We've made it a tradition to do a "three Wisemen Christmas." Santa still fills the stockings, there's presents from Grandma, friends, and brothers, and we have balloons everywhere for Jesus' birthday. But as to other gifts under the tree, it's limited to three gifts: 1-Educational 2-Apparel 3-Just for Fun
There's a story that we read while we give out these three gifts which we've printed on a canvas scroll. We follow what it says, because in addition to getting gifts, you have to give something as well. When it asks if you have anything to give for education, you go around and say something you learned that year. For clothing, you go in your closet and find stuff for good will. For special items, you find toys or other things to give to good will.
So, here is the story, written by me, my mother-in-law, and my sister Heidi:
Long ago, three kings gazed with wonder at the star that foretold the birth of the greatest king ever to live on earth.
The first king, Aabaca, a serious scholar, was the first to understand the meaning of the star. He wanted to be of the greatest service to the King of Kings, so he set out early on a journey to find the newborn babe. Along his way, he met many people curious about his trek. "Where are you going?" they would ask. "And why do you bring so many camels laden with scrolls and tablets?" These people knew nothing of scriptures or astronomy. In fact, most of them could not even read.
The king thought, "I have come out so early, surely I have time to teach these people the things that are so precious to me." He quickly built a school and taught them about the signs in the heavens, and all the prophecies telling of the great Messiah.
The people rejoiced at the freedom and opportunities that this education gave them and wanted to show their appreciation. The king's school was built under a Boswellia tree, which produced a rare resin used for perfume and healing. The grateful people gathered all of the precious resin they could, and presented it to the king. King Aabaca breathed deeply of the aroma and studying the golden chunks, said, "This Frankincense will be my gift to the Christ child."
You have been given the gift of education this year. What have you learned this year that you would be able to share with those around you?
The first wise man's gift was the gift of education. He wishes to share that gift with you.
Becede, the second king, lived in a mountainous country where snow fell and winds blew cold. He had many ornate robes, elegant head coverings, rich silks and embroidered tunics that had been passed down to him from the kings of the past. This fancy apparel brought him no happiness. He wished to simplify his wardrobe to wool coats and sensible clothes like those worn by his subjects.
The people of his kingdom wanted for nothing, but King Becede had heard of neighboring lands where people froze for want of clothes. He realized that he would be traveling through these lands on his way to the Christ child, and saw this as an excellent chance to distribute his surplus wardrobe to those who needed it more than he did.
When he handed out all his clothes to the people, they wept with gratitude. Secretly, they met together to decide how they could show their appreciation to the king. An old man of the village reminded them of the thorny bushes growing over the mountainside that produced an very aromatic resin, myrrh, which was highly prized for it's medicinal value. All night long thy gathered resin and in the morning, as King Becede prepared to leave, they offered him a basket of hardened resin. The king accepted gratefully, telling them that Myrrh would be his gift to the Christ child.
You have been given the gift of clothing this year. What clothes do you have this year that you would be able to share with those around you?
The second wise man's gift was the gift of clothes. He wishes to share that gift with you.
The third king, Cidifi, was the richest of all. He had inherited a kingdom full of precious items., but he saw most of these as excess in a world where many went without. His subjects were well provided for, so he knew they wouldn't benefit from all the extra articles. His wise advisors told him that he would likely meet many poor people before he found the Christ child, so he decided to take all his riches with him on his journey.
After traveling for many days, King Cidifi came upon a group of miners whose life was a grey drab existence. The men spent most of their time in mine shafts, blocked from the light of the sun and the color and richness that light brought with it.
When the miners first caught sight of King Cidifi and his caravan, they were stunned at the beauty of the articles spilling out of the trunks and baskets carried by his camels. Seeing how entranced the people were, the king promptly opened his trunks and shared his treasures. They were over joyed to gifts that brought back the color they missed in their daily life. For three days, they labored in the gold mines so they could present the king with a gift of their own. When he saw the carved chest full of gold, tears ran down the cheeks of King Cidifi. He knew how much they had sacrificed to give his this and told them that this Gold would be his gift to the newborn King.
You have been given the gift of special items this year. What things do you have that you would be able to share with those around you?
The third wise man's gift was the gift of special articles. He wishes to share that gift with you.
When the first, second, and third wise men came together to present their gifts to little baby Jesus, this tiny King of Kings smiled up at them. Even though he was just a baby, Jesus knew that these were not three simple gifts. These were gifts that represented service, love and sacrifice to many children of God.
This was the beginning of the spirit of Christmas, which inspires us to give love and service to Christ and all the children of God. Jesus wants us to remember the true spirit of Christmas this day and throughout all Christmases to come.