“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh.” Matthew 2:11.
What were these gifts that we read about every Christmas? Gold is the one most of us know the most about. As a precious metal, it was certainly a gift worthy of a king. And of the other two, probably all we have been taught is that they were aromatic spices used in burial ceremonies. But there is more.
In the book of Leviticus, worshippers were told to add frankincense to their grain offerings and burn them before the Lord. Even today one of the best-known aromatherapy sources says that frankincense can be added to our logs for the fireplace and that the fragrance of the burning frankincense is a wonderful addition to our festive occasions.
Frankincense is a gum resin obtained from the bark of a tree that grows in Somalia, China, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia. Besides its current use in religious incenses, it is also therapeutic in the treatment of sores, wounds, fevers, coughs, colds, stress, bronchitis, laryngitis, nervous conditions and tension.
Victoria Edwards in her book The Aromatherapy Companion states “Frankincense acts as an antiseptic, expectorant, astringent (to uterine and mucous membranes), and digestive aid. It treats anxiety, nervous tension, infections of the urinary tract, leprosy, wounds, and hemorrhages. Frankincense is burned in the Catholic Church to protect against evil spirits. The scent has an elevating, warming, and soothing effect on the mind and emotions. Frankincense is ideal for meditation because it slows and deepens the breath.”
Myrrh is also a resin from the bark of a tree. And this tree also grows in Somalia, Ethiopia and North Africa. Having been known to cure mouth ulcers, it has links to use in dentistry.
The ancient Egyptians used myrrh for embalming. It is cooling to the skin, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and purifying. It treats uterine disorders, laryngitis, cuts, cracked heels, wounds, ulcers, and wasting degenerative disease.
Myrrh can enhance visualization, expand awareness, and calm fears about the future. What a perfect addition to our preparation for the millennium ahead.
Valerie Cooksley’s book Aromatherapy: A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils points out another interesting fact about both of these gifts. She uses both essential oils from these resins to treat depression … especially the depression that accompanies loss. She indicates that they are very helpful in dealing with grief and bereavement. Perhaps as we meditate on the joyous season of the birth of our Savior, these gifts will help us to reflect also on the price He paid for our salvation.
May we at this season give to Him our selves as pure gold, refined “in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10)”. May the holiday season find you rich with family and the love of friends. And may the dawning of the new millennium bring you continued good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1: 29.
– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.