Epiphany is 6th January

Theme: ‘Gifts’

Reading

Matthew chapter 2 verses 1-12

PREPARATION

If you still have them available, bring out again the gifts of the Magi which were used in the school’s nativity play. If you have a nativity set on display, this should be left out until after the Epiphany assembly. You may wish to reprise part of your nativity play from last term.

You could use an incense stick, or similar, to create a strong perfume in the assembly hall – if you have something which is described as frankincense or myrrh, that would be even more evocative of the story.

You may like to sing one of the traditional carols about the Magi as your hymn.

INTRODUCTION

One of the first questions you ask your friends at the beginning of the Spring Term is always “What did you get for Christmas?”, so let’s take this opportunity to share some news about our favourite presents this Christmas.

Did anyone get a present which is something to do with what they might like to be or do when they grow up e.g. building blocks, a football, a make-up kit, a doctor’s outfit, computer games?

THE MESSAGE

If you were looking for presents for a toddler or a new baby, what would you get? (Are there any young babies amongst your school families? You could ask what they were given.)

The story we are remembering today is about the kind of presents the young child Jesus got from some rather special visitors, the presents were not very good presents for a young baby; they were all to do about what he was like, and what he would be when he grew up. Often we tell this story as part of the Christmas story, and act it out in a nativity play, but really this story takes place a few months after Jesus was born.

Tell the story of the visit of the Magi to Jesus – no doubt the children will be able to assist you with this, you might even like to replay the appropriate part of last term’s nativity play.

The three gifts were all gifts with messages:

  • The precious gold tells us how Jesus is like a king, and Christians believe he is King of the World
  • The expensive frankincense was used for worshipping God in temples, and it reminds us that Jesus is the Son of God
  • The myrrh is a perfume with a very strong smell and was used for burying with dead bodies to cover over their smell. It was a clue about how Jesus was going to die, and how important his death and resurrection would be to believers.

These three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh are probably the most famous presents of all time. The presents we had at Christmas may not have been quite so amazing or famous, but we have a lot to be thankful for, not just the material things but also the love of our families, health etc (you may like to collect other suggestions from the children here). For millions of people throughout the world though, their very best present will have been the coming of Jesus into the world, just like a present from God.

PRAYER

A prayer of thanks for the many different “gifts” we receive in our lives, and for the ultimate gift of Christ.

Taking the theme further this week you could:

  • Look at stories of precious things and gifts e.g: .the story of the pearl of great price Mtt 13.45f; the poor widow Lk 21. 1-4; the parable of the rich fool Lk 12.13-21;