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Follow Your Star

Epiphany: the story of the wise men

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To consider what we can learn from the story of the wise men, which is commemorated at Epiphany.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Follow Your Star) and the means to display them.

  • If possible, have a student read the passage from Matthew’s Gospel that is displayed on Slides 2 and 3.

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘The Nativity Story – Wise Men’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 5.14 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzIESPA_-Uw

Assembly

  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the students how many stars they think are in our galaxy. Ask them to tell their neighbour their estimate. Ask for a couple of estimates from the students.

    The answer is somewhere between 100 billion and 400 billion stars.

  2. Today, we are going to think about one particular star; the star that, according to Matthew’s Gospel, the three wise men are said to have followed to lead them to Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel describes a star that acted as a guide for the wise men. They travelled from the East towards Bethlehem after they saw this particular star. It led them to the place where Jesus had been born, and they were able to visit Jesus. Today, this event is celebrated by Christians around the world as the feast of Epiphany. The traditional date to celebrate Epiphany is 6 January, but some countries celebrate it on the first Sunday after 1 January or on 19 January.

  3. Let us hear the reading from Matthew, Chapter 2, which speaks about this star.

    Show Slides 2 and 3.

  4. Show the YouTube video ‘The Nativity Story – Wise Men’ to show the arrival of the wise men at Jesus’ birthplace, having followed the star. Watch from 2.24 minutes to 4.16 minutes.



    Note: you may wish to show the whole video, which shows the shepherds arrival at the stable, too.

  5. Let’s think about the qualities that these wise men needed to follow this particular star. First, they needed insight. It took insight to recognize that the star was important and to realize that it was important enough to follow.

    Second, it took trust: that the star would lead to some positive outcome and that the journey was not in vain.

    Third, it took willingness: to take a risk, to take action and to leave the security of home to travel in search of something worth discovering.

Time for reflection

So, what can we learn from this story?

Let’s think about the qualities of insight, trust and willingness.

Let’s also think about the stars in our own lives that we can choose to follow.

Show Slide 4.

Insight. Just as there are many stars in the sky, there are many things in life that we might feel drawn towards. Some of these are things that will help us, but others are things that wont. It takes insight to recognize what the right choices are for us and which path in life we should follow.

Trust. The wise men needed to trust their instinct and follow the star, unsure of what the eventual outcome might be. Sometimes, we need to take a risk in our learning and development and trust that, even though we are not sure what the final outcome might be, it is still worth having a go. We may need to trust in our own abilities and in other people, too. The wise men trusted that the star would act as a guide to them. We may need to trust in other people to help guide us and support us as we seek to grow, learn and develop.

Willingness. The wise men’s willingness took them away from the comfort and security of home. Their willingness resulted in them finding something - or rather, someone - of great value. We, too, need to be willing to be challenged. To do so can lead us to something valuable.

Show Slide 5.

Let us consider the following questions as we think about the stars that we might need to follow in our own lives.

What are you trying to achieve?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Can you describe your star?

Pause to allow time for thought.

How will you measure the distance to it?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Do you know your next step?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Which star do you need to follow?

Pause to allow time for thought.

What do you need to do differently from everyone else?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
It can be hard to work out what direction and path to take in life.
We ask today for a greater sense of insight to help us discern what and who are important, helpful and valuable for us.
To follow the right path involves taking risks at times and trusting others.
Please help us today by giving us trustworthy people who can support and help us to make good choices.
Help us to be trustworthy and supportive of others.
And we pray, too, for a willingness to follow the right path for everyone here today.
Give us energy, courage and openness to finding that which is valuable and helpful to our growth and development.
Amen.

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