It’s Epiphany! Did anyone bring you some gold? Frankincense? Myrrh? These are very specific gifts. Each symbolizes something specific – and together are also representative of the trinity (yes, I know that some unitarians have been fond of saying that there is absolutely no biblical basis for the trinity, but this just isn’t so. There is some – it’s scant – but there is some – and it’s still fine to be unitarian – but I digress). Each gift foretells the life of Christ from birth to death. It’s all in the song “We Three Kings.”
“Gold I bring to crown him again” – Christ the king, after all. Frankincense is for anointing – Jesus the Messiah. So Lord and Savior. Myrrh is a funerary spice used for preparing bodies. It foretells the crucifixion – and by extension, the resurrection. So the Risen Christ.
So ok, pretty good gifts if you want to presage the life of Christ. And make sure the Holy Family has a little something for their exile in Egypt. But generally speaking, as baby gifts, well, I can just imagine the warnings on the package, “Ages 3 and up.” Hmm…
So this got me thinking, what would you bring? What would I bring? I’m thinking chocolate. Not for Baby Jesus, so much. But Mary! Holy Mother Of God, Batman! She’s been a trouper, hasn’t she? I mean, she didn’t say one afternoon, “Gee, I think I’d like to have a baby, and I’ll bet Joseph will be just fine with it and marry me anyway.” Gabriel just showed up and announced that she was chosen for this, and Mary was all, “Um, sure, OK, if that’s what God wants.” I think I’d give her chocolate. Or a spa day. Or chocolate and a spa day. Definitely – chocolate and a spa day.
Joseph could probably use a gift, too. I’m not sure what I’d give to Joseph. I mean, chocolate wouldn’t be a bad thing for him, either. Since they’re about to head to Egypt, maybe he could use a new pair of sandals. Or a donkey.
But what to give to Baby Jesus? That’s really a tough one. I mean, what do you give to God incarnate if you’re not going to go with the symbolic gifts? How many onesies does Baby Jesus need?
This is what I’m thinking. Jesus gave his all. I mean, not yet. Not at Epiphany. But still – Jesus gave everything. He put himself completely into his ministry. He held nothing back. So a gift to Jesus has to be a complete gift. Holding nothing back.
In the end, I think that means we have to give ourselves. Completely. So there might be something small that can be wrapped up that would symbolize that – but it would be different for each of us. The real gift is going to be how we put ourselves into it. How we are going to be fully present in our lives – in what we are called to do.
And that brings me back to gifts. We each have so many. So when I ask what gifts would you bring, I guess I really should ask first, what gifts DO you bring? What gifts do you bring to whatever it is you’re called to do?
We’re given gifts and in return, we are able to give with them. How cool is that? And isn’t that really the best gift we can give back? To be the people we’re meant to be.
Since I can’t give Baby Jesus a present, I guess the thing to do is pay it forward. So how about it? What would you give?
That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.