We three kings of orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar…
This carol is synonymous with Epiphany, and we sing it every year, at least the first two verses. It is natural to want to focus on the joy of the Nativity and the glory of Christ’s reign on earth. It is a little bit harder to stop and ponder how Christ’s kingdom manifests itself in the world, and what effect it is to have on the lives of we who believe.
Even now, when the Magi are giving homage to Christ the child and praising His glory, we are reminded that this is only the beginning of the journey. The moment of awakening to new life, as glorious as it is, is just the first step in a journey that will not be easy for us.
The gifts the Magi brought, as we recall, were gifts fit for royalty. And, like Simeon’s prophecy of the sword that would pierce Mary’s heart, they are reminders that Jesus comes as king to serve, and not to be served.
This year, let us reflect on what gifts we bring to Jesus with our own lives. Gold is treasure, both monetary, and spiritual. What talents do we have that we use to serve our parish and our world? If we have the gift of music, do we minister in our parish liturgies? Do we use those gifts to maybe visit those shut in in hospitals and nursing homes? Do we have the gift of words? Can we use them to move others to act with us in furthering Christ’s kingdom? Every time we use one of our talents, we are bringing our gift of gold to Jesus.
Frankincense was used the Jerusalem Temple and was, among many things, a symbol of prayer and of the Divine Name (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense.) We are reminded that Christ was consecrated to God in the temple and we are consecrated to God through Christ. Our prayers rise like incense before God, so let us make time every day to place ourselves in His presence to pray and offer ourselves to Him as He offered Himself to us.
Myrrh was also given to Christ by the Magi, a foreshadowing of the Crucifixion when Jesus will be given wine mixed with myrrh and buried in a mixture of myrrh and aloes. What in our lives needs to be buried in myrrh and aloes and laid alongside Christ in the tomb? What long standing sorrow or illness burdens you? Give those things to Christ as your own blend of myrrh and lay them in the tomb beside Him.
Christ will rise triumphant from that bed of myrrh and aloes, and if we are united to Him,