“We three kings from Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar……” We’ve all heard this wonderful Christmas song that tells us about the journeys of the Three Wise Men to seek the Christ child. The story of the Magi is one that has been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid. Did you ever wonder where the gift-giving tradition at Christmas came from? Many historians say it was inspired by the story of the gifts given by the Three Wise Men.
Today’s Gospel tells us the gifts they offered to the baby Jesus were treasures that were traditionally given to a king. They had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death. The way they presented the gifts was very important. “They prostrated themselves and paid him homage.” These kings humbled themselves and bowed down to worship the Christ Child. What a wonderful model of stewardship!
As Christian stewards, we understand that all we possess is merely on loan from God. The Three Kings understood that so they gave gifts of the greatest treasure. They also understood the holiness of what had occurred, as they fell to their knees and worshipped the Lord. What about us? Do we really believe that the greatest gift we will ever receive is Jesus Christ? Do our lives and our priorities reflect this belief?
At first, the Magi had gone to the palace of Herod to seek the baby Jesus. But they found him instead in a humble place. What a lesson this is for us today. I saw on a church billboard recently “Wise Men still seek Him”. Let’s take inspiration for our daily lives from the Three Kings. Let us seek Jesus in humility, and offer him the best we have.
Tony Cooper-Stewardship and Development