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King for the People

An assembly for Epiphany

by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To reflect on the significance of Jesus birth in a stable.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available some images of palaces and castles and the means to display them during the assembly. These could be real - from today or from history - or from films or fairy-tale illustrations. Examples could include:

    - Caernarfon Castle, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yaad8dra
    - the Tower of London, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yd6oxv7a
    - Windsor Castle, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yasgozqy
    - Buckingham Palace, available at: https://tinyurl.com/zknlyvt
    - Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y7h4pm97
  • You will also need the following words displayed on a screen or written on cards. The children will need to be able to match these words during the assembly.
    - dog                                       - sty
    - chef                                      - garage
    - teacher                                 - stable
    - pig                                        - rainforest
    - baby                                     - barn/byre
    - mechanic                              - kitchen
    - parrot                                   - kennel
    - cow                                       - classroom

  • You may wish to read the Bible story of the wise mens visit to see baby Jesus. This can be found in Matthew 2.1-12 and is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ybyh24ny

Assembly

  1. Show the images of palaces and castles.

    Ask the children if they recognize them and then explain where they are to be found. Ask the children, What kind of people might live in these places?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show the children the list of words.

    Ask for some volunteers to help with the matching exercise. A few children could take it in turns to match the people or animals to their homes or places of work. Hopefully, you will be left with ‘baby’ and ‘stable’.

  3. Explain that you would never normally expect to find a baby in a stable. Whats more, you certainly wouldnt expect a baby to be born in a stable, especially if that baby was a prince!

    Ask the children, Where would a prince be born?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Ask the children, Would a prince be born in a stable? Ask the children if they can think of a time when a prince was born in a stable and then use their responses to tie in with the Christmas story. Point out that this is why the Christmas story is so amazing!

    Remind the children that three wise men, who had been following a very bright star for many days, went looking for a new king at the palace of King Herod. They knew that something special had happened and that someone special had been born, but they never thought to look for that baby in a stable.

    Eventually, they left Herod’s palace and followed the star to Bethlehem, where it stopped over the place where Jesus was to be found.

  5. This story of the wise men’s visit to baby Jesus is celebrated by Christians in the festival of Epiphany.

    You may wish to read the story, which is found in Matthew 2.1-12. It is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ybyh24ny

Time for reflection

So, why was this king called Jesus, whom the Bible tells us was Gods own Son, born in an ordinary stable? Christians believe that this story tells us that it was because he was to be the ‘peoples king’. He was to be a king for ordinary people like us. He would grow up to be the King of Love. He would live among ordinary people, eat with them, spend his days with them and teach them the right way to live.

Ask the children, Which is more important: power, money and big houses, or friendliness, helpfulness and love?

Listen to a range of responses.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that you sent Jesus to show us what you are like.
Thank you that although you are a king, you are also a friend,
who likes to be with ordinary people like us.
Amen.

Publication date: January 2019   (Vol.21 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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