Monday, December 17: Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh

Jesus came into our broken world to bless it, to be Immanuel - "God with us" - but he wasn't recognized for who he really was. But somehow the Magi know and show us, through their gifts, that he is and always will be King, Prophet, Priest, and Savior. Join us this Advent season as we explore the meaning of the birth of Jesus through this lens.

Read Mark 2:9-12

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.


Embedded in this story we read year after year, in what can first appear to be extraneous details, is deep truth about our Savior, Jesus: Those gifts — gold, frankincense, myrrh — are rich treasures of truth about Jesus' nature, his essence, his purpose. What do you think of when you think of frankincense, or simply "incense"?


Often in the dead of winter, we light candles. They bring hope and light into the darkest of days. Some candles are scented, and while some scents may be too much of a good thing, others are just right and almost magical in the ways they can make us feel, like the smells of pine, cranberries, or pumpkin. For the Jews, the scent of incense was part of the worship experience. The gift of frankincense may have brought encouraging and faith-strengthening memories to Mary and Joseph. As you light candles this December, think of the baby Jesus and worship.

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