Wise Men


November 16 – December 14, 2003


Praising Puppets


Scripture:    Matthew 2:1-12 


Memory Verse:   “Those who walked in the dark have seen a bright light.  And it shines upon everyone who lives in the land of darkest shadows.” Isaiah 9:2 CEV



  • We are called to offer our gifts to Jesus.



The objective of this workshop is to teach the children that Jesus is worthy of our gifts.  The children will then learn what kinds of gifts they have to give to Jesus.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your nametag. Make sure the children are wearing nametags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.

2.     Explain the purpose of this workshop:  Today we are going to use puppets to learn about the gifts we have to give to Jesus.  Before we do puppets, we’re going to read the Bible story for today.


Scripture/Bible Story:

Ask the children to open their Bibles, if they have them, to Matthew 2. 


Warm-Up Discussion and Questions:  This passage is from the book of Matthew.  Does anyone know in what part of the Bible we would find the book of Matthew?  New Testament   Matthew is one of four books that have a special name--does anyone know what they are called?  The Gospels.  Who and what are the Gospels about?   These books are about the life of Jesus.   Our passage today is about the Wise Men who visited Jesus not long after he was born on earth.   

Read the Scripture Passage Matthew 2:1-22 from the CEV (see note about who should read the Bible during class at the end of this lesson):


The Wise Men
1When Jesus was born in the
village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem 2and said, "Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. 4Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, "Where will the Messiah be born?"
5They told him, "He will be born in
Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote,

6Bethlehem in the
land of Judea,
you are very important
among the towns of
From your town
will come a leader,
who will be like a shepherd
for my people
Israel.' "

7Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. 8He told them, "Go to
Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too."
9The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
11When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. 12Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.

Example of Discussion after the Passage: 


How did the Wise Men know about Jesus’ birth?    They saw his star.   Did you know that the Wise Men were probably astronomers, or people who study the stars, from another country and probably did not even worship our God?  Isn’t it amazing that God gave them a sign that they could understand, even though they were from another country and another religion?   Why do you think God did this?   God wants everyone to know about Jesus.  How do you know that the Wise Men thought Jesus was important?  Lots of reasons—called him king of the Jews, made a long journey to see him, brought him expensive gifts, knelt down and worshiped him when they got to the house.  If these Wise Men who weren’t even Jews or Christians brought wonderful and expensive gifts to Jesus, shouldn’t we--who consider him our Lord and Savior—bring him gifts also?   Yes.  Do gifts always have to be expensive to be special?   No.  Can you think of some gifts you have given all by yourself that were special to the person that received them?  Try to get a few children to talk about some gifts that they have given. Today, we’re going to see what gifts our puppet friends have given or are planning to give to get some ideas for gifts that we can give.


Puppet Application:


Note:  Today, there is one skit where each child will be a different character talking about gifts he has shared.  After all have performed, have the children sit down for a discussion.   


  1. Give out a character script to each child.  
  2. The puppets can already be out on a table.  Let the children line up to choose a puppet.  Any puppet will work for these characters.
  3. Allow the children 3-5 minutes to practice their script.  Space out all the adults in the room to help with the script practice.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should help with the scripts, perhaps even “speaking” the voices while the children act them out.  If one child is uncomfortable with reading, one of the adults present can read the words for this child.
  4. Call the characters in numerical order, and each child can go behind the stage to perform and then sit down after performing. 
  5. There are, hopefully, enough characters for each child to have a unique part, but in the case that you have more, just repeat some characters, starting over at the beginning after going through all the characters. 
  6. After all characters have performed, discuss what happened as a group, applying the skit to the concept being taught in this workshop.  See suggested discussion questions below.


Discussion Questions:


We heard about a lot of nice things that our puppets were going to do.  Which of them sounded like gifts for Jesus?  The most obvious ones are the one-tenth of allowance that someone was going to give to the church, the one spending time in prayer, and the one that is going to obey the 10 commandments.  There was also mention of God by the puppet that was trying to use the talents God had given him.  If anyone mentions anything else, great!  Otherwise…Did you know that all of the things that the puppets mentioned were gifts for Jesus?   Jesus wants us to love other people.  Do you remember that puppet that was going to be kind to everyone?  How about the one that was going to hug his mother?  That’s a great gift for Jesus for us to be kind and loving to everyone.  Jesus wants us to care for and help other people, especially those who are needy.  Who remembers a puppet who was caring for or helping someone else? Hopefully, the children will remember examples—puppet helping older woman and the new girl at school, puppet picking up pine cones and sticks, puppet that was going to clean up breakfast..   He wants us to obey our parents.  Do you remember a puppet who was obeying his parents? One following Mom’s rules.  He wants us to share what we have with people who don’t have.  Do you remember a puppet that was sharing? Puppet bring food to WIHN, puppet sharing candy in the favor bags, puppet spending allowance on present.  Jesus wants us to eat with and get together with other members of the church. Who remembers a puppet who was going to the potluck supper?  Have you ever come to a potluck supper or eaten with other members of the church?  Did all of the puppets spend a lot of money on these presents?  Some used money, but others made things—bread—or gave gifts of service—such as helping with breakfast or the yard.  Others gave their time, such as the puppet calling his grandfather.  Did these puppets give you some ideas of gifts you could give?  Do gifts have to be expensive to be special?  Do you have some ideas of what gifts you could give to Jesus?


