Matthew 2:11

Such powerful images of the Christmas story: The wise men arriving at a house, finding Mary and the child, bowing down, and offering Him their gifts. Joseph is not mentioned, but the presence of God the Father is felt.

Each December famous interpretations of this passage come to mind such as the many paintings entitled The Adoration of the Magi, the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the story “The Gift of the Magi.” This scripture, though, defies any season. Creating our own “mental masterpiece” enables us to contemplate its impact on our daily lives year round.

We are wise enough to recognize that the real gift is not the treasures of the visitors but the Christ Child Himself. We know “the rest of the story” of this human yet divine child who grew in wisdom and stature and carried out a miraculous ministry on Earth. His crucifixion and resurrection offer the gifts of salvation and hope, the essence of Christianity

We are wise, too, when we present “hearts of gold” in compassionate service or offer quiet benevolence or bold acts of courage that spread like incense to those in need. Myrrh’s connotation with death prepares us to be spiritually ready as earthly life expires. In our “journey” we also face “Herods” whose greed and power victimize the lives of many. Christians, though, require no dream to show what course is needed.

Our interpretations of this passage may not appear in museums, music, or anthologies but can be painted, played, or written within our souls.

Prayer: Lord, give us wisdom to absorb the wonder of Your birth, the magnitude of Your ministry, and Your gift of salvation. Amen.

Nancy Brown