As they say… Tis the season! Christmas is my favorite time of year. When I was a kid, it was very popular to shorten the name of the holiday to Xmas. I will not be doing that today. So if a discussion of our Savior offends you, you might want to skip this one. I’ll catch you next time….
I remember being a young child and asking someone at church why the wise men gave the baby Jesus frankincense and myrrh. Gold seemed to make sense, I mean WHO wouldn’t want that. But the other two, I just didn’t quite get. The response was unsatisfying but became my reality for the next 30 years. ”They were very valuable, sweetie. They just wanted to give Him something very valuable because He is very valuable.”
I have been around scripture too long to continue to accept a superficial answer. I am forever surprised at the level of symbolism that exists if we are willing to dig. Recently I was asked to speak on the Balms of the scriptures. Specifically the Balm of Gilead. This is where I found my answer.
A balm is a medicinal compound of essential oils, resin and sometimes other plant material. Balms have been around for thousands of years and can still be used today to naturally heal wounds and promote health. A significant component of the Balm of Gilead was most likely derived from myrrh resin. While during my research it donned on me that Myrrh and Frankincense are both taken from a tree. Specifically, the tree is wounded and bleeds. This resin is then taken and used to heal wounds. The Savior is the Tree of Life.
“…to him that overcome will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” -Rev 2:7
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” Acts 5:30
At that moment I realized that both Frankincense and Myrrh represent the Savior. But that is only the beginning. The gifts were given by men from the east. We don’t know exactly where, but we do know that it was far enough away that they were not part of the Hebrew culture. So the golden question is: What did people from the east believe about Frankincense and Myrrh?
Frankincense was believed to circulate stagnant Qi or spiritual energy, if you will. Frankincense was used in the Jewish temples as a spiritual incense. Frankincense represents our spirits and specifically represents the balm of our spirits, representing Christ as the balm of our spiritual wounds.
In eastern medicine myrrh was used to stimulate the heart, liver, and spleen. But, it was by far most recognized for its ability to circulate stagnant blood. Blood represents mortality. Myrrh was used by the Jews to anoint women before and after child birth. Myrrh then represents mortality or specifically that Christ is the balm of our physical wounds.
But myrrh is even more fasinating than that. Myrrh has recieved some negative attention lately. Many people think of it as unsafe because the more we analyze it, the more it starts to look kind of scary. Myrrh contains furanoid compounds, more than any other oils. Furanoid compounds are phototoxic -they cause sunburns. Myrrh contains phenols and ketones considered unsafe by biochemists. Myrrh contains acetic and formic acid -bee stings and ant bites. It also contains xylene, which can be found at your local toxic waste dump. The fact is; when broken down into its parts it contains danger, pain, suffering, and struggles. Much like our lives…..
But the miracle is this! When blended by God, when left in its natural state, when the finger print of God is left upon it, all these scary chemicals interact perfectly together to render Myrrh one of the most mild oils you can put on your body. One of the most healing. So much so, that for thousands of years the Egyptians used Myrrh as a SUNSCREEN! As we do today with our Pure Therapeutic Grade oils.
The lesson myrrh teaches us is that although life is full of struggles, pain, and danger; if we allow the finger print of God to be upon our lives He will use it to heal us instead.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:30
The wise men knew much of our Savior. In reality the gifts given to Christ represented his entire mission. They teach us that He will be wounded for our transgressions, that he will heal us both physically and spiritually. Gold represents our heritage and that of Christ -The Son of God.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” -Romans 8:17
This Christmas season I hope that we can remember the message that the wise men gave and allow Gods fingerprint to be upon all of our lives. Essential Oils are a gift, but they are not the only gift. Life is full of blessings that make all the struggles worth it.