The wise men’s gifts began with a long journey.
Christmas is over for another year. I hope you had a wonderful time with your family. I know I did. I felt incredibly blessed and yet it seemed like it went by way too fast. I wanted to savor the moments and yet those moments flew by.
As I was buying gifts for friends and family members this year, I kept wondering what they might really like. Did I pick the perfect gift? Did I buy one grandchild more than another? I kept a list and a spreadsheet and that helped; still I wondered, “Am I giving my very best?” It’s easy to become consumed with shopping. I like to shop and I find myself getting caught up in the sales and discounted items available at Christmas time. Before I knew it, I spent my Christmas budget. (Thankfully I had a budget!) But still the question echoed in my mind, “Am I giving my best?” What is that perfect gift that tells someone that you love and appreciate them? Perhaps it’s not the gift at all. Maybe what matters most is spending time with those you love. Maybe it’s taking the time to tell them that you love and appreciate them.
As I was pondering my giving questions this season, I read the story of the wise men who followed the star to worship Jesus. They gave their time, traveling from afar following a star in the sky. They gave from their resources by bringing gifts to the newborn king. Gifts that indicated they were most likely wealthy men, still they gave freely from what they had. Finally they knelt and gave honor to Jesus. They worshiped Him as king.
What can I give Jesus? I too can give my time, my resources and my worship. Best of all, I can give Him my heart. That’s what He really wants anyway. When I love Jesus with all my heart, it will show. It will spill over into my relationships with family and friends. Hey, I think I know what’s the best gift of all! It’s not that perfect present under the tree. The best gift of all is a gift of the heart; it’s love!
I come and kneel before you. I give you my heart. Help me to love you with everything that I am and everything that I have. May that love spill over onto others so that I can give my very best. Help me to see through your eyes opportunities to give to others; to give of my time, my resources and my love wherever I go. I want to share your gift everywhere I go. Amen
MORE THOUGHTS ON GIVING:
Christmas Is over, but giving shouldn’t be. Think of ways to extend giving beyond Christmas. What are some things you can give? – Suggestions below:
This is a good time to clean out and reorganize your closets – how about giving some of the things you are no longer using or that your kids have outgrown to someone in need. Ask your kids to help decide what they want to keep and what they are ready to part with. Perhaps some of the toys they no longer play with but that are clean and in good condition would be a blessing to someone else.
Give thanks – thanks to God and thanks to those whom you received gifts from, Kids can draw pictures to say thanks.
Give time – To you family, your church, a friend, your community. Volunteer.
GIVING OUR LOVE (In the classroom)
Give out of your best not just your left overs. Encourage kids to do their best no matter what they are doing. Ask them to tell you or show you what they think is their best work. Can they share something they do well with someone else? How can they share their skills and talents with others?
Encourage kids to give by sharing and helping others and praise them when they do. Sharing is a BIG thing for toddlers and preschoolers. When they share willingly, be sure to notice.
Think of ways that your class can give this year to others. If you have a preschool class, you may wish to do a class project such as collect food for your local food bank. If you have a Sunday School class, use your class time to clean up around the church or adopt a missionary to pray for or make pictures to give to a Senior Center.
There are many ways to give. Keep your eyes and ears open. There may be someone in your class that needs help with something or needs to know that you are thinking of them – a get well picture/card made by the class is one simple way of letting someone know you are thinking of them.
SHARE A STORY: Following A Star – Matthew 2
In a country far, far away, some wise men looked up into the night sky. “Look at the beautiful BIG star in the sky!” they said. The wise men knew it was a special star! They knew it meant a king had been born. “Let’s follow it!” They said. (Walk around the room with your child like you are following a star.) And follow it, they did. The wise men followed the star for a long, long time. They followed the star all the way to Jerusalem.
When they got to Jerusalem, they asked King Herod, “Where’s the new king? We want to worship him.”
“New king? What new king?“ King Herod was upset by the news. He didn’t like the idea of anyone else being king, but he pretended to be excited. “Go look carefully for him.” he said, “I want to worship him too.”
Back on their journey, the wise men saw the star again and followed it. They were so excited and happy to see the star again. “Look, look! There’s the star!” They said. (Walk around the room with your child again.) The star led them to Bethlehem and there it stopped! It stopped right over the house where Jesus was. The wise men knelt down and worshiped Jesus, giving Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh smell very good like perfume.
After the wise men gave Jesus their gifts, an angel warned them not to tell King Herod, so they went back home a different way.
The wise men followed the star because they wanted to worship Jesus and give Him gifts. You can worship Jesus and give Him your best too. When you love Him with all your heart, you are giving Him your best. Let’s say, “I love you!” to Jesus and thank Him for coming to earth.
“Jesus, I love you. Thank you for coming to earth.”
Dear God, Thank you for Jesus, your best gift. Jesus, Thank you for coming to earth. I want to give you my best. I want to give you myself. I want to love your with all my heart. Amen
MEMORIZE: LK 2:11 NIRV (Hold hands like holding a book.)
“… a Savior” – (Cross arms and then swing outwards.)
“Has been born” – (Rock a baby.)
“To you” . – (Extend hands outward.)
He is Christ the Lord” – (Point upwards.)
KNOW: I can love and worship Jesus.
TALK ABOUT: Gifts! God gave His best, Jesus. The wise men followed a star to see Jesus.
ASK: Who loves you? God loves me. What can you give? I can give my love.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Weather permitting, look at the stars at night. The wise men followed a star to worship Jesus. Play a simple game of follow the leader ending with reading the story of the wise men.
* Draw thank you notes with your child for the gifts that he/she received. Remember to give thanks to Jesus too.