Gifted Myrrh – NOT the White Elephant
Christmas, a time of sharing, loving and gift-giving. We are in the season of gift-hunting, we may not have anything in mind, but there is hope of something jumping off the shelf and literally wrap itself with a glorious bow and going headlong in our cart. (Ok, perhaps that’s MY form of hopeful shopping).
We often read the Christmas story and highlight the most spectacular parts: Singing angels, “Fear Not” statements, the Star of Bethlehem, and yes, the dingy manger. YET, there are some quiet and seem less significant items to be had in the excitement. Gifts. Consider if you will, (imagine with me) the Magi as they prepare for their trek out to find the child to whom the shiny Star belongs. They are packing, dividing the supplies list, then they come to the gift inventory; gold is given to the first, then frankincense handed to another, oh yeah, the myrrh is last. How would you like to be handed the myrrh and picture yourself bowing low, head to the floor while you offer to the King of Kings, M-Y-R-R-H (said with an Eeyore deep tone). You may think “Dude, why do I have to carry the white elephant gift?” White elephant it is not. It is one among the triune gifts that are of great value. Have we thought about these? Gold, we have that one down. Frankincense is ground dried up tree sap used as incense. And myrrh, what is THAT?
The divine significance of myrrh: It too comes from the sap of a tree and used in the divinely prescribed anointing oil of the Tabernacle and the priests (Exodus 30:22-23). It was the perfumed oil poured over Jesus’ feet (John 12:3, Matthew 26:12: The ointment or costly perfume is ‘myron’ which is myrrh-oil). It was used also as one of the spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial (John 19:39-40).
Picture now, the Christ child, perhaps two in age or younger (took the Magi some time to get there – no GPS), Jesus and curly dark hair, possibly pudgy cheeks. At His feet, the Magi place gold, frankincense, and MYRRH. The same anointing oil used to anoint temple priests, Jesus our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). The same perfumed oil poured on His feet as a grown man, those feet that would one day hang on a cross and be pierced. The oil added to the spices wrapped around His body following His death. He now a child, will one day be the man fulfilling this gift.
Myrrh, HOW PROPHETIC.
Christmas gift-giving, following the Magi’s example: Regardless of how insignificant it may seem, we never know the impact and how far-reaching our giving may be. Today it’s not so much the item, but the heart of giving, the giving of self is a gift – an encouraged heart, a feed soul, a learned principle, a person no longer lonely – gifts given in Jesus name – the gift that keeps on giving.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
Photo credit Jan Pashley http://www.janpashley.co.uk/ (Love her work)