Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
Note: This lesson is based on a talk given in 1992 by Betty Jo N. Jepsen, (Betty Jo N. Jepsen, "‘By Way of Invitation’ (Alma 5:62)," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 76) who was in the General Primary Presidency. This is written as a two-part lesson, the first being a lesson on the wise men themselves and this article being the spiritual application as described in the article. (See Related Links to the right for the first part, "In Wisdom They Came".) It is suitable for older children, teens and adults and includes adaptations for children as well.
Introduction for teacher:
Betty Jo N. Jepsen gave a lovely talk on the lesson of the Wise Men. While lessons on the Wise Men usually focus on the gifts, she discusses the journey they took, following the star, to find their Savior. She points out that each of us are invited to take this same journey. The purpose of this Family Home Evening Lesson is to help our family members make a commitment to plot their route back to the Savior. Give each family member who is old enough a copy of the talk. (It is available online at LDS.org in the Gospel Library.) Summarize the purpose of the talk for younger children.
1.Attention: Read the following quote from the talk to your family. Ask them to listen carefully, and picture themselves visiting the Baby Jesus. "As I read the account of the birth of my Savior, I long to have the experience the Wise Men had—to be led by a star; or to experience what the shepherds did—to be invited to Bethlehem, invited by a choir of angels. I want to kneel at the manger and smell the clean straw and see that tiny baby with His earthly mother, to witness for myself this miracle. I believe that in every mortal there is an instinctive desire to come unto Christ. Perhaps we have a basic human need, because each of us is a child of God, to make that commitment to the spiritual part of our being. We each try to meet this need according to what we know."
Older family members can discuss their thoughts and what they might have done had they been able to visit the manger. Younger children might be asked to draw a picture of themselves at the manger. Remind them to make their pictures reverent.
2. Introduce the theme of the lesson. Tell your family that Sister Jepsen says we all have an invitation to follow a star to the Savior. Display this quote from the talk on a poster: "The scriptures are the word of God and a light to us and the world, and we can follow this light as if they were our guiding star."
3. Sister Jepsen offers suggestions as to how we can follow the star. Each is a commandment we should follow if we wish to someday find ourselves in the presence of the Savior. This portion of the lesson can be taught as an activity. Write the bold headlines outlining the four steps on paper stars. These are the steps she lists:
a. We can pray.
b. We can participate in the saving ordinances.
c. We can increase our talents.
d. We can serve others.
4. Prepare a poster of the following quote from the talk: " As a baptized member of the Church, I hear the invitation, and I wonder, How do I get there from here? Because I know the Lord intends to include all of us in this invitation, my personal, honest response is the same as my friend Matthew’s—"I’m coming." Now, what is my duty? Alma reminded the people of Zarahemla of their duty, ending with the important phrase, "Come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness." (Alma 5:35; see also Alma 4:3.) By using Alma’s counsel as our guide, come with me on a journey to remember what we can do to answer His invitation."
5. Set out wise men from a nativity set or a picture of the wise men. Place it on the floor, in a holder to make them stand up. Place the baby Jesus, or a picture of the Savior, a distance away. As family members finish with each of the four stars, using the method described in step 6, place the star in a straight line between the wise men's starting place and the baby. Place the wise men on the most recently discussed star. When you are finished, the wise men will have reached the baby Jesus.
6. To teach these steps, divide the family into four groups. (One person can be a group if needed, and younger children can be joined with older family members.) If your family is small, do the activity together, rather than dividing into groups. If you have groups, give each group one of the stars. If you wish, include, paper-clipped to the star, what Sister Jepsen says about the topic. Have them prepare to discuss their ideas about how to incorporate that aspect of the program into their lives. They should also discuss why this is an important step to finding their way to the Savior. After a chosen amount of preparation time, let each group present what it has decided, and lead a discussion with other family members. If you are working as a family, give the four youngest family members one of the stars and have them read, one at a time, what their star says. After each star is read, the family can discuss their ideas. You may want to write the ideas on a chart. Remember to place the stars between the wise men and the Savior as described in step 5.
7. At the end of this discussion, give each family member a star. Have them write on their star one thing they will do to progress on their journey to the Savior. You might like to give them a picture of the Savior and a small stack of stars. As they feel satisfied about their progress with the goal on the star, they can add a new star. They can place these in a book or on the walls of their room.
The previous lesson had a number of craft activities relating to the wise men. If you have more time to fill, use one of the activities you did not use the previous week. A link to the previous lesson can be found on the right side of this article, under Related Links.
From the East: Book of Mormon Perspective on the Three Wise Men