The holiday season is a time to share the many blessings that we have with those who are not so fortunate as ourselves. It is a time of giving of oneself and the gifting of comfort to others.
This generous spirit of seasonal giving began when three wise men followed a star to the small town of Bethlehem so that they could present gifts to a new baby king. That child was the baby Jesus.
The gifts that these three wise men carried were items that were gifts of great symbolic value to offer unto the new king. The three gifts presented by the Magi were frankincense, myrrh, and gold.
There is still much debate over the symbolic meaning behind the gifts that the wise men brought to offer baby Jesus but at the same time there is also a general consensus as to the reason behind these specific offerings.
The Meaning Behind the Gifts of the Magi
Gold has always been a precious metal so valuable that it is befitting nobility, as such it has traditionally been an item gifted to those of royal descent. It is believed that in the giving of gold to Jesus that the wise men also gave acknowledgment that he was indeed born to be the new king.
Frankincense is a fragrant resin that is burned in religious ceremony. It is believed that gifting frankincense to the new king was an acknowledgement of his heavenly birth.
The reason behind the gifting of Myrrh is still one of much debate. Myrrh was commonly used as a perfume but also had a strong symbolic connection to death. It was used in the embalming process and set in the coffin to hide the smell of death. Some believe that this gift was a premonition of the future suffering and death of Jesus.
There is also a belief that the gifts of the magi may have been simply gifts of convenience given to aide in the comfort of the new king during his lifetime.
The Beautiful Carol: We Three Kings of Orient Are
Believing That a Star so Brilliant Signaled a Very Special Birth the Magi Followed the Brightest Star in the Night Sky
Referred to as the three kings, three wise men, or the Magi, these voyageurs came from the East.
Being astrologers who studied the heavens they followed the brightest star in the sky with a strong belief that such a bright star must be the sign of a very significant birth.
The star led them to the little town of Bethlehem and to the humble stable where Jesus was born. There they knelt before the young king to offer him the gifts that they carried with them on their journey.
The gifts offered to baby Jesus were all of natural elements but also of monetary and symbolic value befitting a new king. These are the now well known gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold. The star the wise men followed is now known as the star of Bethlehem.
The Gifts the Three Kings Carried With Them
Still available today the gifts of Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold are a delightfully different gift choice for the holiday season.
This is the Tradition of Christmas Giving
The Christmas season is a holiday that has become very much associated with the spirit of giving. It is a time when we gather together to share hospitality, warmth, and gifts with family and friends.
The holidays are a time of charity, peace, and of good will among all men. Charitable donations increase, and we acknowledge and give, to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Some believe that Christmas has become too commercialized and has lost its true meaning. For others it is a time to share the bounties they have been blessed with and they look forward each year to this holiday's arrival.
Whatever your view of Christmas and gifting this tradition of giving remains to thrive year after year. Although today our presents are not often of frankincense and myrrh they are still items given from the heart in this festive season of friendship and hope.
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