Current Assemblies
EPIPHANY

By Kate Fleming


Suitable for Whole School


Aim

To tell the story of the Wise Visitors to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2.1-12). To explore the notion of finding God, transforming everyday events into something special.


Preparation and materials

  • You will need to know your 'script' so that you can direct the action of the story. The children involved will be responding to your instructions - they do not need to prepare in advance. The Head or other member of staff is required to play Herod.
  • You will need three cardboard crowns and gifts - either richly decorated boxes for the traditional gifts, or boxes covered with white paper representing up-to-date gifts (see 2. below).

Assembly
  1. Ask if anyone can tell you anything about the story in the Bible when some Wise Visitors (Wise Men, or Kings) came from the East to visit the baby Jesus. Collect together the children's ideas and make the point that the Bible does not say how many of these Wise Visitors there were, but it is a tradition to say that there were three. Ask for three volunteers to play the parts of the visitors. Give them each a crown.

  2. Talk about the gifts they brought. The Bible tells us that these were expensive and valuable items of the time. Gold - a precious metal; frankincense and myrrh - expensive perfumes and ointments. Show the decorated boxes to represent each gift.

    Alternatively, ask the children what three gifts might be given today - valuable and important things from our time. Perhaps gold, maybe a Playstation, a collection of books? If you take this option, use boxes covered with white paper to represent the gifts and write or draw the articles on them. Ask for three volunteers to be servants and give each a gift to carry.

  3. Now tell the story based on Matthew 2.1-12, with the children miming the actions as you speak. Start with the Wise Ones looking up at the sky and the servants asleep on the ground.

    The Wise Ones see a special star in the sky (Wise Ones look up and point). They talk together about what this might mean (they huddle).

    They decide that they must go on a journey to greet a great new King. So they wake their servants, collect together provisions for a long journey and set off (they mime preparations).

    It is a very long way. (Lead the party around the hall, adding the following at various points) Sometimes they were freezing cold (all mime shivering). Sometimes it was very hot (all mime walking in great heat). They are very tired and long to stop (mime tiredness), but the star keeps leading them onwards (Wise Ones point to star and urge party to keep moving).

    As they come near to their journey's end, King Herod gets to hear of them and summons them to him (Herod beckons them over. Servants hold back, Wise Ones bow to Herod).

    Herod is very interested in this talk of a new King. Perhaps the travellers would be good enough to call back when they have found him so that Herod can worship him too (Wise Ones and Herod mime regal conversation).


  4. Stop the narrative and discuss with all the children what they think Herod may have been thinking about. Draw out the idea that he really wants to do away with this new King, who he sees as an enemy, or rival.

  5. Continue the story:

    At last the wandering star leads them all to the place where the new King is. The Wise Ones go in and kneel before the baby (Wise Ones kneel), while the servants peep in from outside (servants peep and try to see). The Wise Ones give their gifts to the baby's mother (Wise Ones put down gifts).


  6. Does anyone know who the baby was that they saw? Explain that this was Jesus, who would grow up to be a very different kind of King from King Herod.

  7. Continue the story:

    Finally, after their long journey and exciting day, the Wise Ones go to sleep (all lie down on the floor). As they sleep, they have a dream. In the dream God tells them not to go back to Herod, but to go home a different way.

    The next morning, they quickly get up, pack their bags and set off for home (mime packing and starting journey) but by a different road (guide them on a different route around the hall back to their starting point).

    Herod is very cross indeed when he realizes that he's been tricked (Herod stands up and walks out angrily).


  8. Ask the mimers to sit down and explain that the Wise Ones found something very special at the end of their long journey, and we're going to think about that now.

Time for reflection

The Wise Ones went on a long journey to find a special person.
Think about the special people in your life.
Who is really special to you?

Herod was jealous of the new baby.
He lied to the Wise Ones, pretending that he wanted to worship Jesus.
Think about what makes you jealous.
Are there things that other people have that you wish were yours?
Do you ever tell lies to get your own way?
The Wise Ones found what they were looking for, by following a star.
Think about what you would like to do today.
How will you make it happen?

Song

'Travel on' (Come and Praise, 42)

This assembly was originally posted in January 2000.

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