This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.
Matthew’s gospel doesn’t mention Mary and the Angel Gabriel or the visit of the shepherds. Unlike Luke’s gospel it tells of a visit from Magi (wise men) from the east. They had seen a star and followed it to the land of Judea. Traditionally the Magi have been considered as three wise men or kings, because they arrived with three different gifts for the Christ child. The number of the important visitors is not stated in the Bible. Isaiah 60:3 predicted that nations would come to the light of Zion (Jerusalem) and kings to the brightness of its dawn. In Psalm 72 Solomon predicted that kings of Tarshish, distant shores and of Sheba and Seba would present ‘him’ with gifts. Psalm 72:10 These scriptures are considered to apply to Jesus.
Frankincense was one of the gifts the Magi brought. The others were Gold and Myrrh, which come later in the alphabet. The gifts were expensive and served particular purposes.
Frankincense was made from the resin of a particular species of tree. It was burned with a steady flame and was used in sacrifices in the temple. It was imported from Arabia with Sheba being the main source. (Information from Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary)
Frankincense is a symbol of priesthood. Jesus has been described as ‘our high priest’. Hebrews 3:1
We three Kings of Orient are is a carol often sung during Nativity plays.
While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4