by Linda Veath Cox

And when

[the wise men] were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. ~ Matthew 2:11 KJV

Gold. Frankincense. Myrrh. Gifts from the wise men. Costly gifts that, according to tradition, paid for the Holy Family’s escape to Egypt. But more than just the monetary provision, there may have been symbolism in the gifts as well.

Gold, as a valuable, generous gift for royalty, recognized Jesus as King. Frankincense, a pleasant fragrance used in worship to carry prayers to heaven, recognized Jesus as holy and righteous, worthy of worship. Myrrh, a fragrance used in embalming, points to Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice.

Perfect gifts for the wise men to give. But not necessarily something we can give to Jesus. Or can we?

Our “gold”? Possessions, money, property, jobs, material resources. Do we offer these things to the Lord for His use? Do we give generously to help His hurting children who are in need? Do we strive to be good stewards of all the resources God has blessed us with?

Our “frankincense”? Worshiping God. Are we a pleasing fragrance to Him as we worship Him in church with others? Do we leave an aroma of God’s love where we work or shop or live? Are our prayers—whether prayers of praise, intercession, or confession—floating to heaven on the fragrance of our trust in God?

And our “myrrh”? Suffering and sacrifice. Are we willing to live our lives as a gift we can give to God for His honor and glory? Are we willing to make sacrifices to help others, to serve God, to show others His love? Are we there for those going through the valley of the shadow of death?

So, maybe the wise men’s gifts are gifts we can give.

Imagine what would happen if we spent as much time on these gifts as we do on all the other presents we buy at Christmas?

This year let’s challenge ourselves to find the gold, frankincense, and myrrh in our lives and present them as gifts to the King of Kings every day.

Glorious now behold Him arise:

King and God and Sacrifice;

Alleluia, Alleluia!

Earth to heav’n replies.

(v. 5 of We Three Kings)