- The children come to the front to hear a
reading about the visit of the Magi. Three children are carrying one of
the Magi's gifts each.
discussion leader asks the children questions about the story, to draw
out the differences between popular versions (such as the Epiphany carol
We Three Kings) and the Bible story. For example, how many
visitors were there and what kind of visitors were they?
children holding the gifts are invited to stand in front of the others,
and there is a discussion about each gift and its meaning. The
chocolate coins could be shared out at the end.
children or adults for the reading.
children to be the wise men.
- An adult
to lead the discussion.
- The Bible
reading, either from Matthew 2:1-12 or from a children's
chocolate coins in a treasure box, fancy purse or similar
you could use either incense or incense sticks.
you could use an anointing oil, or simply a small ornamental jar with a
lid to represent the myrrh.
children enjoy dressing up. You could provide cloaks for the
children who are carrying the three gifts. The children might also expect
to wear crowns, which will lead usefully into the discussion.
- Pass out
the reading and the three gifts at the beginning of the
- In the
Bible the visitors are 'magi' rather than kings, and although three gifts
are mentioned we are never told how many visitors there were, much less
their names (as in the carol). "Magi" were wise men who studied
- What did
the wise men's gifts mean? Talk about the value of gold and the
sort of people we might expect to have a lot of it today: the wise men
brought gold for a King.
- Light the
incense or incense sticks so that the children can smell it. What happens
to the smoke? It rises - and when it is used in worship, whether
in ancient times or in churches today, it represents our prayers rising
to God. The wise men brought incense for a Priest.
about the myrrh: in Jesus' time it would have been associated with death
- with younger children you might decide that this is all that you will
say - because of its use as an embalming ointment and as funereal
incense. The wise men brought myrrh for One who would die for
- The wise
men faced hardship and danger in order to worship Jesus. They
showed the sort of determination and wisdom that we all need to follow
Him today. You might also talk about what intelligent, educated men they
would have been. The media can tend to portray religious people as simple
folk who can't think for themselves, and religion itself as an easy
option. But these men were the scientists of their day and they were
prepared to travel a long way and suffer great dangers and hardship for
what they believed. They had sought the evidence for their beliefs, and
now they were prepared to act on them. In many ways they are a model for
- Herod accepted Christ's importance just as
much as the wise men did - but he responded with fear and violence. We
all need to make a choice about what we believe about Jesus - and about
how we will respond.