On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
The star that led the Magi appears over Bethlehem and the Magi followed it ato find the house. Bethlehem was a quiet, agricultural and a respectable Jewish village. Imagine the entourage of the Magi arriving: two worlds colliding.
The Magi enter and see Mary and the child. They bow down and worship Him and offer him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What’s going on here? God’s good news is being revealed to those who are not of the Jewish faith right from the beginning. Matthew is hinting at something that will become clear with Jesus’ final words: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…’ In modern day terms, the visit of the Magi is a like a trailer for a forthcoming feature – the new, global church.
They offered Jesus gifts. Putting aside any symbolic interpretation of the gifts we can simply see this action as them giving him what was costly to them. We cannot offer Jesus cheap discipleship. We must give him what He is worth. Not just in treasure, but also with our time and talents. In 1872, Christina Rossetti wrote ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’. The last verse reads,
‘What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.’