Following the Disciple's Trail

Following the Disciple's Trail

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Gifts Of The Wise Men To The Christ Child

It is the Christmas Season once again! I love the celebrations, the lights, the sounds and the smells of Christmas. It is my most favorite time of year, as it is for most people. I believe that sometimes we get so caught in the commercialism of it all, that we do not reflect nearly enough on what the real Reason for the Season is.

Some, I am sure, roll their eyes. the usual, "Blah, blah, blah" comes forth. "I know, it is about the Christ child and the baby in the manger". We have heard it all so many times that we have truly become somewhat desensitized to it.

We do not fully comprehend during this season, that there was a great price being paid. A King has left his throne to dwell among His own creation, in their flesh, in their sufferings, in their feeling of joy and angst. We forget that he was born sinless, that he was most unique of all children ever born, even to this day, in that during his life, there would come a time that he would be asked to carry the weight of the sins of the entire world on his back. Also is true that we fail to remember had it not been for the manger, there would never have been a cross, and without the cross, no resurrection.

So this season, I am going to post a few things that, I hope, will help us once again, refocus on just what Christmas really is about and what it should mean to each of us.

In this post, I will just touch on the gifts given to the Christ Child by the Wise Men. Many do not know that each of those gifts were symbolic of many aspects of Christs birth, life, death and Kingship. Though this subject alone could fill a book of hundreds of pages, I will be brief and give you the "Reader's Digest" condensed version.


The Gift of Gold to the Christ Child is said to have come from Melchior, a king from Arabia, who, legend has it, was one of the Three Wise Men. His contribution is said in legend to have financed the Holy Family's flight into Egypt when Herod sought the life of the Messiah. Gold, as valuable then as it is today, symbolizes the immortality, divinity, purity, and the kingship of Jesus Christ.


Tradition maintains that Balthasar, the second of the Three Wise Men who came from the East to find the Christ Child, presented frankincense to the baby as a gift. By honoring him in this way, Balthasar fulfilled the prophecy that gold and frankincense would be brought from the Gentiles (Non-Jews) to honor the Heavenly King (Isaiah 60 and Psalm 72). Frankincense, a sweet gum resin from the Boswellia tree, is the purest of incense, was used in the worship of the temple. When burned, it produces white smoke and a sweet smell, symbolizing the prayers and praises of the faithful rising to the Lord. In the case of Christ, it symbolized his life, lived sinless, and His life, through His Divinity, being the sacrifice and propitiation for all our sins.


Caspar, a king from Tarsus and the last of the Three Wise Men, is believed to have been the one who gave the gift of myrrh to the Baby Jesus. Myrrh is known for its medicinal value and was used in ancient times for cleaning wounds and sores, as an analgesic, and for embalming the dead as well as anointing kings. Myrrh is actually an aromatic gum resin that oozes from gashes cut in the bark of the commiphora tree. It hardens into teardrop-shaped chunks and is then pounded into powder or mixed to make ointments and perfumes. It is named for its bitter taste and symbolizes not only the life of Christ, in the natural, that put forth healing to the sick and those suffering, but symbolizes also His death and suffering as the Savior, on the cross that was to come to the child. As the myrrh was to relieve the sores and pain, Christ refused the drink to dull his senses that was offered to Him on the cross. When he died that day, they anointed His body in death, but they also anointed Him as the Coming King, that would rise in Kingship to sit at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

The Gifts of the Wise Men, showing all that Christ embodied in his birth, life and death, as well as all showing his Divinity and Kingship.

The act of the Wise Men is also the main contributing factor of why we give gifts to each other during the holiday season today. What a wonderful tradition they started!

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