How many wise men? And other misguided notions…

Happy Advent! This is the perfect season to bring faith conversations to your family, and this blog will help. To ensure you don’t miss a thing (usually only one post a week, on our current story) subscribe over on the right. Enter your e-mail address to have posts sent directly to your inbox.

For family Advent ideas see this post.

When kids experience Workshop Rotation Model Christian education, this means they are learning and having fun at the same time! Scroll down to learn more about the workshops we used for an Advent “Rotation” on the Wise Men.

Wise men on camels ponder a star in the sky

Because Christmas happens once a year, each Advent we focus on a different aspect of the Christmas story. In the past we have covered Jesus’ birth through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah, the birth from his mother’s perspective, from the point of view of the shepherds, and the overall details and sequence of the Christmas story. This December we target the key role of the wise men. Read about our story in Matthew 2:1-12. You may be surprised to discover inaccuracies in some of your long-held views about these travelers!

  • In the Art Workshop students learned about the wise men, the magi, who followed a star to seek Jesus. They created a special star for their tree or their window at home. Also they heard about the church calendar and the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
  • In the Cooking Workshop students used some of their senses to explore the gifts of the wise men. They made no-bake cookies with a special scent and discussed gifts (the kind you can’t buy) that they give to others.
  • In the Video Workshop… one year students watched the animated video, The Very First Noel. They needed to watch carefully. Does the movie stray from the Bible story of the wise men? Do the wise men show up at the correct time? In a different year our older kids watched a presentation on what modern-day astronomers think about the Star of Bethlehem.
  • In the Games Workshop… one year students played games like Concentration and Pictionary to test their knowledge of the details of the story, but then their games were interrupted! They became “refugees” when they were “kicked out” of their workshop room. A reminder that Jesus and his family were refugees (Matthew 2:13-15) and that we are on a journey to seek Jesus.) In a different year our game tested our story knowledge by playing Bible Bowling. Some story facts may surprise you!
  • One year we used a Storytelling Workshop where kids heard and interacted with the book Mary’s Treasure Box. They experience touching and smelling items mentioned from the story. Then they played the “left-right” game to focus on story details. And took home a small box with many of the same elements. They could retell the story!

Why are we doing different workshops for the different times we’ve taught this story? There are several reasons including:

  • We used the Rotation Model for a lot of years! Stories repeated every six years.
  • Our focus for a Rotation changed (we’ve gained new understanding!)
  • We know our kids. We know what will, and won’t work with them.
  • We’ve got a new idea! Usually something we gained from!

Explore more about Rotation Model goodness! Where many of the lessons described above can be found in the entirety.

Photo credits:
“A Star in the East” by W. L. Taylor, 1900. in the Public Domain.

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