painting and/or sculpting; used greeting cards with images
of the magi; scissors, glue, and poster board for a collage
Compare the various magi images you have found. Then:
a. Search online for images of the “Adoration of the Magi”
and discover paintings by European masters, such as
Botticelli, Da Vinci, De Bray, Durer, Giotto, and Rubens.
Look carefully at these famous paintings and discuss the
• How would you describe each of the magi? What are
they doing in each painting, and how do their appearances (nationality, expressions, clothing, head covering,
stances) differ from one painting to the next?
• How is the Christ child portrayed in each painting?
What is he doing?
• How many other characters are included in each painting? Can you identify them? What are their facial expressions? What do you think they are feeling or thinking?
• What symbols do you notice in each painting (e.g., lily,
lamb, chalice, star)?
b. On the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops website,
search Jackson Beardy to find the picture “Nativity” by
Jackson Beardy (Cree, 1944-, Winnipeg, Manitoba). Before
you read the artist’s comments on this site, take time to
look carefully at Beardy’s painting and talk about what
you see. For instance, notice that wise animals take the
place of the magi.
c. Invite each person to draw, paint, or sculpt a nativity scene
that includes the magi. Invite them to include themselves
in their scenes. Ask:
• Where are you standing in the story?
• What are you doing in your picture: praying, offering a
gift, singing a lullaby?
• How will you depict the Christ child?
• What expressions will you draw on the faces of the other
Share pictures of your artwork with Advent Unwrapped.
d. Working in small groups, cut and paste your favourite
images of the magi from the greeting cards. Create a col-
lage to share.
• What catches your attention in these pictures and why?
ACTIVITY 3: STARGAZING
UNWRAPPING THE MAGUS’S STORY
Unravelling the message in the magi’s gifts.
ACTIVITY 1: SPECIAL GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS
All ages (especially Sunday school)
Copies of “The Gifts” (below); paper and pens
We don’t know how many magi followed the star, but we are
told there were three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Gold is a precious gift fit for a royal child. Frankincense is
incense that symbolizes worship or prayer or divine pres-
ence. Myrrh is a healing balm or anointing oil that symbol-
izes Jesus’ healing human presence. So each gift signifies a
different name for the baby in the manger:
• Gold for one who would be called “King”
• Perfumed incense for one who would be worshipped as
“Son of God”
• Anointing myrrh for one who would be known as “the
Anointed One” or “the Christ”
Read “The Gifts” and think about the people in your neigh-
ACTIVITY 2: ART APPRECIATION
bourhood with whom you could share these gifts in a way
that works for our times:
• Gold: make a donation to a family in need, or an organiza-
tion that provides shelter for those who are homeless and
assistance to those who are poor
• Frankincense: using the paper and pens, compose a prayer
for Christmas Eve or Epiphany naming the people or situa-
tions in our world that are close to your heart
• Myrrh: visit those in your community who may be in hos-
pital or at home facing serious illness
All ages (especially Sunday school and Messy Church)
Prints of different images of the magi (include images
from different cultures); access to the Web; art supplies for