Reflection Time:

At 10:35 a.m., ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. Tell the older students to write down what gifts they would like to give to Jesus.  The younger students (or stumped older students) can draw a picture of a gift they can give to Jesus.  The workshop leader(s) and shepherd(s) can help parents by writing a caption on the picture.


At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer:  Write you own or use this example.  Thank you Father for the gift of Jesus so that our sins will be forgiven.  We ask for your help in showing each of us the gifts we should give to Jesus this Christmas.  We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.     Pray that God will guide you to teach what He wants taught during this workshop and scripture passage.  Pray for a loving and patient attitude toward the children.  Pray for time management during the workshop.

2.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

3.     Please practice reading the scripture passage out loud several times.  See Who Should Read section of this lesson for encouragement.  

4.     Make at least 2 copies of the script.  Keep a whole one for yourself and cut the 2 copies into individual characters.  

5.     Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you will know where everything is located. The puppets are located in the far left cabinet of the Praising Puppet room, which is in the Activity Building.  There is a Praising Puppet bin with supplies in the same cabinet, but you usually do not need any of these supplies. 

6.     Make a poster of the memory verse to hang on the wall.  This poster needs to be taken down each week and re-hung on Sunday.

7.     Prepare a closing prayer.


Who Should Read the Bible in Class


As the writer of this lesson and also as a Faith Quest teacher, I strongly encourage you, the workshop leader, to read the Bible passage yourself and only after practicing it before your first Sunday. 


Catherine Devins, who helped Rev. Joan McCarthy bring the workshop rotation to the Kirk,  suggests that “the workshop leader be sure to prepare a reading with emphasis and energy and excitement as appropriate.”  Drawing from personal experience, she says, “When I teach, I do the reading and ask the kids to follow along. Often I set up the story in an animated way, then read with as much drama as I can get away with.”


Suggested Supply List


Copies of the script

Poster for memory verse




Notes supplied by Lori Houck for curriculum writers' Bible study




1:  “Today is my mother’s birthday, and I’m going to spend whole day being really kind to my family and my friends and to everyone I meet.  My mom likes it when I’m nice and kind, especially to my family, but she also likes it when I’m nice to everyone.  It’s a lot harder than buying something.”


2:  “My grandfather’s birthday is tomorrow, and I wanted to do something special for him.  I’m going to call him on the phone 3 or 4 different times during the day.  He loves it when I call.  I want to spend time with him.”


3:  “I am going to save one-tenth of my allowance and bring it to church every week.  I am going to put it into the offering plates during church.  It is my gift to Jesus.”


4:  “My family is going to a pot-luck dinner at the church tonight.  We’re going to take food to the church and share it and eat it with other church people.”


5:  “For my mother’s birthday, I’m going to make our breakfast. First, I’m going to get the newspaper for her to read during breakfast.  Then we’re going to eat together and read the paper together, and then I’m going to clean up.” 


6:   “I try to pray before each meal and before bed.  Sometimes I even talk to God at different times during the day.  My parents say I should spend time with God, and that’s why I pray.”


7:  “Whenever I go to a party and get a favor bag with candy in it, I always share some with my sister because she’s younger and doesn’t get invited to as many parties.”


8:  “For Christmas, I’m going to buy my sister a doll that she’s been wanting.  It’s expensive, but I’m been saving up my allowance and doing extra chores.  I can’t  wait to see the look on her face when she opens her present.”


9:  “My grandfather sometimes pays me to pick up sticks and pine cones in the yard before he mows.  For his birthday, I’m going to do it for free.  It’s hard for him to lean over and pick them up.  I wish I could mow the grass for him, too, but he says I’m too young.”


10:  “I learned the 10 commandments at church, and I am trying to obey everyone to show God how much I love him.  Some of them don’t really apply to my life now, but the one about respecting your parents sure does.”


11:  “For Mother’s Day, I tried to remember every rule that my mother had told me and obeyed it—without her having to remind me.  She said it was the best Mother’s Day she’d ever had.  She said it was nice that I respected her rules.”


12:  “My dad coaches my soccer team, and he says that if I would just try hard, I could be one of the best if not THE best player on the team.  He said I have a lot of talents that God gave me.  He said that God appreciates it when we use the special gifts and talents he has given us.” 


13:  “There is a woman that lives on our street who is older than everyone else.  She has children but they are all grown-ups and live some place else.  Sometimes she invites me over for milk and cookies, but sometimes she seems very tired.  I am going to take her some cookies today and offer to fix the milk for us.  Maybe there are other things I could do for her, too, like taking out the trash.”


14:  “My mom helped me make some bread to take to school today.  I have one loaf for each custodian because it is Custodian Appreciation Week.”


15:  “My parents always help with WIHN at the Kirk.  We come to the Kirk and make a meal for families who don’t have a home right now and who are staying at the Kirk.  Then we eat with them, and my brother and sister and I get to play with all the kids who are staying at the Kirk.”


16:  “I am going to give my mother a hug today, first thing in the morning.  I want her to know how much I love her.”


17:  “There is a new girl at school, and I helped her going through the line in the cafeteria yesterday.  Then I helped her find the school store today.  I also invited her to play four square during playground time.”


18:  “Whenever I’m at the Burger King, I try to be nice to the person working there.  A lot of people get mad if the line is long or the food isn’t ready quickly, but I think the workers must be happy when people are patient.”