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.
If you have been following my A to Z posts this year you will have encountered Mary in my post for the letter A when an angel appeared to Mary announcing that she would be the mother of the Messiah, the promised one. Mary’s story continues in other posts: Letter B and Letter E. She must have been very influential in Jesus’ upbringing.
Here they arrive with their third gift, Myrrh. The magi (in case you have just stumbled upon this post and do not know the stories of Christmas and Epiphany) were wise men, who travelled from the east looking for the King of the Jews. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In the past I have heard the gifts described as being appropriate for Jesus, who received them as a young child. Earlier this year in a sermon for Epiphany the Magi were described as bringing the things, which were important to them. They brought gold for their wealth, frankincense (or incense) for their worship and myrrh for their humanity.
Although many Christmas cards and nativity scenes show the shepherds and the magi together in the stable, it is more likely that Jesus and his parents had moved into a house in Bethlehem by the time the magi arrived. The gospel of Matthew, which records the visit of the Magi, uses the word house. Matthew 2:11 The whole story about the Magi is in Matthew 2:1-12.
Myrrh is produced from a tree and was used as perfume and in embalming. In John 19:39 myrrh was one of the ingredients used to embalm Jesus’ body. It is perhaps timely to think about myrrh here; the publication of this post coincides with Good Friday in the western Christian calendar. Good Friday is when Jesus’ death is commemorated.
‘Long ago prophets knew‘ is a carol, which mentions Mary.
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