Subject: Infancy Narratives
Title: Adoration of the Magi
Sources: Mt 2:1-12
MM p 79-98;
The Christmas Sky by Franklyn Branley (good source for historical background),
SPSA May 2007
Liturgical Time: Christmas
1. Jesus is for all people – not just for the people of Israel.
2. Even the cosmos participated in announcing Jesus’ birth.
3. The magi brought gifts of great wealth and significance to Jesus: gold acknowledges his kingship; frankincense
his deity, and myrrh his humanity
4. The commitment of the magi to follow the great light offers a model response for all who desire the
fullness of God’s life.
1. .4+ - to explore the meaning of the gifts given to Jesus
2. .6+ - to compare and contrast the 2 models of kingship given in
the narrative (boys like to do this), and to explore the cosmic dimension of Jesus’ birth
1. To lift up the cosmic nature of Jesus’ birth (stars moved, kings from afar came).
2. To foster an attitude of homage toward Jesus.
3. To nurture prayer language.
4. To enhance participation in liturgy.
5. To nurture wonder and awe.
6. To lift up dreams as one way for God to communicate.
7. To prepare for later infancy narratives.
8. To emphasize the use of signs.
9. To introduce the characters and the events in the Gospel account/narrative/story of Jesus’ coming
into the world.
10. To emphasize places important to Jesus’ life.
11. To announce Jesus as the Savior and Messiah promised by the prophets.
12. To nurture a sense of trust in God.
13. To proclaim the joy in God’s work of the incarnation.
14. To continue the meditation begun in the prophecies on the slow, hidden way God brings great things to pass.
Mat, near the geography area for easy reference
candle, snuffer, tray for spent matches
Scripture booklet: “Adoration of
the Magi,” with white cover
small figures of Mary & Joseph & Jesus,
small figures of magi, figures are 3-dimensional, about 4-5-1/2 “ tall (magi should be able to hold gifts); small “gifts”
to symbolize gold, frankincense and myrrh – a treasure chest, lovely little urns, etc.
a box or basket to hold the figurines
tracing packet with white cover
Gather children around mat in the atrium with the Land
of Israel Topographical Map set-up nearby. Set up basket with figures of Mary, Joseph, Jesus and 3 Magi nearby.
“We are now in Christmastime. We celebrated
Christmas in Church. Did you know we are still celebrating Christmas? Christmas is not just one day. It is such a big celebration
that we celebrate it for several weeks.”
Let’s talk about when Jesus was born. Does
anyone remember the town where Jesus was born? What was it called? (Discuss with children).
Was it a very big place? (Discuss
with children.) Was Jesus born in a hospital?
(Discuss with children.) Did
he have any visitors? Who came? (Discuss with children. Three rich men, shepherds,
The shepherds searched for Jesus and they found him.
Any they went away praising and glorifying God.
The rich men came. They were people from far
away to the east (show on map). They
were very learned. That means the studied a lot.
And one of the things they studied was the stars. When they saw a new
star in the sky they understood that to mean that a new king was born. Even though
they didn’t know about the promise of the light, they started to follow the star and to meet the newborn king. They travelled from far away to see Jesus.
Solemn Reading of Scripture
with Lit Candle
Light candle. Take scripture Booklet. Read scripture story of the Adoration of the Wise Men.
What did you hear in this scripture? What did
the magi do? (Discuss with children.)
Who were they hoping to find?
They went to Jerusalem and
asked there. The scripture said King Herod was perturbed – very upset by
this. He asked all the scribes and priests where the Christ was to be born, and
they told him Bethlehem.
Herod sent the Magi there and told them to come back and tell him when
they found the child, so he could give him homage too.
They continued onto Bethlehem
– followed star – and found Jesus.
They brought Jesus gifts – how many? What
were the gifts? (Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh)
What do you think when you think of gold?
(gift for kings)
Frankincense is a kind of incense, burned where God is.
We can wonder by they brought frankincense.
Myrrh is used to anoint the body of a person who has died.
We can wonder why they brought myrrh to a baby.
Second Reading with Materials
Put out house/stable on mat. “We can think of this as the house where
Put out Mary, Joseph, Jesus on mat.
Put out three magi on mat at a distance from the house.
Put the gifts in their hands.
Show the map at the beginning of the scripture booklet,
trace the path the magi might have taken.
Re-read scripture booklet, “The Adoration of the
Magi.” Move figures when appropriate.
Dialogue with children some more about the Scripture.
We heard that the sight of the star filled the magi with delight. How much did they want to go see Jesus?
Have you heard of baby gifts like the ones they gave to Jesus?
We can wonder what those gifts tell us about Jesus.
The people who had the most gold were kings. I
wonder why they gave gold to Jesus.
We can wonder how they knew Jesus was a king.
I wonder what it was like for Mary to receive baby gifts like these for her child. We can wonder what she understood about these gifts.
For older children (age 5-6)
What gift would you bring to Jesus?
Compare models of kingship (Herod to Jesus)
Compare models of homage (magi to Herod) – who is
really a king?
Inviting / Welcoming a Response
“Is there anything that you would like to say or sing to celebrate that joy?”
Invite the children to sing “Star of Wonder,” “King of Kings,” or
other Epiphany Songs
Restoration of the Materials
Show children how to put figures away in basket, and where they belong on shelf, and roll
“This is your work now, you can use these figures anytime you like.”
Imaginative work with the figures.
Original artwork. Catechist might suggest drawing
the gifts child might choose to bring to Jesus
Reading scripture, copying text.