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Tuesday, 29 December 2020

The Wise Mens' Tale: a low risk All-Age activity for Epiphany


The Wise-Mens’ Tale

Having adapted the children’s carol, 'An Angel told Shepherds' to be a lower risk version All-Age activity for coronavirus times, the same simple adaptation can be made for this -  The Wise Men’s Tale (Matthew  2, 1 – 11): an interactive all-age story.

Each child is given one of the following names (whilst remaining in their seats, which will have been suitably spaced for the service)  Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, Camels, and Servants. (If one or two of these names have to be repeated, or left out, this story can still be used). The children have to listen out for the name they have been given, then when it comes in the story they must stand up, turn around and sit down. When Caravan is in the story, all the children must stand up, turn round and sit down.

The narrator starts telling the story slowly whilst the children get used to what they have to do, then gradually speed up. Every time we have used it, with small or large groups the children and the adults have enjoyed it    .

At the end of the seventh paragraph, follow the instructions in bold. Again in our experience, a high proportion of grown-ups present have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the ‘game’.

At the end of the story, add a few sentences to explain why the visit of the wise men was so important: thus your story-telling is integrated with your teaching.

Here’s the story

'Once upon a time, there were three Wise men who lived in the land we now call Iran. They were called Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar and they watched the stars every night to try and understand the meaning of their patterns in the sky.


One night Caspar called to Melchior “Quick! Go and fetch Balthazar then come and look at the sky with me. The three of them, Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior gazed into the Eastern sky where there was a star where they had never seen one before. Almost as they watched, it seemed to grow brighter.

Balthazar said “It’s a sign we’ve been waiting for”.

“Yes”, said Melchior, it’s the sign of a King important enough for the heavens to take notice.

Caspar said quickly “Let’s get our servants and camels and gifts and go and find him. The star is moving: it will lead us to him”

Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior called their servants. “We are going on a journey – we don’t know where and we’ll go in a great caravan to take gifts for the king which a new star will lead us to. Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar set out with their caravan.

After several days and nights, Caspar called to Balthazar and Melchior, “ I can see signs of a sandstorm, draw the caravan together so the camels form a shield for the servants and all of us. The storm came, swept over the caravan, leaving sand everywhere and passed on.

PAUSE HERE and invite EVERYONE who can to follow the  children’s lead every time ‘Caravan’ is read out.

The journey then led them through rocky mountains and deep streams. “Caspar,” Melchior said, “Balthazar, make the caravan travel as fast as it can. There are robbers in these hills but they won’t be able to catch fast moving camels. The caravan did spot some wild looking men at one stage but the camels were moving so fast the caravan soon left them behind.

The star led Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar and the whole caravan to Jerusalem. Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior decided to call on Herod – but the star was beckoning the caravan onward – on another five miles to Bethlehem. And there, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar left the camels and took the whole caravan with them to worship the new king JESUS.'

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Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015

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Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)
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