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All I Want For Christmas

Lesson 1: Gold

Lessons in this series: 1 2 3 Overview
Lesson Index

Lesson Workbook Click here



Students examine how the Magi's gift of gold represents Jesus as King.


• To correct errors of understanding regarding the Magi from Matthew 2
• To educate students on the symbolism of the gifts given by the Magi and their understanding of Jesus
• To motivate students to live lives with Jesus as their King


Christmas, Knowing Jesus 

Scripture Memorization:

Acts 10:36

OPENING PRAYER (5 to 10 minutes)

GROUP BUILDING (10 minutes)

Have a snowball fight. Divide your space into two sides by putting some tape on the floor, using a row of chairs, or any type of boundary. Put a stack of notebook paper on each side of the room.

Instruct students to make and throw “snowballs” using the paper provided. Let them know there’s a set amount of time (2-3 minutes) to make snowballs and throw them to the other side. Students then throw them back and forth. The goal is to have the fewest amount of snowballs on their side when time is up.

Award a prize to the team that wins, maybe a candy cane for each person.

Preparation for Next Week:
Invite students to wear their tackiest holiday garb next week—old lady sweaters, silly Christmas socks, Santa hats, jingle bells for earrings, etc.

GETTING STARTED (10 minutes)

General Discussion:
• What is your favorite thing about Christmas? (Have each student answer.)
• What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received? (Have each student answer.)
• Why do people give gifts to one another on Christmas? (Because they love each other, love giving, hope someone will get them something in return, etc.)

Today, we’re going to start a series on the Magi. You might know them as the Three Wise Men. Chances are there’s some stuff about these men you don’t know that you’ll learn new. Most importantly, we’re going to look at the gifts they gave to Jesus, and discover what they might mean for us today.

DIGGING DEEP (15 minutes)

Read Matthew 2:1-12

What We Know About the Magi

• Traditionally, they are known as the “wise men.”
• The Bible does not say there were three men, only that there were three gifts
• They are not called kings anywhere in the Scriptures
• They probably did not visit Jesus at His infancy, but rather a couple of years later

There is a lot left up for discussion in the story of the three wise men, but in the next three weeks, we’re going to focus on the gifts given to Jesus by the Magi.

Re-read Matthew 2:11

Discussion Questions:
1. What were the gifts given to Jesus by the Magi? (Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.)
2. Do you know what those three things are? (Admit they are rare items.)
3. Do you know how to pronounce those three things? (Share a laugh!)
4. Why do you think the Magi chose these gifts? (Allow for discussion.)

The gifts may have been practical, as we’ll discover, but they also had spiritual significance. The Magi were communicating about who they believed Jesus to be by giving these specific gifts. In the next three weeks, we will examine each gift and learn more about who the Magi believed Jesus to be—and how that translates to our lives today.

Today we’re going to consider the first gift: gold.

Discussion Questions (Continued):

5. How much gold did the Magi give? (We’re not told in the text.)
6. Regardless of how much gold it was, why would this be considered a valuable gift? (Allow for discussion.)
7. Were Joseph and Mary rich? (No, they lived in a poor area and were not wealthy.)
8. What would a gift like gold mean to the young couple? (Provision, income, etc.)

Practically speaking, these gifts were very valuable. They likely provided the poor young couple with enough resources to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s sword (see Matthew 2:13ff). The gold was perhaps the most valuable of all.

But there was more to the gold than that. And what it stood for says a lot about who the Magi believed Jesus to be.

MAKING IT REAL (25 minutes)

Re-read Matthew 2:1-12

Discussion Questions:
1. What are some possible reasons for the gift of gold to this poor young couple? (Allow for some discussion here. Students will probably say something about them needing money, etc., since that’s what we just talked about.)
2. Who would normally receive such a valuable gift? (Noble people, government officials, etc.)

The words “gold” and “king” appear in the Bible together over 60 times. It was something that royalty collected. The average person did not have access to gold. Elsewhere in the Gospels, when money is mentioned, silver is usually the most valuable thing mentioned. Often, the coins were less valuable.

Discussion Questions (Continued):
3. What does this say about how the Magi considered Jesus? (They thought He was a king.)
4. Can we be certain that this was the Magi's understanding? (Yes, see Matthew 2:2.)
5. Verse 3 indicates that King Herod is disturbed. Why do you think this is so? (He felt threatened that this new King would usurp his authority and reign.)
6. We learn later that King Herod attempts to kill all children two years old and younger. How would you describe his emotions at this point? (Rage, hatred.)

We have four “kings,” the three Magi and Herod. Each person has to make a decision about who the baby is.

Discussion Questions (Continued):
7. Who do the Magi consider Jesus to be? (The King prophesied about in Scripture.)
8. Who does Herod consider Jesus to be? (A threat to his political power.)
9.  What is the reaction of the Magi? (They worship Jesus.)
10. What is the reaction of Herod? (He tries to have Jesus killed.)

Your knowledge of who Jesus is directly affects how you react to Him. We can criticize Herod all we want, but sometimes our reaction is similar. We may not try to kill Jesus (that would be hard at this point!) but we do try to get Him out of our way.

Here’s the challenge for today--are you worshipping Jesus or trying to minimize His role in your life? How you answer that question reveals your answer to another question:

Who do you believe Jesus to be?

This Christmas, we all need a King for Christmas.

General Discussions:
• What do kings do? (Rule, have power, make decisions, protect, etc.)
• Are kings bad or good? (They can be either.)
• What type of king do you see Jesus being? (Powerful, good, on our side, etc.)

Jesus is called the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. Make no mistake--the Magi were right about Him.

Read Acts 10:36

Jesus is Lord. He is in charge. He came as a baby, but He did not stay a helpless little toddler. He rules and reigns over all creation, even today. He wants to be involved in our lives.

General Discussions:
• How would you rate how your spiritual life has gone this year? (Allow for discussion.)
• What has been going well? What has been hard? (Allow for discussion.)
• How much have you tried to seize control of your life? How have you held Jesus at an arm’s length? (Allow for discussion.)
• Have you been angry with God? Have you tried to get Him out of your way? (Allow for discussion.)
• Is Jesus really your King? (Allow for discussion.)

I don’t know what is on your Christmas list this year, but what we all need this Christmas is a King.

We need Jesus.
(Remind the students to wear their tackiest holiday garb for the group building excercise next week—old lady sweaters, silly Christmas socks, Santa hats, jingle bells for earrings, etc.)

CLOSING PRAYER (10 minutes)

Pray for your students to live their lives with Jesus as King.

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