Gifts of the Mystery
NATIVITY AND THEOPHANY - DAY 5
The Gospel story of the Magi (Matt. 2:1-12), beautifully presented also in our Christmas hymns, is a concise description of spiritual life.
When Jesus’ bright star was shining at His birth, three wise men from the East, known in Christian tradition as Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, who studied the signs and prophecies of heaven, were the first to notice the star. This suggests the need for watchfulness and vigilance in spiritual life. We also must be watchful in mind and keep the eyes of our souls open to understand the Word of God and to observe his signs in our lives.
Despite the distance and expected difficulties, the Magi made a conscious decision and set out to reach the birthplace of the newborn King and worship him. We, too, often know what God wants us to do, but we do not take actions out of fear, laziness, or other reasons. The example of the Magi teaches us to courageously and persistently take our steps in spiritual life and to do God’s will unwaveringly, without complaining of or fearing hardships and troubles.
When the wise Magi arrived in Bethlehem, they entered the grotto where the Infant Jesus was laid, knelt before him, worshiped, and presented him their gifts - gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The hymnographer calls them “gifts of the mystery,” because each presented its unique significance. Gold symbolizes the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ; incense symbolizes his divinity; and myrrh symbolizes the Lord’s redemptive death. In other words, with those gifts, the Magi confessed that the newborn was their King, God and Savior. May we, too, while coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, not come empty-handed, but dedicate our hearts, souls and minds to him and confess that he is our King, God and Savior.
Finally, the evangelist says that the Magi “returned to their country by another route.” Indeed, he who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and sees his bright face, can no longer remain the same. He becomes a new person and takes new paths to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Canticle Hymn of the Nativity – Tone V.
The ranks of the bodiless hosts joined the shepherds,
to praise the dawning of the great light of our salvation
emanating from the Father.
The Magi followed the star to Bethlehem,
and worshipped the Lord,
in the grotto, they offered gifts that signify the mystery.
And the shepherds sing with the angels:
“Glory in the highest to you, great God,
you came for the salvation of the universe by your Epiphany”.