“For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
–The words of the wise men in Matthew 2:2
For those churches which follow a three year cycle of Sunday readings, called the Revised Common Lectionary, this year most of our readings about Jesus will be from the Gospel of Matthew. I love the year of Matthew, because this year is the one that tells us the story of the wise men which appear on Epiphany. Because of its emphasis on the wise men, I thought it might be fun to go star-crazy this year from Advent to Epiphany. We will start the season with a four week craft which builds on itself as we watch the star rise to show the way to Jesus. Below, find the complete supplies list for all four weeks. The star instructions will be revealed week by week.
Supplies needed per star:
5 popsicle sticks
Folk Art Extreme Glitter paint in Canary Yellow
4 ultra-thin Glue Dots
2 3-D Glue Dots
1-9 in length of gold jewelry wire (mine was copper painted gold)
Needle nose pliers
Regular pliers/wire cutter combo
20-24 assorted clear, gold, and yellow beads
Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue Sticks
1/8” metallic gold ribbon
“Follow” stamp or nice handwriting with a black felt-tip or gel pen
Black ink stamp pad (if using stamp)
Clear flat ½” marble
Black paint marker
Gold puffy paint
1 Permanent Glue Dot
Gathering: Light your Advent wreath, get out your Advent Spiral, or turn on the Christmas tree so that your family knows something special is about to happen.
Gathering Prayer: (repeat-after-me style)
Dear God, we thank you for time to spend together as a family as we wait for Jesus to come. Help this time to be a holy time.
Ask your kids to tell you the story of Jesus being born. If they can’t come up with it off hand, you might want to get out a nativity set and have them tell you about all of the pieces. You can also use this to help them to learn the story. A Children’s Bible or Children’s Christmas story book might also come in handy.
After you have sorted out the story, tell them: There were lots of people waiting for Jesus to be born. Angels. Mary. Joseph. Shepherds. Sheep! Who was the group who came from the farthest away? The wise men! They had been watching the sky for a special star that would tell them that an important king had been born. We know this because, in the Epiphany story, the wise men tell the people in Jerusalem, “For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
This year during Advent, we are going to wait for Jesus like the wise men, watch his star rise, and celebrate when he is born!
Craft: Popsicle Stick Star
Instructions for Week 1:
- Make sure that all of your popsicle sticks are reasonably straight and free from bends.
- Paint all five popsicle sticks with a thin layer of Extreme Glitter craft paint in canary yellow.
- Cut a 9” piece of gold jewelry wire.
- Bend one end over by about an inch. Holding the loose end to the long end with a needle-nose pliers, twist the loop with the other pliers to form a secure end.
- Add 20-24 beads to the wire in any configuration you like, leaving 2 inches to bend and twist the end.
- Print out the Star Template.
- Attach four thin Glue-Dots to the front top end of four popsicle sticks.
- Attach 1 3-D Glue-Dot to the opposite front end of one of the sticks.
- Attach the sticks to one another loosely in the order shown:
- Lay the loosely attached star over your star template and move the sticks around until they match. Add a second 3-D Glue Dot where indicated:
- Firmly press all of the sticks together at the joints.
- Attach the wire to the back of the star with hot glue.
When you have finished making your star(s), hang them at the bottom of your Christmas tree, or put it somewhere near the floor. It is going to take four weeks for it to rise to the top!
Song: The First Noel
Did you know that this song is actually mostly about the star? Here is an easy-to-follow version of this song with lyrics. It reminds us of the importance of the star to the story:
Playlist: Here are a few playlists that you can listen to while you work!
Closing Prayer: (repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, you are our bright morning star. As we watch our little stars rise, help us to follow where you lead, both now and always. In your name we pray, Amen.