Christmas, a time of sharing, loving and gift giving. We are in the season of hunting for those perfect gifts. We roam the mall, the local Walmart, Target or order and excitedly await the Amazon truck.
We often read the Christmas story and highlight the most spectacular parts: Singing angels. “Fear Not” statements. The Star of Bethlehem, and yes, the divine precious baby in the dingy manger. YET, there are some quiet and less compelling items to be had in the excitement.
Consider if you will, the Magi (Matthew chapter 2) as they prepare for their trek to find the child to whom the shiny Star belongs. Tradition, not scripture, says there were three wise men, only because the three gifts that were given. They are packing, (imagine with me) 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 “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 gifts? Gold, we have that one down. Next, frankincense is ground dried up tree sap used as incense, highly fragrant when burned. And myrrh, what is THAT?
The divine significance of myrrh: It also comes from the sap of a tree, yet it is not just some sticky goo creatively used. It was:
1) In the divinely prescribed anointing oil of the Tabernacle and the priests (Exodus 30:22-23).
2) In the perfumed oil poured over Jesus’ feet (John 12:3, Matthew 26:6-13: The ointment is “Myron” which is myrrh-oil).
3) Also, as one of the spices wrapped around His body following His death (John 19:39-40).
Picture now, the Christ child, perhaps two in age or younger. Jesus with dark curly hair, possibly pudgy cheeks. At His feet, the Magi place gold, frankincense, and MYRRH. The same anointing oil used to anoint temple priests, now set before Jesus—our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). The same perfumed myrrh now before small feet—perfume that would one day be poured over a grown man’s feet, those feet that would hang on a cross and be pierced.
Jesus was also offered wine mixed with myrrh while on the cross, but He did not take it (Mark 15:23). Scholars believe Jesus refused to drink the mixture, due to its numbing effect. He wanted to be fully aware—fully present in the suffering for mankind. Myrrh (spices) wrapped around Jesus’ body. Wrapped. Just. Before. His. Resurrection!
Wonderful gift giving. Gold, frankincense and yes, myrrh. We celebrate Jesus, a child, Who one day, would be the man fulfilling this gift. Myrrh—HOW PROPHETIC.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).
Note: For those of you who work Crossword Puzzles: 5 letters down: “Anointing oil of the Tabernacle, the priests and Jesus?” The answer: “Myrrh” (YAY! You’re welcome).