Friday, December 23, 2005

The First Christmas Gift

Christmastime is a complex and even confusing time--exhortations of good cheer mix with stress and frustration, generousity combines with gifts of obligation, desire to be with family and perhaps at worship conflicts with social and professional responsibilities. To help clear the mind, it may help to remember the initial gift of the season--a group of very devout men who traveled from the Tigris/Euphrates region and provided gifts befitting royalty--gold, incense and myrrh--to Jesus's parents. These gifts had several facets: (1) they were voluntary, not compulsive, (2) they were to mark the importance of the event--though not of the Hebrew faith, the traveling men were convinced that this birth was spiritually of massive importance, (3) they were appropriate, both as to content and as to use--some believe that Joseph's escape to Egypt to avoid Herod's subsequent wrath was financed by selling at least part of these gifts.


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