Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were the gifts brought to the baby Jesus by the kings when he was born. That is the only reference to those items in the Bible.
Gold, of course, was, is and has always been considered valuable. It probably could be used as currency although there were bronze and silver coins minted by hand at that time. Gold was controlled by the very wealthy. Gold may have represented Jesus’ Kingship.
Frankincense is an incense or valuable perfume used as a symbol of deity, or a God like figure. Oil of frankincense is used in anointing and is frequently rubbed on the forehead of someone as a blessing or in a prayer-like manner when an important person was going off to war. Frankincense symbolized Jesus’s
role as a priest.
Myrrh had a greater value than gold when Jesus was born. Myrrh had numerous uses such as: fixing oral health, creating youthful skin, and boosting the immune system. Although myrrh may have these uses, it was probably not what the Magi intended it to mean. Myrrh was also used in embalming at that time. Perhaps that was through a spirit message concerning the death of Jesus and the importance of that message.
There isn’t any further information about these items, or how they were used.
One might suppose they were brought simply because they were priceless and expensive items.
In attempting to research this information I learned the Magi may not have been kings but rather astrologers or well-studied priests from another area. Since they followed the star, it would seem they were astrologers.
Every denomination from Catholicism, and Lutheranism, to Baptists have a different take on this information but all agree on one thing, no one really knows who they were or from where they came except from the East.
There is even dissention about the actual number of people included in the group. Only three were named, Melchior from Persia, Gaspar from India and Balthazar from Arabia however there are claims that the group could have been as large as twelve learned men. Even those three were not named in Matthew or Luke. The names appeared in other sacred writings of the time.
There also is no concrete date or time of year indicated as to when Jesus was born. Denominational religious groups eventually set the date to coincide with the winter solstice time because that was already an established period of celebration and Christianity could work itself into that framework.
With all the mystery and lack of concrete knowledge, I cannot say why I pursued this topic except that it seems important that we recognize how widespread and important the birth of Jesus was that it would bring learned men many days and miles of overland and difficult travel to make this journey.
Jesus basically taught one thing. Love one another as we love ourselves. Or more simply, to love all and treat everyone kindly.
Our Sixth Principle in the Declaration of Principles plainly states this however this “Golden Rule” can be found through out the ages with slightly different wording.
Buddhists say, “Do not offend others as you would not want to be offended.”
Islam says the Prophet Muhammad stated: “None of you are true believers until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
In the Jewish Talmud, the wording is, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary.”
Confucius said, “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.
Jainism taught “One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.”
It seems every religion throughout the ages attempted to teach this lesson however as Spiritualists we recognize the further importance of this man when we recognize Jesus as a Master Teacher of the highest caliber to live on earth.
His teachings have endured, and Spiritualists recognize the ultimate importance of his life through his death and arising as a materialized spirit who walked and talked with people after the crucifixion, interacting with them until he ascended back to spirit, therefore proving once and forever that life continues after the change called death and that the spirit is alive after the leaving the physical body.
Apparently, the Magi knew the importance of the teachings Jesus would impart and the significance his life would bring to the world.
Keep the importance of the life of Jesus in your mind and heart as you celebrate the birth of this incredibly significant person.