January 6, 2015

Dear Liberty,

     After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

     When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among

the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

(see The Reason For The Season)

     Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child.  As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

     After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  (Matthew 2:1-12)

     Liberty, twelve days after Christ’s birthday we celebrate the Magi’s journey or Epiphany.  It is unknown exactly how many wise men actually made the trip, though Christians traditionally use three reflecting the three gifts brought for the baby Jesus.  It is these gifts that witness to the truth about who Jesus really was.  While such expensive gifts would not normally be given to a humble, “ordinary” baby, it is not their monetary value that is noteworthy.  

     Commonly a gift for kings, gold was a very precious offering.  As Christ is King, this gift honors his status as holy royalty.  Frankincense, an incense, was often burned to please gods.  By giving it to Jesus the wise men are acknowledging that Jesus is God.  When bodies were prepared for burial, oils and other spices were used when wrapping the body.  Bringing the burial oil myrrh to Jesus signified that He would die for our sins and become the Savior of the world.

     May the saving grace of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ give you peace and comfort throughout the year and the rest of your days.

     That’s my 2 cents.