THE THREE GIFTS FROM THE WISE MEN
In the Bible, it describes the Wise Men who came to visit baby Jesus and bring him gifts. (Matthew 2:1-12) It says the Magi came and brought three gifts. Since the word, Magi is plural for Wise Men and there were three gifts, we only assume that there were three men. We know there were at least two, but there could possibly be more than three. Even though, some songs or stories refer to the Wise Men as Kings, they were not kings. Some say they were astrologers. Maybe that's because they followed the Star of Bethlehem. There are scholars who believe that Star is in conjunction with Saturn and Jupiter.
The stories have been passed down throughout the years, but the theory remains that there were three men. They claim their names were Caspar (or Gaspar), Balthasar and Melchoir; however, their names were changed many times throughout the years. The three gifts that were brought to baby Jesus were Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. These are unusual gifts to bring to a baby, but the gifts have a very special meaning to them.
Gold is a very precious metal. It is rare and usually hard to find. It is very beautiful. It shines, it sparkles and it glows. When we see gold, we think of royalty and wealth. Gold can endure so much. It can withstand many earthly hardships such as water, fire, erosion and natural acids. Yet it is adaptable as well. Gold can be shaped, molded and blended with other metals.
Not only is gold beautiful, adaptable and durable, it is symbolic of wealth. It is associated throughout the Bible as a symbol of royalty. It is also a symbol of strength. That is probably why the wedding rings are made of gold. It is a symbol of durability, adaptability and strength. The ring is a circle, a circle has no ending. It goes on forever and ever, just as Christ's love is for us.
Frankincense is a type of incense that is burned during worship. It comes from a tree Arbor Thurisfrom, found in Persia, Arabia and India. It is rare, very expensive and has an extremely strong fragrance. There is a white resin gum that flows out of the tree when the bark is split. This gum actually hardens after three months. It is collected at the end of summer and it is sold in clumps. It is burned during worship as a pleasing offering to God. Frankincense was also used as a perfume and for medicinal purposes.
Myrrh also comes from a tree. It is an aromatic gum which comes from the balsamodendron myrrha. Myrrh oozes out of this thorn bush as a yellow-like substance. However, when it hardens it is more of a dark red or black color. Like Frankincense, it was also used as a perfume. Myrrh was also used as a preservative on the blanket placed around dead bodies. It helped to keep the body preserved.
Each of these gifts was given to baby Jesus for a specific reason. Gold is associated with royalty and kingship. Jesus would be the king of kings, the lord of lords. The Frankincense was given as a reverence. Since the incense was burned during a time of worship. Myrrh was given to him as a symbol of his death; a prophecy of what was to come.