash-up!).

Need help streaming videos in your classroom? Take a look at our article: How to show cellphone photos, videos, and websites on a laptop or TV.

Originally posted by Member Neil MacQueen

Two Great Magi Story DVD's: "The Fourth Wiseman" (live actor version)

2. "The Other Wiseman" (Animated Version)

Both of these popular videos retell the story of "The Other Wiseman"  --the one who tried and failed to catch up to the other three because people in need kept crossing his path. The videos are based on the famous story by the Rev. Henry Van Dyke. Van Dyke was a famous Presbyterian preacher and professor at Princeton at the turn of the 20th century. Published in 1898, the story was originally called "The Story of the Other Wiseman." Wiki

1. DVD - "The Fourth Wiseman" - This *live action* version of the Van Dyke's "Other Wiseman" story was done in a 'live' version starring Alan Arkin and Martin Sheen. The "Fourth" live version is about 55 minutes long. The live version is much preferred if you have the time, and is readily available from various Christian video outlets.

There's a low-res full-length preview of it posted on Youtube. We've linked to it here:

2. DVD -"The Other Wiseman" (Animated)- Many of you have been looking for the shorter animated version of Henry Van Dyke's story of "The Other Wiseman" and it looks to have gone out of print. However, we found it posted on YouTube at

The animated "Other Wiseman" video was produced by Bonneville Communications, a branch of the LDS Church, but does not proselytize. Van Dyke was a Presbyterian minister.

You can download a free 'ripping' tool to copy the video from youtube to your computer and bring to church for viewing if you don't have internet access in your classroom. Google for such a tool. (You may also find this video in a Christian resource library.) Or take a look at our article: How to show cellphone photos, videos, and websites on a laptop or TV.

The Youtube video quality is pretty good full screen.

<>< Neil


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Last edited by Amy Crane
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Jesus...A Kingdom Without Frontiers #3: King Herod and the Wise Men.

In "King Herod and the Wise Men", a spiteful King Herod calls for the murder of the innocent children of Bethlehem, as the Holy Family escapes into Egypt, under God's watchful eye. (30 min)

I have not seen this video myself so I can't comment on it. Just wanted you to be aware of it.

Volunteer Moderator comment:  this is from an older animated video released currently under  another series title - see here at for details and reviews of this series.

This series has since been posted on YouTube by Mondo World

Last edited by Luanne Payne

DVD:  "The Star of Bethlehem"

Just thought I'd share what I ended up using for video for our rotation on the Wise Men. (I really wanted to find a video called "Star of Bethlehem: A Mystery Revealed with Jack Horkheimer." I had it on order but didn't find out until too late that it was out of stock. I couldn't find it anywhere, new or used at the time that I needed it.

So I ended up changing the workshop and for 6th grade I had someone download to a laptop (somehow, don't ask me how) the video (an animated slideshow "star.swf") that can be seen at the website for the Griffith Observatory. With a borrowed projector it was then shown on a wall (we are real low-tech here!) Unfortunately the material at the web site was over the heads of all but the 6th graders. They did enjoy it though, and it sparked lots of questions.

There is also an excellent summary of the history and astronomy on the star of Bethlehem at:

Editor's note: see another person's thoughts on teaching a lesson centered on the science around the star of Bethlehem here.

Last edited by Amy Crane

DVD - "Jacob's Gift"

Shared by member Cindy LB

We used the movie, Jacob's Gift yesterday at church and the kids loved it. They were riveted to their seats. It's live action, not animation, and is based on Max Lucado's book by the same name.

Jacob's Gift, Published by Thomas Nelson. 30 minutes.

Volunteer Moderator Adds (Nov. 2013): You can only buy this DVD now online in a DVD box-set entitled "A Max Lucado Children's Treasury", by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2007, 9781400311699.  The set includes 3 slipcased DVDs: "Alabaster's Song," "The Crippled Lamb," and "Jacob's Gift."

2023 update: a few copies of the video (used) are available online.

Last edited by Amy Crane

2 Good DVDs

The Very First Noel DVD, Provident Music, 2007. Animated, 23 minutes.

God Tube - Trailer - see preview & details.
Join the three wise men on the journey of a lifetime as they follow a magnificent star in search of the newborn King!

Features Andy Griffith as the voice of Melchior, he narrates story in a poetic prose style. 

I loved the music in this done by a group from Hawaii and you'll never tire of listening to it!  Lesson using it by member CreativeCarol here.

The Fourth King DVD by Ted Sieger, Animated, Thomas Nelson, 2008.

