I don’t want to go too far afield about them – that’s not my purpose here – but provide only the expedient background (who they were, what they did). They were among a priestly caste of Medes whose focus was to investigate and confirm royal lineages. In short, they were “king-makers” so when they assembled, put on their vestments and mobilized, someone was going to have their crown authenticated.
Some believe (I among them) that Daniel had had his handprint on their tribe, having passed on a ‘seer’ mentality and gifting that became their trademark. Guided by Daniel’s God, they pored over scripture and prophecy and learned to put the pieces together.
There probably weren’t three wise men who journeyed from Persia to Palestine to crown the King of Daniel’s people way back when. But I’m fairly certain their were at least three.
Scholars and historians oblige us with some pretty cool information here. These Magi, who were a treasured institution in their own right, plus the fact they were carrying vast hordes of loot to offer the Christ of God, would never have dreamed of traveling alone. No sir. So those pictures of three lone men on three camels traversing across badlands and desert? Ridiculous.
Rather, they would have been on well-trained, heavily decorated steeds, surrounded by upwards of a few hundred soldiers with armor and weaponry, acting in the role of their security detail.
Imagine this intimidating company rolling up in Jerusalem!
No wonder the city was troubled…
But I digress.
Among the haul these Magi carried on their journey were three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
There’ve been volumes already written on the significance of each, so I’ll only pull two pennies out of my pocket and lay them alongside such wealth, hoping you’ll at least consider them.
- Gold expresses the highest value one could offer
- Frankincense elicited an atmosphere of worship
- Myrrh captured the essence of sacrifice
Now, while you’re (hopefully) drawing your own conclusions, I’d like to offer you some of my own “gold, frankincense and myrrh” (with some added imperatives) to lay beneath your Christmas tree today…
As you’ll see, these are definitely offered in the spirit of the aforementioned bullet points:
I Wish You A Smaller Christmas
I Wish You An Unhurried Christmas
I Wish You A Merciful Christmas
Dial it back.
Fight the urge of worrying you haven’t done enough for the kids, that the base of the tree needs fattening up, so you’re hustling out for even more stuff. Oh, the stockings! I forgot the stockings! Maybe look again at the clutter around the tree and say “enough!” and donate some of it to local charities. Get a grip. Stop the madness.
Slow your roll.
Take a breath.
May you engage with the divine mystery of Christ Jesus’ incarnation. I pray you reflect on the ‘Emmanuel‘ of Advent instead of madly rushing about with your treasures. Let that lyric stay only in a song you listen to as you enjoy some quiet, peace and solitude with those you love. Say no to that extra party. You fret about not letting someone down, but you’re only offending yourself in the end.
Lay it down.
Bury the hatchet.
This is where the myrrh comes in. As a spice derived from a thorny plant, myrrh was used in the process of embalming – providing a fragrant scent over the stench of decay. We all have decaying relationships, necrotic connections – sometimes even in the family – and someone, namely YOU, needs to be Jesus in the situation. Jesus loved in spite of being hated, offered mercy to those who didn’t deserve such, and laid Himself down for the very worst of the very worst: me and you.
Isn’t it time you acted as a balm instead of a bomb?
Let. It. Go.
That’s it, folks. All I got. Can’t say I didn’t give you anything.