Resources - Wisemen give gifts

FCC at Worship

This page has some general concepts that you may find useful, and the very limited copyright issues, which are towards the bottom of that page.

We used the story of the Wise men giving gifts to talk a bit about how amazing Jesus was and still is. 

Download all the pictures including those that I used in the first session.   I used the three similar pictures as key pictures to focus each session.  If you use a projector, they can be projected at the start to remind people what is to be talked about.  If you do not use a projector, perhaps pin them up so all can see.

There were three short sessions.

The reading we used for each session was very short and simple: 

Matthew 2:1-2 & 11

Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem. Soon after Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came looking for Jesus.  The wise men had followed a star to the house where the child Jesus was. The wise men bowed down and worshiped Jesus. The wise men gave Jesus treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

1.  Gift of Gold

We did a simple drama. You will need:

  • A willing volunteer who can cope with what is done to them!
  • A chair made to look a bit like a throne.  Keep it simple!
  • A crown.
  • A royal robe, or suitable clothing that looks regal.
  • A picture of a car, or a toy car big enough to be seen by the others.
  • Some money. We used cloth bags with stones in that jingled like money, and a wallet stuffed with paper to look like money. The point is to have lots of it!
  • A picture of a palace, or a large toy palace.

The talk I did is here, along with instructions for the drama (PDF)

2.  Gift of Frankincense

This can be difficult, as you could tackle Frankincense as Jesus being worthy of worship and praise, or that Jesus is our high Priest, or both! The subject of Jesus being our high priest, is not too easy for us to grasp, but we gave it a go. This is how we did it. I am sure that theologians among you will be able to pick holes in this, but it did work in explaining how we have free access to talk / pray to God.

One of the gifts that Jesus was given frankincense.

Frankincense is the sap of a tree that grows in the Middle east and also Africa. The sap dries to little granules, hard little bits. Frankincense was very expensive. It cost more than gold. It has wonderful smell when burnt. In the Bible times the frankincense was burnt to give off a smoke or incense. This incense was used in the temple – the church building of the time. Only the priests were allowed to burn it.

(If you can, buy some Frankincense, out some on a paper towel, pass it round, and let people smell it. Or you could set up a simple burner, and let the smell permeate the room, but some folk might find that too much of a good thing!)

So in giving Jesus frankincense, the wise-men were saying Jesus was and is a priest. Jesus is also someone to praise an worship

So who were priests in Bible times.

  • Men who worked in a special church building called the temple.
  • Priests were from a special family called Levites.
  • Priests had to wear special clothes.
  • Priests had rules about when and what they could do.
  • Only special a priest – the High Priest - could go right into God’s presence.
  • That special priest could only go into God’s presence once a year!

For all the people there were lots and lots of rules about how and when you worshiped God.

The priests were the people who acted for you. It was a bit like this….

You will need:

  • Some volunteers.  They need to be mobile in some way.
  • Some clothing or something to indicate that one volunteer is pretending to be God.
  • Some clothing or something to indicate that one volunteer is pretending to be an old fashioned priest.
  • Some simple items of clothing  like a hat, or scarf or coat to differentiate the other volunteers as needed.
  • Some cards with prayers and answers on them.  We put prayers on one colour, and answers on another.

Examples of prayer cards:

  • Thank you for my food.    Answer card:  God provides your needs.
  • Thank you for my carers.    Answer card:  God does bless you.
  • I am sorry for doing wrong things.    Answer card:  God forgives you.
  • Please  help me to know what to do.     Answer card:  God helps you to know what to do.
  • Help me to know what is right.     Answer card:  God will teach you.

If you want to continue the Old Testament priestly activities a bit more accurately, you would need to have these prayers either instead of or in addition to:

  1. Thank you for my new baby.  (Parents were to offer thanks to the priest).  No answer card here. 
  2. Please help me to know what to do.  (This is a refernce to the Urim and Thummin)      Answer card:  God helps you to know what to do.
  3. I am sorry for doing wrong things.     Answer card:  God forgives you.
  4. Plus some from above

I take the view that keep it simple is vital.  So use the first list, or any other contemporary prayers that your group would understand.  You might even ask your group for prayer and praise ideas.

The drama

Explain what you are going to do.

Place "God, or Jesus" at one end of the room, and give the "Answer cards" to him.  Place the Priest at the other.  Give your five (or more) volunteers one of the prayer cards.

In turn, each volunteer lets the group know what their prayer is, and they take it to the priest and waits.  The priest then takes the prayer card to "God or Jesus" and brings back the reply card to the person praying.  That person reads out the answer, and then goes back to their seats.  You repeat this with all the prayers.

Make the point over and over that the person praying cannot talk directly to God. They needed to go to the priest first. 

Now talk about when Jesus came and died for us, Jesus became our High Priest.  We can now go straight to Jesus and talk / pray to Him. Explain how amazing this is.  The God who made everything, and is so big and great, wants us to talk to Him!

We replicated the drama, and simply missed out the priest.  (If you have a lot of prayer cards, you might use a different set). The people praying walked straight to "God" and were given the answer.

So now .....

  • Jesus is God so as our High Priest we can go straight to Him.
  • We can talk to Jesus any where and any time.
  • We don’t have to be a man.
  • We don’t have to be from a special family.
  • We don’t have to wear special clothes.
  • We don’t have to be in a special place or time.
  • We can talk to Jesus any where and any time.
  • We can know Jesus for ourselves if we choose to.

You might then end with a time of prayer, and thank God that we can talk to Him directly. 

 

3.  Gift of Myrrh

There is a simple PowerPoint here for you to base your talk on.    Download Microsoft PowerPoint (ppt)  or  Download LibreOffice Impress (odp)

Slide 1 - A bit of a recap to remind people of what went before

Slide 2 - Explain that Myrrh comes from the sap of a tree.

Slide 3 - Explain that once the sap is collected, it is dried into these large crystal lumps

Slide 4 - Talk about how very expensive Myrrh is.  At the time of writing this, weight for weight, Myrrh was twice as expensive as Gold!  Talk about how Myrrh is often added to an oil, perhaps olive oil.

Slide 5 - Some of the uses for Myrrh are as a sedative, and for pain killing.  This was offered to Jesus on the cross, but He refused it, as He wanted to make sure that He was a complete sacrifice, and did not dodge the pain.

Slide 6 - Myrrh was also used to embalm bodies.  To stop the smell, and to preserve them.  Either now or later, we had a volunteer, allow themselves to be wrapped up in toilet paper - or use something less friable(!) - to demonstrate what this meant.  Once wrapped, we sprayed them carefully with a deodorant to complete the illusion!  If you have the time and helpers, it is much more fun to help everyone to be wrapped up if they want to!

Slide 7 -  Myrrh was used in death.  When Jesus died, it is likely that He was wrapped up and Myrrh was used. 

Slide 8 - But don't forget to remind the group that Jesus did not stay dead.  He came back to life!