The 2nd Chapter of Matthew tells us that when the “wise men from the East” visited little Jesus, they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Granted, this was a pre-Pampers society, but even for the day those were not exactly your average baby shower gifts. (Of course, Jesus was not your average baby!) But seriously, what were those ‘wise’ men thinking?
Gold, the most precious substance of the ancient world, was a gift fit for a King. No doubt it also came in handy when Joseph, Mary and Jesus made their midnight run for the border to avoid Herod’s assassins. (Matthew 2:13)
Frankincense is harvested in much the same way as maple syrup; it’s the hardened sap of a tree. If you break apart the word “frankincense” you’ll see that the last part is “incense.” That’s exactly what frankincense was (and still is) used for. God commanded the Israelites to burn incense before His altar every day; the gift of frankincense acknowledged Jesus as God.
Then there’s myrrh. You probably used myrrh today yourself—it’s found in many mouthwashes, toothpastes, and makeup! In ancient times it was used for embalming, a poignant but appropriate gift for the Child who would one day die for us all.