My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gifts of the Magi

For the last ten years of so, I've made a special piece of artwork each Christmas to help me catch the Christmas spirit. 

This year, I chose the most famous of gifts, those presented to the Christ Child by the Wise Men.

The King James Bible version reads: 

Matthew 2: 1, 2, 11

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, 

Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”

There is a lot of significance and symbolism in each of these three gifts. After a little research, here is a brief overview:

Gold – the symbol of Kingship on earth, and an item of great worth to all countries and peoples. This gift recognized Jesus Christ as Lord, King of the Earth.

Frankincense – is a milky white resin derived from tree sap that is prized for its sweet, warm, balsamic fragrance, as well as its medicinal qualities. It’s been found to benefit those with asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s diseas and collagenous colitis. Anciently, it was known to cure hemlock poisoning, leprosy, worms, snakebites, diarrhea, plague, scurvy and even baldness, as well as a treatment for depression. The finest frankincense comes from a small Boswellia Sacra tree that grows in the cool, arid areas of Somalia, Oman, Yemen and India – all lands east of Israel. Frankincense was used as part of the temple rites in the Old Testament. Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths have used frankincense mixed with oil to anoint newborns and those moving into a new phase in their spiritual lives. The aroma is said to represent life. This was a gift worthy of a Messiah, one whose life had been long awaited.

Myrrh – is a resin that comes from the Commiphora tree. Its color can be anywhere from pale yellow to a reddish hue. It is found in the shallow, rocky soils of Ethiopia, Somalia and Oman. It has a warm, slightly musty smell and is a pale yellow to amber color. Myrrh cures many of the same maladies as frankincense as well as gastric ulcers, tumors and parasites. It is also one of the most effective disinfectants and was used to anoint loved ones who had died. It’s interesting that myrrh was used when Jesus was placed in the tomb.

The gifts of the Magi were practical, valuable, and highly symbolic. There's no doubt the Wise Men put a lot of thought into them and wanted to give the very best of gifts, as do we all - for those we truly love and care about.

Have a wonderful holiday season. I wish the best for you - good health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year. 

Merry Christmas! 
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