The three wise men, also known as the Magi, are said to have followed the star of Bethlehem to bring three gifts to baby Jesus. These gifts were not typical gifts for a baby, though they did have practical uses for Jesus' family. The three wise men's gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh carried prophetic meanings, symbolizing Jesus' roles as a king, priest and savior, according to some Christian interpretations.
Gold is associated with royalty and was a gift given to kings around the time of Christ's birth. The wise men's first gift of gold symbolized Jesus' role as the King of Kings. Jesus' family may have used the gift of gold in their flight to Egypt and after leaving that region to return home.
Frankincense was a type of incense burned as a sacrifice and used by priests during services of worship around the time of Christ's birth. The wise men's gift of frankincense symbolized Jesus' priesthood. Jesus' family may have used the gift of frankincense for practical purposes, such as during prayer, or given some to the temple priests as a sacrifice.
During the time of Christ's birth, the Jews used myrrh as an embalming ointment when preparing bodies for burial. The wise men's gift of myrrh prophetically signified that Jesus was born to suffer and die, while also symbolizing his burial. The gift of myrrh also had a practical use, as Mary, Jesus' mother, may have used the myrrh for both Joseph's and Jesus' burials.
- Agustina Dowling /Demand Media