Gifts for Jesus -- a Sunday School Craft & More -- Crafty Weekends Link Party

Yesterday was Epiphany. In Hispanic countries it is known as el Dia de los Reyes (Three King's Day). This is the day when the three kings visit and bring presents to the children in these countries. In Sunday School this morning we told the Godly Play story of the Mystery of Christmas which goes through the story from Gabriel coming to Mary to the escape to Egypt and beyond. This year I have been finding crafts that tie into the story to give the kids' work time a bit more focus. I came up with a fun craft for the older students and wanted to share it with you. I also thought I would give some background. 

Fun Facts about the Magi

    1) The singular form of Magi is Magus.
2) Eastern tradition sets the number of Magi at 12 and Western tradition sets it at 3, probably based on the three gifts. The Bible does not tell us how many there were.
3) The Magi told King Herod the date the star appeared. He used this date to determine which age of boys to kill.
 4) As early as the third century they became referred to as kings.
 5) In the 8th century they were given the names Bitisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa in a chronicle known as the Excerpta latina barbari. The names have become known as Balthasar, Melchoir, and Gaspar.
6) In Western tradition Balthasar is a king of Arabia or sometimes Ethiopia, Melchoir is a king of Persia, and Gaspar is a king of India. Although the Bible never mentions them to be kings or rulers.
7) The distance between Persia (where it is believed the magi came) and Bethlehem is between 1000 and 1200 miles. This distance would take between three and twelve months to travel by camel.
8) The term magi refers to the Persian priestly caste of Zoroastianism. The priests paid particular close attention to the stars and became known as astrologists and thus scientists.
9) The English word magic came from the term Magi, however Zoroastianism was strongly opposed to sorcery.

The Gifts of the Magi:

The gifts of the magi: gold, frankincense and myrrh, are traditional gifts to bring to a king. Gold was/is a precious metal, frankincense a perfume or incense and myrrh an anointing oil. It is believed that these gifts were chosen to represent special spiritual symbolism of Jesus. The gold represents his kingship; the frankincense represents his priestly role and willingness to become a sacrifice, and myrrh was a prefiguring of his death and embalming. Some have suggested the gifts were medicinal in nature.
Gold Nugget See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gold is a precious metal and was very valuable at the time of Jesus’ birth as it is today. It is a chemical element with the symbol Au. It is the least reactive chemical element and is solid under standard conditions. It is a dense, soft and malleable metal. Gold is thought to have been produced in supernova nucleosynthesis (or collision of nutron stars) and is present in the dust from which the solar system formed. As a result much of the world’s gold is underground.  As of 2016 the world’s largest gold producer is China with 450 tonnes. Gold is used in jewelry, investments and industry. It is used in all types of computerized devices. It is also used in infrared shielding, colored glass production, gold leafing and tooth restoration. The first known coins containing gold were in Lydia, Asia Minor around 600 BC. Gold is also used in medicine and has a long history with medicinal uses. Gold is also used in food. There have been some concerns about the safety of it.
Frankincense By derivative work of User:Gaius CorneliusFrankincense.JPG' (Frankincense.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Frankincense is a white resin or gum from a tree in the genus of Boswellia. There are for species of Bowsellia that produce frankincense. It is available in various grades due to the time of harvesting. The frankincense is gotten by what is called striping the tree or slashing the bark and allowing the tree to bleed out the resin which hardens and is called tears. The trees produce resin when they are eight to ten years old. The tapping of the tree is done two to three times a year. It is a symbol of holiness and righteousness.  It is highly fragrant when burned and used in worship as an offering to God. (Exodus 30:34) It has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula, in North Africa, and Somalia for more than 5000 years. A mural depicting trade of frankincense adorns the wall of Queen Hatshepsut’s tomb. Today it is produced in Somalia (more than 82% of it), and Southern Arabia, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Its primary uses are in perfume and armotherapy and it is sometimes used in skincare. Recent studies show frankincense tree populations are declining partly due to over exploitation as well as burning, grazing, attacks by the longhorn beetle and clearing of the woodlands for agriculture.
Myrrh By No machine-readable author provided. Gaius Cornelius assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Myrrh is a product of Arabia. It is a gum or resin from a thorny tree.  The Commiphora myrra tree is the most common tree to give myrrh. The trees are native to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Somalia, Eritrea and eastern Ethiopia.  It is waxy and coagulates quickly.  It was a spice and used in embalming. It was also sometimes used with wine as a drink. It was also used in perfumes, medicines and incense. Myrrh can be used as an antiseptic, mouthwashes, and toothpastes as well as healing salves. It is claimed as a remedy to indigestion, ulcers, colds, cough, asthma, lung congestion, arithritis pain and cancer. Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering and affliction. Be sure to check out The Third Gift



Now in the past we have made containers to be the gifts brought by the Magi. We had the younger children decorating a box for the gift. However the older kids could handle some origami. 

I made a printable with pictures and the names that would be the inside of the box. You can download it here. This printable is for personal use or use with a class. If you would like to share it please refer people to this post. 

You will need a copy of my paper, scissors and a piece of decorative paper (8.5 x 11 will work). The first step is to cut along the line on the print out to make a square piece of paper.

Take the square piece with the words down.

Fold the paper in half matching side to side.

Unfold the paper.
Fold the paper in the other directions.
Unfold again. Now you will have the center marked with folds.

Fold the corners of the square to the center.
You will have a square with the words now showing.
Fold one of the sides to the center. Be careful to fold the corner piece as well.
Fold the opposite side to the center as well. 
Unfold the new folds as well as the matching corners.

Fold one of the straight edges or folded edges to the center.
Fold the opposite side to the center as well.
These two folds form the sides. Open them so they are perpendicular to the bottom.

Now the next step is the hard one. Using the fold lines bring the one of the corners to the center and create the third side. 
Some parts of the fold will include having some parts folded in to the fold.

Now repeat for the other side to create the base of the box.

Now it is time to make the lid. To do this use a decorative paper. You need it to be an 8.5-inch square. You can easily make a paper square by folding along a diagonal with the opposite sides matching.

Cut away the part that is not part of the right triangle. 

Unfold and make the box in the same way. Start with the white side up.

Now an interesting thing to ask while working on this project is what gifts would the child bring to Jesus? A great idea is in The Sparkle Box. This is something we have added to our Christmas traditions. 

What would you bring Jesus for gifts?

It has been awhile since we had a Crafty Weekends party!! Thank you to everyone who shared with us at our last party!! It was from before Christmas so there are some Christmas crafts in our features. It was a fun party with many great ideas.   Below are some features from the party, but this is just a small sample of great ideas shared! Also remember for your child-oriented crafts, activities, lessons, etc. Sharing Saturday is going on!! 


1) From Busy Being Jennifer: Upcycled Pallet Christmas Tree Decor

2) From Duct Tape & Denim: State Christmas Ornaments Vintage Puzzle Ornaments

3) From The Scrap Shoppe Blog: Faux Pallet Christmas Trees

4) From Happy Mothering: Frankincense, Myrrh, & White Fir All-Natural Holiday Hand Soap

5) From Sparkle: Freezer Paper Stenciled Tote for the Wine Lover

6) From Lilia Craft Party: 4 Perfect Knitting Projects to Knit this Holiday

7) From Bombshell Bling: Nibbles the Book Monster Crochet Bookmark

8) From Simply {Darr}ling: Custom Starbucks Inspired Cup

Thank you to everyone who shared the last week!! I hope you will share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. I would love the help spreading the word about Crafty Weekends!!