“…they presented unto Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
At a time when most folks are preoccupied with the tradition of giving gifts, perhaps it would be meaningful to consider the gifts that were given to our Lord at His birth. Though the scripture does not tell us how many magi were present, it does tell us what gifts they brought the newborn King of the Jews: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Traditionally, these gifts have been explained as prophetic symbols of what the babe in the manger would eventually become. Gold spoke of his royalty, as the King of kings. Frankincense spoke of his priesthood, as a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. And myrrh spoke of his suffering sacrifice, as the vicariously offered Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
However, there is another perspective from which this poignant drama may be contemplated. For the gifts of the magi represent the gifts of wise men (enlightened humanity) to their King and Creator, not only historically, but also in this present age and in the ages to come. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh—royal gifts to be offered only to royalty.
“Gold” is what we offer Him who has blessed us with material things. Every dime of every offering that is given “as unto the Lord” is a gift of gold for our great and mighty Sovereign. Be it ever so small—perhaps only 2 mites from a widow—it is considered of great value in the sight our Savior. On the other hand, enormous donations given in pride or motivated by emulation are considered worthless by the Master. When we make sacrifices to be in church, or to give to missions, or for any other cause that is presented to us, we are giving a gift of gold to our King.
“Frankincense” is what we offer Him who has blessed us with spiritual things. Every time we kneel and pray, our prayer ascends before Him as incense; and the lifting up of our hands is the “evening sacrifice.” Our worship and praise is the incense on the golden altar whose fire perpetually burns before the Throne of Grace in the Most Holy Place. He is the Great High Priest-King, and we are a royal priesthood. By Him we offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. This, then, is our gift of frankincense that we give to our King.
“Myrrh” is what we offer Him (who suffered for us) out of the sufferings of our lives. The blood of martyrs, and the prayers of the persecuted, who refused to recant their Faith regardless of the consequences; the tears of single moms and dads and orphans, who in spite of everything remain faithful to Christ; the pain and anguish of the chronically ill, who continue to trust in God when all earthly hope seems gone; the heartache of godly parents whose children are lost; the mental torture to which a pastor is subjected by rebellious church members—all these and more represent the myrrh that we give to our King.
These are not gifts for common men, nor should they casually be bestowed upon mere mortal dignitaries. These are gifts for a King—the only wise God, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Rev. Tim D. Cormier
Reprinted from the December, 1999 issue of the Apostolic Standard.
(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.