Although we remember Christ’s birth on Christmas day, we remember on the day of the Epiphany the Magi coming to adore Jesus. They came giving Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Gold is a gift given to Kings, Frankincense is incense, used for worship (He is the Son of God and they believe him to be), and finally Myrrh was the gift that recognized his human side. It is usually used on an individual as an anointing oil when the child is first born, helps keep the smell down when they have died and I believe it had been used in Ancient Egypt as well for mummification (don’t quote me on the last part).
Why is this a big deal?
Think about 3 Wise Men, probably not of the same faith, all came to pay homage to a little baby in a stable (probably what we would think of as a cave), all bowing and kneeling, and they risked their necks and Herod’s anger. Would you do it for a baby that was supposedly the Son of God? How many of us would actually believe it?
- Melchior (also Melichior), a Persian scholar;
- Caspar (also Gaspar, Jaspar, Jaspas, Gathaspa,and other variations), an Indian scholar;
- Balthazar (also Balthasar, Balthassar, and Bithisarea), an Arabian scholar.
So today is the day we celebrate the recognition that Jesus is getting from the outside world. From three scholars no less.