From the Publisher: A kindhearted king plays a bigger role in the Nativity than he realizes in this ode to unsung heroes everywhere. Once upon a time, three kings came out of a distant land and followed a star across the desert. You may know them as the Wise Men, or perhaps the magi-bearers of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for a newborn child. What few know is that another king set out on the long and difficult journey, a king named Mazzel who, unlike the well-sung trio, arrived too late and empty-handed. First there was the frightened nomad girl who needed rescuing from a sandstorm, then the lost merchant caravan in need of a guide, and more crises along the route. What was Mazzel to do? Based on the short story "The Other Wise Man" by Henry Van Dyke.  Review

The Fourth King

Also matching Hard Cover book The Fourth King by Ted Sieger, Candlewick Press, 2006, 0763631213. OUT OF PRINT, but copies still can be found online. 


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  • The Fourth King
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Wise men

VeggieTales Video Workshop

Veggie.Tales.Toy.Saved.ChristmasSummary of Lesson Activities:

Uses the DVD The Toy That Saved Christmas (Veggie Tales).

Scripture Reference:

Matthew 2

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture
  • Watch the Video ahead of time
  • Gather the materials

Materials List:

  • TV/DVD player
  • The Toy That Saved Christmas (Veggie Tales).
  • Popcorn

Advanced Preparation Requirements:

  • Preview the DVD and have it ready to play
  • Make the popcorn or a special holiday treat


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Read the Scripture and discuss the following:

  • Christmas is the day of the year that we remember and celebrate God’s giving his Son, Jesus, to the world.
  • The wise men responded wisely, giving worship to Jesus and giving gifts (gold, etc.) to Jesus’ family.
  • Herod responded cruelly. He gave no worship, and he tried to get more power and influence for himself.

Video presentation:

Show the VeggieTales Video The Toy That Saved Christmas.

Discuss the following:

  • Mr. Nezzar’s TV commercial gave what message about Christmas?
    Answer: The (incorrect) meaning of Christmas is "getting more and more toys!"
  • What did Mr. Nezzar tell his assistant about the meaning of Christmas?
    Answer: The (again incorrect) meaning of Christmas is "making more and more money!"
  • What did Grandpa tell Louie and the others about the true meaning of Christmas?
    Answer: The meaning of Christmas is that God gave his only Son, Jesus, to the world.
  • How did the parents discipline Mr. Nezzar?
    Answer: They gave him a gift—a teddy bear!
  • How were Mr. Nezzar in the video and Herod in the Bible alike?
    Answer: Both tried to get more and more—more money, more power—because of Jesus’ birth.
  • Discuss how faithful responses to God’s gift of baby Jesus are giving God worship, being thankful for Jesus, giving the best that we have to Jesus, and giving gifts to others in Jesus’ name.


  • Summarize discussion and what children have learned.
  • Go over the memory verses again.
  • Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite their friends.
  • Offer an age-appropriate prayer and/or involve children in the prayer.

A lesson written for Wilson Chapel UMC, Birmingham, IL

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


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  • Veggie.Tales.Toy.Saved.Christmas
Last edited by Amy Crane

DVD:  "The Story of Advent"

From: Speed Sketch Bible Stories Series, Wesleyan Publishing House, 2014, DVD,

There are four narrated story "speed sketches" on this DVD. (Speed sketches are "video-accelerated illustrations.") The four stories include The magi in search of peace (Matt. 2:1-12).

See this post and the review post that follows it for more details.

Here is a direct link to the Dropbox file for the Magi video from Wesleyan Publishers.

Last edited by Amy Crane

Star of Wonder Video, Discussion Starter

This free video from St Paul's Arts and Media is too fun not to share! Star of Wonder

Enjoy everyone's reaction when the Star appears.    It is a fun surprise. I think this would be a good starter of conversation for classes of any age.

"Made for Alt Carols by St Paul's Church, Auckland, New Zealand.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

I created the following "Mash Up" video, "Moana and the Magi Know the Way,"and posted it to YouTube as part of a lesson plan comparing and contrasting the two journeys: the Magi and Moana's.  The clip combines (mashes together) scenes from Life of Christ movie's Magi story and the "We Know the Way" song and scene from Disney's "Moana."  The Mash-up is one of two videos I include in the lesson plan -which I wrote for the Writing Team (see more below).

If you don't know the story of Moana, or don't have kids or grandkids who have watched it a thousand times  then you'll probably wonder why Moana and the Magi?  Once you see the movie with comparing eyes, however, you'll see the opportunity to talk about the journey that both the Magi and Moana were on, and what they found. 

The above scene mixes Moana's vision of Polynesian explorers (her people) undertaking a dangerous journey (and one which her father was afraid she'd make) -with scenes of the Magi doing the same. The lesson plan wraps context and additional story around it. The songwriter and singer is Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame.

