Whoever these men were and wherever they came from, they stated their purpose clearly when they asked King Herod, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
In Matthew 2:11, we read, “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshiped him.” We then read that they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Why these particular gifts? We are not told, but only left to imagine. There are many explanations, but perhaps the most widely accepted is as follows.
Gold is a gift you would give a king. Whenever one king of lesser strength had to pay tribute to a stronger king, the exchange was always made in gold. Frankincense is a gift you would give a God. Frankincense was part of the scared anointing oil. It was used as a sacrificial offering, as a fumigant during animal sacrifices and as a perfume. Myrrh is a perfume and was used as an anointing oil and for embalming as well as a medicine for relief of pain.
The role of the star in Matthew 2 suggests a connection with astrology. These astrologers pursuing their observations of the stars encountered a sign from God. God made this event known to them. The most important part of the account is not who these men were or where they came from or why. The most important point is that “They (the wise men) fell down and worshiped him.” This is in stark contrast to King Herod who was “troubled.”
We now are in the advent season, moving toward the celebration of the birth of Christ. Make this season a time of worship, not a time of indifference.
David Bilderback is a Greeley resident.