After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magic from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Mathew 2, 1 – 2 + 9 – 11
People from the Far East come to Bethlehem to worship the Messiah. They fall down in front of the child and worship to him. They open their treasure chests and give Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. Sign of appreciation for the new king and priest. Pagan astrologers, magicians, bring their treasures to the new king of Israel.
What does it mean to me when I say: Jesus is king? Am I just only saying this with my mouth? Will I sing my songs to Jesus, but leave my treasure chests? Will I bring HIM my gold, what means everything that shines and is valuable in my life? Will I bring to Jesus what my life makes so successful? What me let shine like that? Or can I just let Jesus take a look - and then I close the lid again?
What does the frankincense mean? Will I bring to HIM my frankincense? Frankincense symbolizes my piety. Will I bring Jesus my piety, my dearly beloved beliefs? A saying goes: Too much frankincense makes the saint sooty. Am I a pleasing aroma of Christ (2Cor 2:15) or am I spreading a frankincense ambience with my kind of piety that only makes others cough? To wrestle for fresh air?
And what about myrrh, that bitter taste. At his crucifixion Jesus was given wine mixed with myrrh. But Jesus did not drink it. It was inedible (Mark 15:23). Will I bring Jesus the bitterness of my life? The mental injuries, the humiliation of others, the anger abaout God? Will I bring HIM everything that has embittered me in life? What makes me bitter? Which may even make me unbearable? A bitter man is an unbearable person.
"Seek peace and pursue it," is the annual solution. That would be three concrete steps: I will bring my bitter myrrh to Jesus, be sparing with my incense (my way of piety), and break away from gold, from material wealth. Jesus said: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mathew 19:24)
When the sages saddled their camels, they had nothing left except their carry-on luggage. The treasures, even the ballast they left behind, at King Jesus. They traveled home with light luggage. An image for life as a Christian.
Martin Luther did understand that. The reformer had a spiritually rich life. What he did accomplish: translate the Bible, write songs and prayers. This man has changed the world. And what does he say at the end of his life? On a piece of paper he wrote these last lines: "We are beggars, that is true."
Martin Luther realizes that he was a beggar in the presence of God. The encounter with Jesus Christ makes us to beggars. In the old song "Star on which I look" it says at the end: "I have nothing to bring, all Lord Jesus, YOU are."
I want to live in this consciousness and believe: I have nothing to bring to God. Lord Jesus is all I need and all I have for live. This year, I want to make myself fully aware that I am as poor as a beggar in presence of God. And yet incomprehensibly rich by what HE gives me. What makes me rich is his grace! Is HIS infinite love. Is HIS presence. Nothing in this world can separate me from his love (Romans 8:31 ff).
So the wise men from the Orient traveled back to their homeland, back into their everyday lives. In their normal life, which has become quite different now. They continue their life in the peace of God.