Yes, I wrote the complete lesson plan for the Writing Team's MAGI Video Workshop. But in fairness to them, I can't detail that lesson plan here. But maybe you can figure it out on your own.    If not, see the lesson plan in the Writing Team's Moana~Magi lesson set.

 Hint:  The lesson plan walks teachers and kids through the Moana~Magi Mashup video (seen above and posted to YouTube), and a second video clip from the movie of Moana's song "How Far I'll Go."  Lots of comparing and contrasting and LIFE APPLICATION. That lesson plan includes a handout of the song lyrics for discussion purposes, a translation of the Polynesian lyrics heard in the song, and a song game reflection.

Using scenes from secular movies to compare and contrast with a Bible story or biblical teaching has a LONG HISTORY in creative Sunday School and youth group circles. Indeed, many teachers can't help but watch popular kids' movies without seeing their comparing potential! 

Moana (Disney, 2016) is considered one of Disney's best stories, best animated films, and best music. Indeed, the song in this Mashup, and all the other songs in the movie, were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of today's most popular Broadway singers and songwriters and author of HAMILTON. It's his lead singing you hear in the "We Know the Way" song on the Mashup.

Moana is a beautifully animated, entertaining, musically powerful, and thematically uplifting movie for all ages. 

How was I able to use two copyrighted videos to create my own?
Under the US Copyright Law's Fair Use statute, a person can create "mashups" (creative edits) of existing media for teaching purposes or personal purposes provided my version does not harm the copyright holder. As well, YouTube provides a standard license to uploaded content such as mashups --provided that the copyright holder does not object. Most choose not to. Why? Because YT uses digital analysis of all music uploaded to its service to notify and allow the song/video owners to profit from the ads that YT shows during playback. Additionally, my lesson plan requires the purchase or ownership of the Moana video (from which edits are permissible and showable for teaching purposes). As well, the Life of Christ movie is freely distributed online and used here for its intended purpose. I recommend you buy a copy of Moana --if for no one else but yourself. 

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

I added the new lyrics to the mashup video "Moana and the Magi Know the Way" Neil posted above so that the entire class can sing it together.  The new lyrics are based on the lyric-creating activity and Bible study comparing the two kinds of explorers in the Writing Team's "The Magi" Video lesson (which is only open to supporting members).


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Moana mashup with lyrics
Last edited by Luanne Payne

This video contains and online Sunday School Lesson for Epiphany and a short animated version of the story.

Bible images copyright Kirsty McAllister from Lamp Bible Pictures used with permission:

Music is licensed by Digital Juice.

Don't miss member Cat Blue's detailed lesson plan for an art/video/science discussion workshop that includes detailed notes for watching part of the feature-length video The Nativity Story.

Her workshop can easily be adapted to just focus on the video and discussion without the art project. Here is an excerpt of her video timing notes; see the lesson plan for introduction and other lesson elements:

Show The Movie Clips

The.Nativity.Story.videoThe Nativity Story is a movie that was made in 2006.  It's a pretty accurate depiction of the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus in the time period.  There are several scenes of the Wise Men in this story.  We are going to watch some of them.

Viewing Outline: The Nativity Story movie (Wise men sections) approx. 13 mins.:

  • 15:10-16:16  Wise men receive the scriptural prophecy and discuss it
  • 27:03- 28:14  Wise men look at the stars in the mirror of water.  They discuss the convergence of Jupiter (the father planet), Venus (the mother planet) and a star called "Sharuh"--a Babylonian name meaning "King"
  • 30:29-  32:31  planning the journey, going over the map
  • 40:06-41:08  Journey across the desert
  • 49:36-50:04 Across the desert with voice-over of prophecy
  • 1:03:52-1:04:27  Taking measurements of the stars
  • 1:14:27-1:16:00  Arriving in Jerusalem, meeting with Herod
  • 1:18:10 -1:18:37 The stars converge
  • 1:21:07-1:21:24  Watching the star
  • 1:25:34-1:29:45 Arriving in Bethlehem and leaving

Movie Discussion:

Have the students tell you what they noticed about the Wise Men and their journey. Some points to mention:

  • The instruments they used (the triangle and the pendulum)
  • The way they looked at the stars by using a pool of water as a mirror.
  • The numbers of camels and other people in their caravan--it was not just the 3 men
  • They way the movie shows the planets aligning --going from 3 into one super bright constellation
  • Their race and ethnicity


Images (1)

This is a short activity video that has invites kids to look and listen closely and then guess the object that is related to the story of the journey of the Magi. It works well with younger kids and can be a great little "extra". Enjoy!

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