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Gifts at Christmas

Regular columnist Alison Hill reflects on what were effectively the very first Christmas gifts.

At this time of year many celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ through the giving of gifts. As Christians, our thankfulness continues throughout the year as we thank God for sacrificing His son for our sake.
As we look at the gifts brought by the wise men - gold, frankincense and myrrh - we see that they symbolise the Kingship of Jesus Christ, the Fragrance of Christ, and the Death of Christ.


Introduces us to the King of all the earth. It was a most costly gift, one normally given to a King. Jesus was born in humble circumstances; as the gift was given it exalted Him to a higher place, as it revealed to us that we have a king in our midst. As we humbly walk with our God he will exalt us to where he wants us to be.

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 NIV


The first part of the name, frank, came from the freeness with which, when burned, the incense gives forth its odour. It burns for a long time, with a steady flame. It is obtained by successive incisions in the bark of a tree called Arbor thuris . The first incision yields the purest and whitest resin...The English word is derived from old French franc encens, i.e. "pure incense") *

Frankincense was symbolic of the nature of Jesus – one who is pure. Frankincense freely gives forth its odour. Everyone who comes into contact with Jesus is impacted by Him in some way or another. During the time Jesus walked the earth it would have been impossible not to be affected by one so perfect. This aroma flows through us today as we yield our lives to Him...

The purest and whitest resin resulting from the first incision of the Arbor thuris tree can be compared to the purity of the blood that flowed from Jesus as He was pierced for our transgressions, once for all.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” 2 Corinthians 2 v 14-15 NIV


When a tree wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. Myrrh gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest myrrh, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum. Myrrh is used to purify the dead. *

Myrrh was brought to symbolize the death of Jesus, even though there was no purification needed for one so Holy. Let us remember at this time of year the one who is our King.

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2 KJV
*Frankincense/Myrrh -  content http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/frankincense/

The image of the wise men with gifts is courtesy of Benson_09 on www.flickr.com


Alison Hill CF 150

Alison Hill has been involved in Christian ministry for twenty five years and attends her local church in King's Lynn, Norfolk.

She runs Butterfly Ministries, offering Christian workshops to churches, conferences, small and large gatherings, bringing teaching that encourages growth in all areas of Christian life. She is also an author, now writing her third book.

She believes that Christianity is about walking with God daily and learning about His ways through His Word and hearing His voice. 

Visit:   www.alisonhill-author.co.uk

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