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Going on a Journey

An assembly for Epiphany

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To use the story of the Epiphany to consider our journey through the year.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Going on a Journey) and the means to display them.

  • Have available the video ‘The Christmas Story for Kids – Matthew 2’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 4.50 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VySzDA07N-c

Assembly

  1. Ask the children, Does anyone know what Epiphany is?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Epiphany can mean a moment of sudden revelation or realization – when suddenly, something becomes clear to us or we understand something important. However, Epiphany is also a specific celebration in the Christian Church.

    Epiphany is celebrated on 6 January and it is the day when traditionally, Christians remember and celebrate the visit of the three wise men to baby Jesus. It also marks the last day when Christmas decorations can stay up. Keeping your decorations up after this date is traditionally considered bad luck.

  2. Ask the children, Does anyone know what gifts the three wise men gave to baby Jesus?

    Listen to a range of responses.


    The wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold was to signify that Jesus was a king. Frankincense was used in worship, so it symbolized that Jesus would be worshipped all over the world. Myrrh was a perfume that was used when people died, so it indicated that Jesus would have a special death.

  3. Explain to the children that you are going to show them a video about the journey that the three wise men took to find Jesus. At the start of the video, the three wise men are described as the Magi, which is another name for them from the Bible.

    Show the video ‘The Christmas Story for Kids – Matthew 2’.

  4. Show Slide 1.

    The beginning of the film explains that the Magi were known for their wisdom and understanding.

    At the start of this new year, many people think about making New Year’s resolutions. These could be things like learning a new hobby or deciding to keep our bedrooms tidy.

    Ask the children whether any of them have made any New Year’s resolutions.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Point out that not making any New Year’s resolutions is fine, too, but we will all be making decisions of some sort throughout the year. Before we make these decisions, we should take the time to consider whether they are wise ones.

  5. Show Slide 2.

    At the start of the wise men’s journey, they had the star to guide them across a great distance.

    During the coming year, there will be plenty of people to guide us. These could be people at home, adults at school or people in any activity we do outside school hours. If we ever need any help on our journey, we can always speak to someone about it. We never need to feel completely on our own.

  6. Show Slide 3.

    The film doesn’t show the good and bad times that the wise men would have experienced on their journey. They would have seen amazing things such as sunsets, sunrises, the stars at night and wildlife like desert foxes. However, they would probably have experienced tough times on their journey, too, such as sandstorms, extreme heat, thirst or exhaustion from travelling up and down over steep sand dunes.

    As we go on our journey through the year, there will be plenty of good times, such as school trips and spending time with our family and friends. However, all of us will go through some tough times, too, whether we are taking tests or falling out with friends. Sometimes, we will need to persevere – to keep going when it’s hard. However, we must always remember that there are people to help us through the tough times, walking alongside us like the wise men walked alongside each other. We should always talk to people if we are struggling, and we should also remember that we can often learn much from tough times that we experience.

  7. Show Slide 4.

    In the video, we see that just when the three wise men thought that they were nearing the end of their journey, they made a wrong turn. Instead of going directly to baby Jesus, they visited King Herod, thinking that he would know where the new king had been born. King Herod was a nasty king who wanted to harm Jesus. However, God made sure that the wise men didn’t return to see King Herod by telling them to go home a different way.

    During the coming year, we may all make wrong turns. If we make mistakes, there is no need to panic and worry about them. Instead, it is best to face up to our mistakes and talk to an adult or a friend whom we trust so that they can help us to sort out the problem.

  8. Show Slide 5.

    The three wise men must have had a truly memorable moment when they finally reached their destination and gave their presents to Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

    Throughout the coming year, we will have memorable moments. They could result from taking part in a school play, our sports team winning a match, our birthday or maybe a school trip.

    Optional: ask the children for suggestions of memorable moments from the previous year.

  9. Show Slide 6.

    After the wise men had given their presents to baby Jesus, it wasn’t the end of their journey.

    Ask the children, ‘What do you think the wise men did next?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    The Bible tells us that they returned home via a different route. We dont know what they did when they got home, but they probably told their family and friends about their journey and how special it was to meet baby Jesus.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 7.

Remind the children that the word ‘Epiphany’ means a moment of sudden revelation or realization – when suddenly, something becomes clear to us or we understand something important. It comes from the Greek word for ‘reveal’.

Ask the children, What is the epiphany moment that Christians celebrate on 6 January?

Listen to a range of responses.

The answer is that Christians believe that Jesus birth was God revealing his love for the world in a special way. When the wise men knelt and worshipped Jesus, they were acknowledging that this tiny baby was God’s special gift to the world. He had sent his son, baby Jesus.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for the love that you have for all of us.
Thank you for the three wise men who made the long journey to visit baby Jesus.
Thank you for the day of Epiphany, where Christians can remember how you revealed your love to the world.
Please help us all to have epiphany moments throughout the year.
Please help us to know that we have gifts and talents.
Please help us to know that we have achieved or learnt something new.
Amen.

Song/music

‘We three kings of Orient are’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUBTERdTKUg (2.43 minutes long)

Publication date: January 2020   (Vol.22 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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