The Gifts of the Magi (Advent 2012 – Day 9)

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Today’s scripture reads:

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:10–11

In continuation from yesterday’s reading the Magi that followed the star finally reached their destination and find the child with his mother. They come bearing valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold was a valuable precious stone and a source of wealth and power. Frankincense was used in anointing oils and perfumes. Myrrh was a plant from the far east that was used for temple incense in Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s birth. All fo these gifts would have shown a great deal of honor and respect for the receiver. This combined with the way that the Magi prostrated themselves before the child shows clearly that they believed he was worthy of honor and praise, even as a child.

It is unclear whether or not the Magi knew what kind of king Christ would end up being. Did they expect an earthly king with an earthly kingdom, as many of Christ’s contemporaries did, or did they have a little more insight into the true nature of this Christ child and the destiny he would fulfill? Did they realize they were standing before the one who would reconcile all of mankind back to God in a new and final covenant? We cannot possibly know these things. All we know is that the Magi knew this child was from God and that the prophecies predicted he would come and do great things.

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