What would have happened if the magi were women? They would not have gotten lost. They would have brought practical gifts. Instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they would have brought diapers, dinner and blankets. Just a little joke.
What was the purpose of the gifts? Traditionally gold was for Jesus Divinity. Frankincense was for Jesus as priest, and myrrh was for Jesus death. Kings were given gold, priests used frankincense. Bodies at death were anointed with myrrh.
I recently heard a talk on the magi that gave another answer about the gifts. In the ancient world the king owned everything. What would you give someone who already owned everything?
The magi were more magicians than kings. William Barclay writes, “These magi were soothsayers and interpreters of dreams, such was Elymas, the sorcerer (Acts 13:6,8) and Simon who is commonly called Simon Magus (Acts 8:9,11) At there best they were good and holy men who sought the truth.”
Gold, frankincense and myrrh were tools of the trade for the Magi for making spells. Myrrh is ink, frankincense gave the spell a nice odor. Gold was sprinkled on the spell. Think of Merlin.
What do you give someone who owns everything, you give them your heart, your very self. That is what the magi gave Jesus, their very self. They gave to Jesus the tools of there trade.
This is what Jesus wants from us. Jesus wants our hearts our very self. The most precious gift that we can give Jesus is our hearts. Imagine, a little child going to mom on her birthday with a heart shaped cards that reads, “Mom I give you my heart.”
My favorite Christmas Book is the Littlest Angel. It is the story of a little angel who had nothing of importance to give Jesus, except for his treasure box. In his treasure box was a stone, a feather and other things that little angels treasure.
On the day that Jesus was born the greatest angels gave great gifts of Gold. The littlest angel was ashamed. His gift seemed so small compared to the other gifts.
Jesus was very pleased with the gift of the littlest angel. The Father touched the gift and it became the Star of Bethlehem.
We might not feel that we have anything to give the child Jesus. When we give Jesus our hearts we give Him the greatest gift that we could give Him.
This Epiphany may we give Jesus the the greatest gift of all, the gift of our hearts.
With Much Love Fr Stefan