We Three Kings of Orient Are

Last Sunday, as we peeled some of the layers of interpretations and traditions from the song, “We Three Kings of Orient Are” my spiritual imagination was freed to re-appreciate “the gifts that keep on giving” (as Pastor Dusty put it) in my own relationship with The King:

Gold: The beauty and high value we ascribe to gold in both art and commerce represents my Material Self. It encompasses everything I prize most highly: time, wealth, vocational industry, hobbies and even Bible study. It reminds me that my industry can be idolatrous (Isaiah 2:8 – … they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made) often marked by slavish dissatisfaction. But God has the antidote: Colossians 3:23 … whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men …. Gold reminds me that when I place my treasures before him I am less likely to get caught up in superficial or self-aggrandizing activities.

Frankincense: Treasured most for its fragrance, frankincense has an ethereal quality. Like my Spiritual Self it can’t be held or quantified in a material sense. It is the realm where attitudes, values and true motives for my industry hide out. This is where my life can become a fragrance of Christ to God (2 Corinthians 2:15) or a stench of deceit and manipulations. This is the realm in which the paradox of Matthew 10:39 plays out: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. When I give God the “life-line” of notions that keep me self-justified, He returns to me truly abundant life in the Spirit.

Myrrh: The bitter, earthy nature of myrrh parallels the failures of my Mortal Self. But its medicinal properties also indicate the sweetness of remedy: God sent Jesus as the oil of gladness instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:13). I can hide (withhold) my mortality in shame (as Adam and Eve did), or I can believe in His mercy, be honest (vulnerable) and give myself to God’s perfect love – the love that casts out fear (1John 4:18). When I give him my fear, my anxiety, my failure, He exchanges it for peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).
I will not hear this Christmas song the same way again … How about you?

Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 

-Randi Nelson