Advent Reflection #2: The Sacrificial Gifts of the Magi


I believe nothing mentioned in the Scriptures is by chance. Each example or story contains meaningful or hidden truths. The story of the three wise men: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, as written in Matthew 2:1-12, I feel is one worthy of deeper contemplation.

To make this journey, these three men were deeply motivated and inspired. Each of them made incredible sacrifices to search for an unknown baby! Each also carried sacrificial gifts of great value for their time. Gaspar is attributed for the gift of gold, Melchior for the gift of myrrh, and Balthasar the gift of frankincense.

The gift of gold. Gold is a symbol associated with kingship but also with virtue. What an extremely valued possession, to give to a lowly, Jewish baby. The gold was a sacrificial offering of direct financial worth. Of the three gifts, gold had the most immediate value. The recipient of this gold was an unknown Jewish family in an impoverished setting.

The gift of myrrh. Myrrh is a fragrant resin used for medicines, rare perfumes, and incense. Myrrh was also a component of oil used to anoint the tabernacle, high priests and kings. Cyril of Jerusalem, a theologian of the early Church, indicated anointing oil containing myrrh was a physical representation of having the Holy Spirit. Today, myrrh is often a component of oil for the purpose of anointing and healing.

The gift of frankincense. Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in perfumes and incense and is a symbol of deity. The word frankincense is from an Old French word which identifies an incense of distinguished quality which is noble or pure. The use of frankincense is important use during temple ceremonies. The use of incense symbolizes prayers lifted to heaven.

These three wise men made many sacrifices. Were they possibly ridiculed for making this journey to search for a baby based on studying the stars? Did they question the financial and physical cost needed? Was there a concern for their safety, carrying such valuable gifts? There was something deeper within each of them, allowing them to rise above these concerns.

Would you make such a journey? Would the many costs of this journey weaken your inspiration? The gifts of the Magi were of significant value. What gift would you bring if you could have joined the Magi? Many other gifts could have been brought to Jesus. What significance does each gift carry as it applies to Jesus? I pray the Holy Spirit inspires you in this reflection. I pray when you see a crèche noting the Magi, it will be a new experience.

Thanks For Reading.

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By Rev. Bob Ragan

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