So much as been made about the three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So many links to worship, royalty, death and resurrection, bitterness. I have nothing of consequence to add.
But as I have reflected on the three gifts mentioned only once in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, I keep coming back to those men. Not so much the Who? — although they do seem quite mysterious and captivating. Perhaps men of royal lineage or leaders in their countries, perhaps aware of the prophets’ stories, perhaps not. Were they Jewish? kings? scholars? We don’t even know how many made the trip. That one account provides very few facts, leaving much to the active imagination of historians and storytellers.
Yes all good questions and points to ponder. But I am more curious about the Why?
We can only imagine the conversations that must have swirled about as the star first came into sight.
We can only imagine what they had to consider as they packed for the trip…
- How far will we travel?
- How long will we be gone?
- Should our gifts be for a baby? or a king?
- Do we bring frankincense and myrrh?
- Someone mentioned Bethlehem – I’ve not been there… are we overdressed? underdressed?
- What if it’s cloudy for days on end?
- Are we really sure about this?
And maybe halfway there, perhaps a quiet Good golly, Miss Molly – what have we gotten ourselves into?
Because, you see, they didn’t know.
Maybe they suspected. Maybe their families passed down the words of the prophets, so they knew something good would happen – eventually. What they didn’t know about the boy they came to see was almost everything.
But they came anyway.
How far? We don’t know.
How long did they travel? We don’t know.
Was it a party of 3 or 30? We don’t know.
But they came to see the boy that would be King of the Jews, indeed, King of the World. And I can’t help but believe they brought the best they had to offer without even a hint of how it would turn out.
We have been given just a peek into their first glimpse of Jesus. One translation says when they came into the house, they were overcome.
If it had been me, I believe I would have simply wept. I don’t mean cried or sniveled. I mean completely broken down and sobbed the big tears. The kind that makes everything hurt for a while, weak and alone… And, when it’s over, it’s clean and whole and all is right.
But, however the visitors reacted, it is very clear: they knew they were in the presence of God.
That’s all they came for, all they expected.
And so, my lovelies, on the third Monday of the season, I wish for you a hope for your future – that you will set out on the journey you know is for you, believing that Jesus “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within you.” (Ephesians 2:20)
Please never forget: knowing that is all you need to know.