You Are a Star!
An assembly for Epiphany
by Penny Hollander (revised, originally published in 2006)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the fact that the knowledge of Jesus’ birth extended far beyond his birthplace.
Preparation and materials
- Have available some images of the night sky and the means to display them during the assembly. Examples could include:
- stars in the night sky, available at: https://tinyurl.com/hu9ykff
- the night sky at sunset, available at: http://tinyurl.com/yd2usj9a
- a shooting star in the night sky, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y9wvecuf
- You will need four large cut-out stars, one much larger than the others.
- You will also need seven older children to perform the play. They will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly and will need to practise with the four stars.
- Note: the Bible story behind the play is found in Matthew 2.1-12.
- Show the images of the night sky.
Ask the children if they have ever been outside in the dark and seen the sky full of stars. Ask if anyone has ever seen a shooting star.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Ask the children what they know about the stars. Explain that people who study the stars are called astronomers. Ask the children if they know the names of any stars or the patterns made by the stars. Be mindful of the difference between stars and planets. (The planets appear to move in complicated paths across the sky, but the stars don’t. Instead, they appear in fixed positions with respect to each other.)
- Ask the children if they can think of any other kinds of star. Examples could be popstars, film stars, a star of the week in school and so on. It may be that children are awarded stars or stickers in school for being ‘stars’ in different ways. For example, they may get stars for good work, effort, helpfulness, kindness and all of the other things we value in school. Some classes even have ‘star of the week’ awards. It means that teachers and other people in school recognize and appreciate the children’s efforts and achievements. Discuss how the children feel when they get such awards.
- Point out that sometimes, people say, ‘You’re a star!’ when someone has done something really good.
- Talk about the stars that give people light and direction. Astronomers can look into the night sky and find different groups of stars as well as individual ones. They are always looking for new ones. Sailors navigate by the stars, and 2,000 years ago, it was the same story.
- Ask the children who are performing in the play to come to the front.
At the start of the sketch, the wise men should each be holding one of the smaller stars. The large star should be in the manger.
Narrator 1: A long time ago, there were some very clever men called astronomers. This meant that they studied the stars. One night, they became very excited because they had spotted a new star in the night sky. The star was moving across the sky, so these wise men set out immediately to find out where the star would lead them.
Narrator 2: The wise men consulted their books and discovered that this star would lead them to where a new king had been born. They found out that they needed to go in the direction of Jerusalem. When they got there, they started asking people where they could find this new king.
First wise man: Where is this child who was born to be the king of the Jews?
Second wise man: When we were in the east, we saw his star.
Third wise man: Now we have come to worship him.
Teacher of the law: You must go to Bethlehem in Judaea. A long, long time ago, one of the prophets wrote that this would happen, and where the new king would be born.
First wise man: Then we must hurry. We don’t want to miss him.
Second wise man: We want to give him our presents. They are the best we could find: fit for a king.
Third wise man: Yes, we are important men, but not as important as him.
Narrator 3: The wise men hurried on, always following the star, until it led them to a stable in Bethlehem. There in the manger was the baby: Jesus. He didn’t look very important, but the wise men knew that he was the greatest king of all time.
First wise man: I have brought you gold. (Holds up star.)
Second wise man: And I, costly frankincense. (Holds up star.)
Third wise man: And this is the finest myrrh. (Holds up star.)
All three wise men: We have followed the star to find you, travelling for many miles, but you are the greatest star of all. (Hold up the largest star.)
- End this part of the assembly by reminding the children that people who are ‘stars’ don’t have to be rich, famous or clever. The baby Jesus would have appeared to be none of these things, but his coming into the world has influenced and changed people’s lives ever since.
Time for reflection
We are all stars in different ways. We all have talents and gifts. They may not appear as great to us, but they are important and should be appreciated.
Let us pause for a few moments and think about what gifts we could offer to other people, just as those wise men, and the shepherds before them, offered their gifts to Jesus.
Thank you, God, for the greatest gift of all that you could give us: Jesus.
Please help us to share what we have with others today:
The gift of friendship,
The gift of helping someone
Or maybe just giving someone a smile.
‘The Virgin Mary’ (Come and Praise, 121)