The Visit of the Wise Men

This article is from Issue 29 of “On The Move,” a publication of new learning possibilities for churches, at one time published by The Joint Board of Christian Education of Australia and New Zealand.
Although some ideas and liturgies may appear somewhat “dated” in style, concept, imagery or language, they may nevertheless offer a spring-board for new ideas among people who find themselves leading worship, perhaps in a new context, and with some trepidation.
Reproduced by permission. May be printed for use in local congregations only.


The visit of the wise men
A story for little children that all age groups will love. If you think that a play is too demanding for tiny tots try this approach.

You will need:
Star, hung from ceiling
Costumes —for wisemen, Herod, servant,
Mary, Joseph
‘Hobby-horse’ camels —for Caspar,
Melchior, Balthazzar
Large stone or alternative—for hitching post
Gold, frankincense, myrrh—for Caspar,
Melchior, Balthazzar
Throne—for King Herod
Scroll with prophecy or ‘lines’ printed inside—for Herod’s servant
Crib and doll—for Mary and Joseph
Lantern (optional)—for Joseph
Lines (optional)—for children to learn

  • Tell the story well, using props, characterising the people in the story, and indicating (within the narration) stage positions. For example, point to the star; show each camel and gift; indicate the route travelled; sit on Herod ‘s throne; ‘read’ the scroll; kneel in worship.
  • Choose story-helpers and dress them up to be the people in the story. Then tell your story again as the helpers mime it, accommodating the narrative to any spontaneous dialogue and disguising ‘stage directions’ within the story line.
  • If ‘performance’ is important, write ‘lines’ which parents can help the children learn — but allow the little actors to interpret the script and substitute their own words if they wish.
  • In subsequent practices, reduce unnecessary detail as the story-helpers learn to predict the required actions without prompting.
  • Now you are ready to share the story with parents, visitors or the whole congregation.

(The above methods were used for the following story in a church service incorporating the Sunday school at West Chermside.)

1. Caspar discovers and interprets new star, fetches gold, rides off in search of new king.
2. He meets Melchior who reveals the same purpose for his journey and shows Caspar his gift of frankincense. They continue on their way together.
3. They meet Balthazzar who explains the reason for his journey and shows his gift (myrrh). They travel to Herod’s palace in Jerusalem.
4. Caspar explains purpose of visit to Herod. Herod crossly claims to be the ONLY king and sends servant to find out about ‘this new king’ from chief priests and teachers.
5. After a ‘long time’ the servant returns to tell Herod that, according to the prophet Micah, the new king will be born in Bethlehem.
6. The wisemen continue their journey (Herod first asking them to share any news) and follow the bright star until it stops over the place where Jesus is (with Mary and Joseph).
7. Their long search ended, they present their gifts to the new king and kneel in worship.

Leave a Reply