BY KATHY PICKENS
The Greenville Standard
Nativity scenes far and wide feature three wise men offering gifts.
However, most scholars agree that the wise men would not have been present on the first Christmas as they had to travel 800 to 900 miles from Persia (modern day Iran) after seeing the Star of Bethlehem.
A combination of scripture, Jewish rituals surrounding births, and Herod’s decree to murder all baby boys two and under leads many to estimate that the visit of the Magi occurred sometime between 40 days to 2 years after the birth of the Christ Child.
Matthew 2:11 records that the Magi brought gifts but does not elaborate on the meanings of the gifts.
It could have been a symbolic gesture. In Bible times gold was presented as a gift to royalty and offered as a sacrifice to build the temple.
It was certainly a practical gift. Perhaps the gold was sold to finance the holy family’s escape to Egypt away from Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents.
Regardless of its meaning, gold, like the gifts we can offer Jesus today when we live a life of service to Him, is useful, precious, respectful, and worshipful.