“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Matt 2:10-11 KJV
Considered more valuable than gold thousands of years ago, Frankincense was “used to treat every conceivable ill known to man”. Only the very wealthy possessed this ‘holy oil’. Also known as “olibannum” or “oil of Lebanon” the name is derived from a Medieval French word for “real incense”.
The part used is the sap/resin from the boswellia carteri trees found in the middle eastern deserts.
Today, we know that Frankincense is high in sesquiterpenes making it able to pass the blood/brain barrier. This means it stimulates the limbic system (center of emotions) in the brain, while also supporting the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. These systems control hormone production including thyroid and growth hormone.
You can literally find sources of people using frankincense for everything from depression to cancer. (always do your research and talk to your doctor before adding oils or herbs to your wellness routine).
It supports normal leukocyte activity as the body’s natural defense mechanism.
Myrrh is actually very similar to Frankincense as it comes from the same region, and derived from the resin of trees (commiphora myrrha). Also high in sesquiterpenes, this plant is also very healing and cleansing to wounds and skin issues.
Often used together with Frank they make a powerful duo supporting healthy/happy moods, and a normal healthy immune system. Better to fend off the winter blues and seasonal yuck.
The value of these gifts 2000 years ago was enormous. For any one person to obtain and own gold, frankincense AND myrrh was incredible. For someone to give it away.. Unthinkable.
As I consider this Christmas all that Christ has given, and sacrificed for me… I wonder, just what am I giving back to Him? And while these worldly values we place on ‘things’, truly have no weight in glory, it is all we have to give.
This year, my 6 year old niece has, all on her own, planned, picked out, bought and wrapped a Christmas present for Davy and I. I have no idea what it is, and it is most likely not something that the world would place any monetary value on at all. But the fact that she thought about getting us something at all… it melts my heart. I truly don’t care what it is, but I can’t wait to open it and see her face in the joy she has with giving us this gift.
I think that is how God is toward us. He knows we don’t have anything truly of value to give Him. He truly doesn’t care what we bring. He just wants to see our face on Christmas morning, and every morning, as we bring Him our meager offerings, our tacky-handmade gifts, our dollar store mugs, and our off-key carols.
He just loves to see our interest in Him. Our showing up to this relationship that He crossed the galaxy to have with us. He loves our child-like faith, our just being at His feet, and not trying to perform. Not trying to live up to someone else’s expectations, or trying to out-do our gifts we gave last year.
Just giving what we have with love; because He first loved us. Giving out of gratitude for Christ coming down, Word becoming Flesh, to be Emmanuel, God with us. (John 1:14). So stop wondering how you could ever come up with a better gift to repay God for all He’s given you. You can’t. Christ already filled that gap. And God loves a cheerful giver, just for the sake of the joy He sees in you when you give.