The Gifts of the Magi Acknowledged Who Christ Is

gifts of the magi
The Gifts

When the wise men presented their gifts to the Christ Child, He was too young to understand. Did Mary and Joseph, His parents, understand? Surely they understood the significance of the gifts in the language of their day.

What happened to the gifts? Did Mary safe-keep them for a future time when she could give them to her Son and explain to Him how these gifts were given? Were the gifts used for their journey to Egypt when they fled at night to escape Herod’s wrath?

I feel certain that, when Mary “pondered these things” in her heart, she also pondered the meaning of the gifts of the Magi. She remembered what the shepherds told her when they came to visit her newborn Baby.

For certain, she also treasured the meaning of those three gifts of the Magi. She might not have understood their true meaning, but when the time was right, she remembered.

As she stood at the foot of the cross, I’m certain she remembered those gifts and recognized the symbolism of myrrh. No doubt, she remembered the words of Simeon when he told her that a sword would pierce through her own soul, also. Yet, on the night the Magi showed up at her door to bring those gifts, she could not possibly have comprehended it all.

What were those gifts, and what did their meaning? How did the magi choose the gifts they brought?

Symbolism of the gifts of the magi

the gifts of the magiGold – kingship

Gold is the most valuable of medals. It signifies great value. Gold also signifies royalty, dignity, prestige, and power. Most importantly, especially in the culture of the day, it signified Kingship. What higher symbol is there to show power, prestige, and worth?  Its scarcity made it an ideal material to express divine qualities. Is this why the kings from the East brought gold to present to the child Jesus?

Frankincense  – DEITY

Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes and is obtained (as a sap) from the trees of Boswellia. It seems to kill some types of bacteria. Today, it is commonly used as a fragrance in soaps, lotion, and perfume. Frankincense is also a symbol of deity. In Levitical times, it always accompanied the burnt offering. It does not release its greatest fragrance until heat is applied. This is a lesson for all of us.

gifts of the magiMyrrh – death

Myrrh was another of the gifts of the magi. It was used in temple worship as an ingredient in the anointing oil for consecrating kings, priests, and the tabernacle. Myrrh was present at the death of Jesus and His burial. Jesus was offered myrrh at His crucifixion for its analgesic property. Myrrh is also known for its bitter taste. What great symbolism for this third choice of gifts from the Magi.

King, Priest, Savior

The three gifts had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.

Mary did not need to understandall of this, nor did she need the strength to endure the Cross 33 years hence. She only needed to take care of this Child, today. She could receive the gifts not completely understanding their meaning, for she did not need to understand their significance right now. This is a lesson for all of us.

Mary did not need the strength to endure the sight of her Son on the cross, while he was a baby. She only needed to be faithful each day. That is exactly what God asks of us today, two thousand plus years later.

The Magi, you, and me

To find their way to the Child, the Magi did not need to know the path for their journey. They only needed to follow the star each day. No matter how many weeks or months their journey would require, they only needed to follow one day at a time. That is how they came to find the Child – by deciding again each morning to follow the Star that day.

This is, indeed, a lesson for all of us, today. It is the best gift we can give – every day.

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