Welcome to the celebration of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, when we introduce the fourth advent card, focusing on the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

There are several themes you may wish to explore during the time in the circle or during the create-a-gift-for-God time. These include:
1. The idea that not only did the poor, uneducated shepherds go to see the baby, but so did the Magi — men so wise that people thought they were magic.
2. The idea of God providing a wild star for the Magi to follow.
3. The significance of the three gifts for Jesus. (You may want to go ahead and share the details normally shared in the Epiphany lesson, since we’ll be focusing on Jesus’s dedication that Sunday- the gold (for a king,) frankincense (used for worship,) and myrrh (burned at funerals.) What is the significance of these three gifts in Jesus’ life?
4. The interaction between the Magi and King Herod.


Ideas to Get Children Thinking About Their Gifts to God
There are several areas of focus for their gift-to-God making:
The Wild Star

1. Make a three dimensional star, as is shown here, by hot gluing sticks together and then wrapping them with wire and beads, here or here (directions included)

2. Make a star out of Popsicle sticks shown here. The children could cover it with sparkly sequins. (There are some on our art cart.) The Kings

3. Make crown ornaments for the tree, as are shown here.  (Directions included.) 4. Make present ornaments by wrapping boxes in wrapping paper, as you talk about the wise men’s gifts.

The Entire Nativity Scene Recreate the manger scene in its entirety as a group project. Help the children choose which figure each one can make and take a photo of them all together.There are lots of ways you can do this…

1. With crushed candy, as with the directions here.

2. With Little Debbie gingerbread men and icing and sprinkles, etc.

3. With clay–either quick dry or modelling clay.

4. With Dixie cups and big wooden beads or polystyrene balls, as is shown here.

5. Paint or use markers on butcher paper, assigning each child a figure to contribute. Or have watercolors available for children to paint their own nativity scene.

For more art response ideas, see my Pinterest page, here.

Wondering Questions:

1. I wonder what is your favorite part of the story.

2. I wonder what the wise men thought when they saw the wild star that didn’t behave as any other star they’d ever known. I wonder what questions they asked themselves about it.

3. The gifts the wise men brought were unusual for a baby. I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought about the gifts. I wonder what questions they asked themselves about the gifts.

4. I wonder what King Herod thought to himself when he heard about the baby from the Magi.

5. I wonder what message God is giving you about yourself through this story.

Merry Christmas to you all!