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Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh ^ | December 21.2010 | Stu Walker

Posted on 12/20/2010 9:53:56 PM PST by Salvation

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

December 21st, 2010 by Stu Walker

In four days we will celebrate the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Shortly after that, we will celebrate the event when the three wise men came to see Jesus. They brought Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

It is pretty amazing to think, for a moment, how God plans out things in a person’s life, especially when it is His Son. God knows and knew the hearts of men. When Herod asks the three kings to come and tell him where he may find Jesus, so he, too, can worship him and bring him gifts, God knows his heart’s desire is to kill Jesus, not worship him. He addresses the Three Kings in a dream, tells them of Herod’s plot, and tells them to return another way.

We know that story. An interesting insight that came to me one Christmas is how practical God is. He knew that when Herod would try to kill his son, he would tell Joseph to take Mary and the child and flee to Egypt. Perhaps the practical God thought that when Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt, the gold would provide food, clothing, and other needs. The Frankincense and Myrrh could be traded in the market place until Joseph could again establish himself in the carpenter business.

Do you think Joseph thought for one minute about his new found wealth?

Why would he have to flee? He could use some of the gold to bribe the soldiers and get them to look the other way. After all, his wife had just had a baby; it was cold and surely the trip would endanger the newborn child’s health. What if there were robbers along the way?  The gold, frankincense, and myrrh would surely be taken from them.

But if Joseph had such thoughts, he quickly dismissed them and trusted that what God had provided, God would safeguard. His trust was in the very person of God, not merely in the things God had provided. This is a lesson for us.

Does wealth solve people’s problems? Satan will tell you it does. Some of the happiest people I know do not have wealth as the world understands it. Some of the unhappiest people in the world have wealth beyond measure.

When my first-born experienced his first Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa on both sides lavished him with gifts.  He looked at the presents and when the opening was all over, he entertained himself for hours with the cardboard rolls the wrapping paper had come on. Nothing is more fun to a nine-month-old boy than beating a cardboard roll on the floor and giggling heartily. We might just as well have saved our money and given him the rolls, for all the joy our expensive presents had brought to him.

Were we angry with our son when he chose cardboard rollers over the wonderful gifts we had bought him? No, we were pleased that he was happy, yet we felt that next year he would be more appreciative of the gifts. We looked forward to the time when he could really appreciate what we gave him.

That is what God wants from us: appreciation of the gifts He has given us. What would make God the happiest would be for you to accept the gift He has sent from his generous heart —  the gift of His Son — and give him your heart in return. Trust him to meet your practical needs and show that trust by obedience as Joseph did.

That will be a Merry Christmas.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; epiphany; wisemen
A different twist on the gifts of the Three Kings.
1 posted on 12/20/2010 9:53:59 PM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation

**Does wealth solve people’s problems? Satan will tell you it does. Some of the happiest people I know do not have wealth as the world understands it. Some of the unhappiest people in the world have wealth beyond measure.**

So wise!

Be grateful for what you do have.....a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, running water, electricity, let alone the computer!

Do we really realize how blessed we are in this country?

2 posted on 12/20/2010 9:55:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Were you more healthy than sick this morning when you woke up? Another thing for which we can give thanks.

3 posted on 12/20/2010 9:56:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Do we really realize how blessed we are in this country?

Most of us, most of the time do not.

By the way, the bible never says there were three wise men. Only lists the three gifts that they brought.

4 posted on 12/21/2010 3:43:26 AM PST by trad_anglican
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To: trad_anglican

The Gospel narrative omits to mention the number of the Magi, and there is no certain tradition in this matter. Some Fathers speak of three Magi; they are very likely influenced by the number of gifts. In the Orient, tradition favours twelve. Early Christian art is no consistent witness:

