The Camel’s Chronicle
Matthew 2:1-12 Jeremiah 29:13 Psalm 72:10-11
Although the Wise Men don’t usually feature until Epiphany, we thought we’d stick to our nativity themed advent programme and throw them in a bit early. (We can still have our Epiphany party in January ^^). Last week we saw how God revealed the birth of His son to the shepherds through his messengers; the angels. This week we will look at some other people who were told where to go to find Jesus and look at their journey to find the baby.
Open with the question, what do you think God wants for Christmas? Today we are going to look at some men who traveled a very long way to find Jesus and they brought Him gifts. It is because of them that we give others presents at Christmas.
The reading this week comes from Matthew 2:1-12. For younger children we have this version of the story from the perspective of the camels.
The Camel’s Chronicle
For additional reading you can use Psalm 72:10-11 which speaks of kings bowing before God and presenting him with gifts.
What can we learn from the Wise Men?
The Wise Men wanted to find Jesus and they wanted to find Him quickly. As soon as they saw his star they decided to follow it to Him, despite the long journey ahead of them. They followed the star and when the arrived in the area they thought that he was to be found, they went straight to the king of the area and asked where they could find the baby. We get the sense of urgency in their search.
Are we that urgent in our own search for Jesus? This Advent could we work harder to find Him in our lives?
Think about the things that we make time for in our day, do we put aside enough time for Jesus? The Magi dropped what they were doing and just went out to find him. Have we ever just dropped what we were doing to pray or worship God?
When the Wise Men found Him they were so happy to have found him they all bowed before him and worshipped Him. We’re lucky in that to find Jesus we don’t have to travel great distances, but are we happy to have Him with us?
How often do we just stop and rejoice that we have found Jesus. Maybe this Christmas we should try and make time to just reflect on how happy God’s love makes us.
Now let’s think about our opening question; what does God want for Christmas? The Wise Men brought him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. Frankincense was a costly perfume used in the temples, gold was a gift fit for a king and myrrh was a holy oil used in anointing the body. Not only were these gifts fit to be presented to a king, but they were fit to be given to God. This shows the regard the Wise Men had for Jesus before they had even found Him.
We can’t go to Bethlehem and give God gifts. But if we think about what God would want for Christmas we can see that we can still give Him something. All God wants is our love and obedience. If, this Christmas, we think about God and focus on His message, offering thanks for all our lovely presents, the food that we have and the family we spend it with while remembering those who are less fortunate, we can make God happy.
To add to our nativity scene this week we shall make some wise men. Following the instructions on how to make Mary and Joseph available in Advent 1 simply adapt the design to suit three kings. Instead of using blue and brown paper, use coloured or crepe paper for the clothes and add some shiny crowns!
To remind the children of the lesson today you could make some crowns, for details and templates please see the crafts section of our lesson for Christ the King.
Following the star
You will need:
Dark blue paper or paper painted blue
Black paper or black paints
This is a very simple picture craft, inspired by our Christmas cover picture (which we found on http://designerinpajamas.wordpress.com/), yet the finished result is very impressive. You don’t have to use blue paper, if you are feeling creative or have older children instead of using coloured paper have them paint the paper in whatever bright colours they feel are appropriate (sunset colours are effective).
When the paint has dried (or not if you are using dark paper) it’s time to add the wise men. You can use this as a template:
or if you are feeling brave then you can draw the wise men on, free hand and paint them in black.
Cut out a star shape from the silver paper and stick it down in one of the top corners so it looks as though the wise men are following it.
If you want to add an extra dimension before you start sticking down the wise men and the star, dip a thick paint brush in white paint and using a piece of card flick the paint over the top of the sheet to give the impression of more starts.
Star Tree Decoration
You will need:
Paints or gel pens (optional)
This is another simple craft that will remind the children of the wise men’s journey to follow the star and can also be hung on their Christmas trees at home.
On the card have the children draw out a star shape. Cut out the shape and cover the card in foil.
Glue a loop of string to the top of the star so it can hang on the tree.
Using paint or gel pens (the gel pens work surprisingly well on foil) the children can draw patterns on their star to make it even more sparkly.
Christmas is almost here! This year let’s think about how we can be more like the wise men in our attitude towards Jesus, let’s try and seek him earnestly and worship him joyfully 🙂