The magi responded to the birth of Jesus by finding him, worshipping him and bringing him gifts. They understood that Jesus was not just any king; he was the fulfillment of God’s promise! When they gave him gifts, it was a way of honoring him for being the king who would make a way for all the world to come to God. When we give gifts to others it’s an opportunity to express the love of Jesus to the person we’re giving a gift to. It’s also a way of celebrating our love for Jesus! As part of this lesson we’ll be packing Restart Kits for refugees who are being settled in the city of Portland.
“Freely you have received; freely give.”
– Matthew 10.8b (NIV)
Lesson Intro (Christmas gifts)
Ask the kids what they’re looking forward to most about Christmas. Some of them are bound to respond that they’re looking forward to receiving presents. Many of the kids might even be thinking of specific things that they are hoping to get. Use that idea to explain to them that the Jewish people had been waiting for years and years for a new king who would set them free. The whole Old Testament is full of stories that point to the promise of Jesus. When Jesus was born it was like a gift that the whole world had been waiting for for a very long time! That makes it even more exciting!
Props you may want to use: Consider using 3 small boxes wrapped as Christmas gifts, you could also use a map and telescope.
Tell the story from Matthew 2.1-12, but omit the part about the killing of the babies, especially for the smaller children. Also, consider that Jesus may have already been a toddler at the time that the wise men came. Don’t spend too long on the story because we have to leave enough time for the kids to pack their refugee gift boxes.
Your story could go something like this:
Remember that Jesus was born in Bethlehem? Well, after Jesus was born, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. The wise men asked, “Where is the child who has been born to be king of the Jews? When we were back home in the east, we saw his star! Now we have come to worship him.”
But when King Herod heard about it, he was very upset. He didn’t like that there was another king born. So Herod called together all the people who knew the most about the Scriptures and he asked them where the new king was going to be born.
They told him that it is written by the prophet Micah that he would be born in Bethlehem. Those writings are still part of our Bible and we can read it for ourselves! It says:
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are certainly not the least important among the towns of Judah.
A ruler will come out of you.
He will be the shepherd of my people Israel.” —(Micah 5:2)
So, what do you think Herod did? He secretly called the wise men and he tried to trick them! He sent them to Bethlehem saying, “Go and look for the new little king! As soon as you find him, let me know. Then I can go and worship him too.” Do you think he really wanted to worship Jesus? No! He was lying to the Wise Men because he wanted to get rid of Jesus.
So the Wise Men went on their way and the star that they saw went ahead of them. It finally stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were so happy!
The Wise Men went to where the star showed them. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened the treasures that they had brought with them. They gave Jesus gold, incense and myrrh. Those are all really expensive gifts that are fit for a king!
So, what do you think happened about the evil king Herod? Well, God warned the Wise Men in a dream not to go back to Herod. When they realized that Herod was trying to trick them they returned to their country on a different road. God also spoke to Joseph in a dream and warned them about Herod’s evil plan, so Joseph took Mary and little Jesus and they went to live in Egypt so that Jesus would be safe!
What can we learn from this story? The wise men responded to the birth of Jesus by finding him, worshipping him and bringing him gifts. They understood that Jesus was not just any king; he was the fulfillment of God’s promise! Jesus says that he’s with us, which means that you guys can turn to him and worship him at any time!
When the wise men gave Jesus gifts, it was their way of saying that he is a very special king who would make a way for all the world to come to God. Many people believe that the gifts that the Wise Men gave made it possible for Jesus’ family to start a new life in Egypt, because they probably didn’t have a lot of money. God looked after Jesus and his family through the generosity of the Wise Men.
When we give gifts to others it’s an opportunity for us to express our love for Jesus and for others. God can also use our gifts to look after others.
Today we’re going to put together gifts for refugees who have come to live right here in our city. These are people who have had to flee their countries to find a safe place just like Jesus family did when they went to Egypt. Many of them have gone through difficulties, which makes God sad, because he loves them. We want to welcome them to Portland by helping them with some of the things that they really need!
Prayer: Thank God for the gift of his Son Jesus who came to fulfill God’s promise. Pray for the refugees who will be touched by the gifts that we’re putting together and that showing God’s love would come naturally to the children.
- Where did the wise men come from?
- How did they know that Jesus was the Messiah?
- Why did they give Jesus gifts?
- Can we give Jesus gifts today?
Packing Refugee Restart Kits
Supplies: Provided (Parents have signed up to bring the supplies).
What to do: Line all the supplies up, either in stacks on the floor, or on a long table. Divide the kids into two’s and give each pair a box with an instruction sheet. The instruction sheet will tell them what needs to go into the box. At the end they will have the opportunity to write a simple welcome note to go in the box.
The boxes will be distributed by Refugee Care Collective.