Wise Men Gifts Station

Instructions

Wash your hands using the Wise Men themed soap. The soap has the fragrances of frankincense and myrrh, and is decorated with golden colours. Take your time to slowly wash your hands using a bowl of water and the soap. Take in the feeling of the water, of the cleansing action of the soap, of the fragrance left on your hands afterwards.

Reflection

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9

Simple

The action of washing your hands can represent being cleaned from our sins. All of us sin. It’s something all of us humans are trapped in until we are made free. When we choose to turn away from sin and follow Jesus, we are made clean and new and are freed from the power of sin.

The baby Jesus was given gifts fit for a King, symbolising his royalty, his Godhood, and foreshadowing his death. Jesus the adult, doing nothing but the will of his Heavenly Father, would choose to lay down his status and power in obedience and in love. He did this to make a way for us to have a restored relationship with God.

Go deeper

Have you ever wondered what the point of the gold, frankincense and myrrh from the wise men were? They are not your typical gifts for a new baby in our day or even particularly useful things in the Middle East in the 1st century.

The main significance of the gifts lay in their great value—they were indeed gifts fit for a king. These were great treasures given in an act of worship, but they were also symbols that carried deeper significance as well.

Gold was highly valued in the ancient world, as it is today. Because it was rare and expensive, it was associated with royalty.

Frankincense is a fragrant tree gum resin that is burned as incense to make a strong and beautiful aroma. It was worth a lot of money in the ancient world. It was often used as part of a ceremony of worship for a god, including by the Jewish people in worshiping Yahweh (the one God).

Myrrh is a spice made from a tree native to the region in which Jesus was born. It can be used as incense like frankincense, but it could also be a perfume, anointing oil and medicine. Most importantly, it was a key ingredient in the spices used to prepare bodies for burial.

So the gifts have a prophetic meaning: foreshadowing that Jesus would be the King of Kings, that he was God and that he would die for his people. It is also highly likely that the gifts were divine provision for Mary and Joseph as they had to escape King Herod’s murderous intentions and become refugees in Egypt. The valuable gifts could well have helped with the immense costs of such a journey.

The gifts of the wise men speak to the purposes and plans of God for the good of his people and of God’s provision. They show us that the Jesus we honour at Christmas has a power and relevance for people of all backgrounds. Where have you seen the hand of God on your own life this year? Where would you like to see it moving in the next year?