  • a painting in the cemetery of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus shows two;
  • one in the Lateran Museum, three;
  • one in the cemetery of Domitilla, four;
  • a vase in the Kircher Museum, eight (Marucchi, "Eléments d'archéologie chrétienne", Paris, 1899, I 197).
The names of the Magi are as uncertain as is their number. Among the Latins, from the seventh century, we find slight variants of the names, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar; the Martyrology mentions St. Gaspar, on the first, St. Melchior, on the sixth, and St. Balthasar, on the eleventh of January (Acta SS., I, 8, 323, 664). The Syrians have Larvandad, Hormisdas, Gushnasaph, etc.; the Armenians, Kagba, Badadilma, etc. (Cf. Acta Sanctorum, May, I, 1780). Passing over the purely legendary notion that they represented the three families which are descended from Noah, it appears they all came from "the east" (Matthew 2:1, 2, 9). East of Palestine, only ancient Media, Persia, Assyria, and Babylonia had a priesthood at the time of the birth of Christ. From some such part of the Parthian Empire the Magi came. They probably crossed the Syrian Desert, lying between the Euphrates and Syria, reached either Haleb (Aleppo) or Tudmor (Palmyra), and journeyed on to Damascus and southward, by what is now the great Mecca route (darb elhaj, "the pilgrim's way"), keeping the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan to their west till they crossed the ford near Jericho. We have no tradition of the precise land meant by "the east". It is Babylon, according to St. Maximus (Homil. xviii in Epiphan.); and Theodotus of Ancyra (Homil. de Nativitate, I, x); Persia, according to Clement of Alexandria (Stromata I.15) and St. Cyril of Alexandria (In Is., xlix, 12); Aribia, according to St. Justin (Cont. Tryphon., lxxvii), Tertullian (Adv. Jud., ix), and St. Epiphanius (Expos. fidei, viii).

5 posted on 12/21/2010 6:22:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: trad_anglican
From that same site"

 Who the magi were

Non-Biblical evidence

We may form a conjecture by non-Biblical evidence of a probable meaning to the word magoi. Herodotus (I, ci) is our authority for supposing that the Magi were the sacred caste of the Medes. They provided priests for Persia, and, regardless of dynastic vicissitudes, ever kept up their dominating religious influence. To the head of this caste, Nergal Sharezar, Jeremias gives the title Rab-Mag, "Chief Magus" (Jeremiah 39:3, 39:13, in Hebrew original — Septuagint and Vulgate translations are erroneous here). After the downfall of Assyrian and Babylonian power, the religion of the Magi held sway in Persia. Cyrus completely conquered the sacred caste; his son Cambyses severely repressed it. The Magians revolted and set up Gaumata, their chief, as King of Persia under the name of Smerdis. He was, however, murdered (521 B.C.), and Darius became king. This downfall of the Magi was celebrated by a national Persian holiday called magophonia (Her., III, lxiii, lxxiii, lxxix). Still the religious influence of this priestly caste continued throughout the rule of the Achaemenian dynasty in Persia (Ctesias, "Persica", X-XV); and is not unlikely that at the time of the birth of Christ it was still flourishing under the Parthian dominion. Strabo (XI, ix, 3) says that the Magian priests formed one of the two councils of the Parthian Empire.

Biblical evidence

The word magoi often has the meaning of "magician", in both Old and New Testaments (see Acts 8:9; 13:6, 8; also the Septuagint of Daniel 1:20; 2:2, 2:10, 2:27; 4:4; 5:7, 5:11, 5:15). St. Justin (Tryph., lxxviii), Origen (Cels., I, lx), St. Augustine (Serm. xx, De epiphania) and St. Jerome (In Isa., xix, 1) find the same meaning in the second chapter of Matthew, though this is not the common interpretation.

Patristic evidence

No Father of the Church holds the Magi to have been kings. Tertullian ("Adv. Marcion.", III, xiii) says that they were wellnigh kings (fere reges), and so agrees with what we have concluded from non-Biblical evidence. The Church, indeed, in her liturgy, applies to the Magi the words: "The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents; the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring him gifts: and all the kings of the earth shall adore him" (Psalm 71:10). But this use of the text in reference to them no more proves that they were kings than it traces their journey from Tharsis, Arabia, and Saba. As sometimes happens, a liturgical accommodation of a text has in time come to be looked upon by some as an authentic interpretation thereof. Neither were they magicians: the good meaning of magoi, though found nowhere else in the Bible, is demanded by the context of the second chapter of St. Matthew. These Magians can have been none other than members of the priestly caste already referred to. The religion of the Magi was fundamentally that of Zoroaster and forbade sorcery; their astrology and skill in interpreting dreams were occasions of their finding Christ. (See THEOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE AVESTA.)

6 posted on 12/21/2010 6:24:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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