Friday, January 14, 2005

A VERY Thoughtful Present

Do you know what Myrrh is? All my life, I have been told that it was an expensive perfume. While studying this week I learned that it IS a perfume...for the dead.

Myrrh is a bitter, gum-based substance with a very strong odor, typically used in embalming the dead to slow putrefaction. Yes, Myrrh is a precious substance that was kept for long periods of time and most likely traded for other things, but it's primary use was for the dead.

Why then would a Magi, traveling many miles, bring Myrrh as a gift to BABY Jesus? Gold makes sense, gold was a very common gift, especially to Kings. It would make sense to bring gold to Jesus to recognize his "sovereigness". Frankincense also makes sense - it was a very valuable fragrance and it addresses Jesus as our High Priest.

But an embalming agent?

Wouldn't it make more sense to bring a child something he could use like some type of farm animal there are many uses for these animals when a baby is around (milk, food, clothing). Maybe silver or some instrument created abroad (these men came from far away). Why bring a baby something he didn't seem to need?

Myrrh recognizes Christ's eventual suffering and death on the cross. Christ has identified with us in our pain and sorrow and the Myrrh that covers up our eventual decay makes a perfect symbol of the sin-covering love we get from our Lord and Savior. The bible doesn't tell us if the Magi were lead or influenced by God when they chose their gifts, but you would have a hard time convincing me otherwise...

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18