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Matthew 2:1-12

Quite a simple one, this. I had three things that were a bit like the wise men's gifts, and the children unwrapped them, and then I said what each gift told us. There was some humour in the talk because my gifts were obviously all poor substitutes, and I could ask the kids, 'Do you think that's a real gold bar?' and so on.

The first gift, obviously, was gold. This was a metal bar I found in the shed (actually a sash window weight), sprayed with gold paint. I made the mistake of using sparkly gold, which was gold-coloured flecks in a clear lacquer. But I wanted it to look like solid gold, not like a sparkly sash window weight, and so I really should have bought the regular gold spray. It took several coats to build up the colour.

You don't have to use a sash window weight, but it is good to use something reassuringly heavy.

The gold was a gift for a king, and the first gift tells us that Jesus is a king - in fact, he is the King of kings.

The next gift was frankincense. I used a scented candle and covered the 'Homebase' label with a bigger label saying 'frankincense'. We lit the candle and it wasn't very scented at all - what a waste of £3.50.

Frankincense was used in the temple, and it was a gift for a priest. So the second gift tells us that Jesus is a priest. He stands before God his Father and prays for us.

Finally, there is myrrh. Or rather, a bottle of bath oil that was on offer at Waitrose. Again I covered the maker's label with a bigger one, saying 'myrrh' (obviously).

Myrrh was used when bodies were prepared for burial, and in fact it was used by Nicodemus to prepare Jesus' body for burial. The third gift tells us that Jesus came to die for our sins on the Cross.

You can hear the reading and talk on the St James' Muswell Hill web site.

Gold wrapped
The first present

Gold unwrapped


Frankincense wrapped
The second present

Frankincense unwrapped

Myrrh wrapped
The third present

Myrrh unwrapped


Desert island church by John Parker. Contact me via the about page. Text and images copyright © 2014 John Parker www.desertislandchurch.co.uk.