Advent Adventures Week 2: We Three Kings (Bring Your Gifts)
In the Book of Matthew, we learn about a long journey taken by Magi. A bright “star” led them to Jesus. Read the narrative here.
This week’s Advent song:
What does the story and song about the wisemen have to teach us on our Advent Adventures?
The wisemen traveled long and far to find Jesus. They remained hopeful that He would be found. A little research into several aspects of this story are both intriguing and confirming.
It has become a common consensus that these men were most likely leading astronomers, following an abnormal astronomical event. In those days, astronomy and astrology were inseparable. So the skies didn’t only reveal realities about planetary alignments and the passing of seasons, they were also thought to reveal people’s fates and the truth about significant events, like the birth of a king. Quite likely, the magi were also well studied in the prophecies about the coming King, so they would have studied the skies for a long time for signs of His coming. When they saw the signs, they followed them and their knowledge of the prophecies to guide their steps. Matthew recounts that their whole goal in following the heavenly lights was to worship the new King. (Matthew 2: 2,10-11)
So what were they following, exactly? Well, I’m not an astronomer–I’m a Director of Relational Arts in an amazing church–but I love learning. And I learned it was likely not a “star” at all. Rather, research and amazing software that can replicate the night skies from 2000 years ago, indicate that the time of Jesus’ birth was also a time of some phenomenal astronomical happenings that happened to coincide. Not only was there a rare alignment of Saturn (known then as “protector of the Jews”), and Jupiter (known as “planet of kings”) with the sun and moon, but also Jupiter’s reappearance after having been hidden for a while held special significance. One article indicates that no such “Christmas star” will light the skies again in the next 500,000 years!
These magi brought special gifts with them on their long journey. It is thought that, by the time they arrived, Jesus was already a toddler, so the magi had carried those gifts for a long time! Gold, frankincense, and myrrh didn’t only reveal the value of their gift, but they spoke significantly of their recipient. Gold represented kingship, frankincense was a symbol of priesthood, and myrrh signified a future significant death.
Jesus, our King and Great High Priest is the One who, by His death and resurrection, has made a way for us to become sons and daughters of God.
What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. -Hebrews 2:9-10
The magi’s gifts foretold this incredible reality.
Adventure, week 2
So how can we adventure with our friends or family this week? What can the magi inspire in us?
Start by reading the account again as a family, or with your friends. Then consider some of these questions:
- The magi were confident God was going to fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah. Do you believe that God will do what He says He will do?
- Several years passed as the magi traveled, but their desire to worship the King helped them keep going. Does your desire to know and worship Jesus help you to persist in finding Him?
- The gifts the magi brought were extravagant representations of their worship. What gifts could you give this Christmas that would represent your love for the Lord? Where can you bring your gifts?
Now Adventure Together (Your Choice: Take a Journey or Bring your Gifts)
This week, there are some options! Depending on your family’s makeup in number and age, find the one you’d find the most doable.
1) Create your own “Our Journey to Find the King” book.
- Step 1: Talk together about how long the Wisemen searched for Jesus. Every morning that came was a new morning to keep looking.
- Step 2: Then make a cover for your book. Work together with crayons, pens, and paper. Or use a free program like Canva to be a little more fancy. If you are in a hurry, download ours here!
- Step 3: Every day, add a page that catalogues where your family searched to see Jesus that day. This can be done with words, pictures, or both!
- Step 4: Always add specific praises on the days you know you found Him. When the Wisemen found Jesus, they worshiped Him and gave Him their gifts.
2) Bring your gifts as an act of worship.
- Step 1: Talk together about how our generosity to others is a way that we worship Jesus. Scripture says in James 1:27 that pure religion (or worship) is caring for people who are in distress, and staying unstained by the world.
- Step 2: Work together to decide who might be in need. This might be someone in your neighborhood, someone from work or school, a compassionate organization in your area, or Waterline’s Shepherd Community Christmas Store Drive. (This coming Sunday is your last chance!)
- Step 3: Go together as a family or group of friends to the store and purchase gifts that could be helpful and enjoyable. This isn’t a time for hand-me-downs…this is a time to be extravagant in our generosity!
- Step 4: On your way to deliver the gifts, talk together about how much the Magi trusted they would find Jesus, and how they worshiped Him when they arrived with their gifts.
- Step 5: After you deliver your gifts, pray together, thanking God for the opportunity to worship Him by giving your gifts.
We hope you are enjoying taking part in Waterline’s Advent Adventures! We’d love to collect stories and pictures on our Facebook page of your friends and families Adventuring together!
See you next week for another Advent Adventure!