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by Sally Tielemans / ga11302008

I did this Christmas lesson last year. I went found frankinsense incense very inexpensive and some myrrh resin online so the girls could smell it and know what it is. I also purchased chocolate gold coins. I gave the girls each of these items as I talked about them.

Three Wise Men are known to be the three men from the east who came to visit Lord Jesus in manger. They were of noble birth, educated, wealthy, and influential. They were the philosophers, the counselors of the realm. How many were there?  The answer is we don't know - there is no record of how many there were. Tradition says there were three wise men, probably because there were three gifts given.  These are the Three Wise Men and we have traveled far to tell you our story.  

(Have counselors read wise men parts)

Wiseman #1 - When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Herod was the king. We traveled from the east to Jerusalem, and when we arrived we asked," "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Wiseman #2 - When King Herod heard this – he was troubled. He gathered the chief priests and the scribes together and demanded that they tell him where Christ should be born. They told him," He will be born in Bethlehem, for it was written by a prophet." King Herod then came to us and asked us to go find the Christ child and return to tell him where the child was so that he may also worship him.

Wiseman #3 - We departed and followed the star with exceeding great joy. The star led us to the place where we saw the young child and his mother, Mary. We fell on our knees and worshiped him. We opened our treasures and presented him our gifts. Our gifts revealed something about whom Jesus is and what he came to do.

Why does Matthew go to the trouble of identifying the gifts that the Magi gave? One possibility is to demonstrate that this event is a fulfillment of prophesy. fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy that gold and incense brought by Gentiles would honor the heavenly king [Is 60:6].

We all know what gold is and its value. Frankincense and myrrh are gum resins (or sap) from trees grown around northern Africa and Saudi Arabia and during Jesus' time were worth as much or more than gold. Used as oils and as incense.

Pass out gold.

Why would they give him gold?

Gold - This was a gift for a King. The song says "Born a King on Bethlehem's plain, Gold I bring to crown him again." We often speak of the wise men as kings when actually they were philosophers and magicians. But the idea that Jesus is the King of kings is expressed in their arrival. The gold is a symbol of Jesus' Kingship.  Of course Jesus had no need of a Gold crown to demonstrate to the world his kingship. Partially because his Kingdom was not of this world. He was not a Monarch like Caesar or Cleopatra who ruled for a short time over a limited territory. Jesus was there at creation and was King of the entire universe. He was not to reign by force, but by love. And as the King of Kings he would wear a crown on earth - a crown of thorns.

Who knows anything about Frankincense?

Frankincense - This was a gift for a Priest Frankincense was used in worship. It was in the Temple worship and at the Temple sacrifices that the sweet perfume of frankincense was used. What would this represent? This gift demonstrates Jesus' priestly role. The function of a priest is to open the way to God for men. Jesus made it possible for men to enter into the very presence of God. He would also offer a sacrifice for the sins of the world.  This gift also suggests that Jesus himself is worthy of worship. The Gold shows that he is a King but the Frankincense reveals that he is God in the flesh. Not only will this child lead people to worship God. He himself will also be worshipped.

Myrrh - This was a gift for a Savior. This is the strangest and most shocking of all the gifts. Of course like Gold and Frankincense, Myrrh was a valuable commodity, even more costly than gold. Myrrh was used to embalm the bodies of the dead. Who would give embalming fluid to a King much less a child king. What would this represent? But the gift was prophetic just like the others. Jesus' death as the lamb of God slain for the sins of the world is the truth behind the gift of Myrrh. Jesus came into the world to live for men, and in the end, to die for men. He came to give eternal life to men. It is also used is many medicines. In fact, Mark 15:23 He was crucified, Jesus was offered "wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it." This medicinal purpose foreshadowed his role as a healer, the Great Physician.

Each of the gifts of the wise men reveal something about who Jesus is and what he came to do. The gold shows that Jesus came to rule the hearts of people as the King of kings. The Frankincense speaks of Jesus' role as our great high priest making offerings for the faithful and that Jesus came as God in the flesh - the object of our worship. And the Myrrh reminds us that Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, that He is our Savior.

As we contemplate the gifts of the Wise Men, we can give thanks and remember Him in recognition of the gift of the divine mission He was to perform to save us all.

Wise Men (and Young Women) still seek Him.

Never did the Savior give in expectation of receiving. He gave freely and lovingly, and He gave eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, and legs to the lame; cleanliness to the unclean, wholeness to the infirm, and breath to the lifeless. His gifts were freedom to the oppressed, forgiveness to the repentant, hope to the despairing, and light in the darkness. He gave us His love, His service, and His life. And most important, He gave us and all mortals resurrection, salvation, and eternal life.
We should strive to give as He gave. . .

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would give Him a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man,
I would do my part,—
But what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

To give of oneself is a holy gift.  I would like to play a Christmas song. While this Christmas song is playing, I would like each of you to write down a gift that you could give to Christ this Christmas, As you look inside your heart, let the spirit direct you, to offer one thing that would bring you closer to Christ. Is it a character trait you would like to develop, a weakness that is hindering your relationship with Him, a service you would like to give? What is one thing you could offer that would make you more like Him?

Play song, "Silent Night".  Tell story of Nativity.  Bear testimony.

P.S. - I found both frankinsense and myrrh on e-bay for really inexpensive. And I think you can find both of them in an incense stick at just about anywhere they sell incence. Just call around. I had it burning so the girls could smell it (we came to my house for the lesson.) One other thing I did with this lesson was I made a small white stocking for each of them. I have a poem that talks about everyone in the family having a stocking and this one is for Christ to remember Him when you see it hanging. They put the items in the stocking as I gave them out, along with the paper that they write what they want to give the Savior. I also wrote up a handout with much of the info on it so they could do this for a Christmas Eve lesson with their families.

ADDITIONAL IDEAS - I was using the basic outline sent in by Sally Tielemans "The Three Wise Men" for my Christmas Lesson, but have a nice addition to it. I substituted her Little Drummer Boy for Ted Soward's beautiful video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "What Shall We Give to the Babe in the Manger". I am also tying this into the 2009 theme by suggesting they consider one of the treasures/gifts mentioned in the theme scripture as something they give to the Savior this year. (Idea shared by Melinda Randall / ga12162008)
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