“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2, 10-11.
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We see so many remembrances about this passage from the Bible and then we see some jokes here and there about the Wise Men not giving Our Lady nappies and other essentials because these gifts seemed “useless” to our eyes even though these were presents worthy of a King.
Sometimes we even pass through the passage not paying to much attention to the gifts…Other times we might even not pay attention to the importance of the Wise Men themselves.
Yes, it could be funny to read this passage and wonder what a baby would do with gold, frankincense and myrrh… but then, when you become a parent and read the book “Consecration to St. Joseph” by Fr. Donald Calloway where he mentions this event from the perspective of St. Joseph, Father and Protector of the Holy Family, you start seeing this whole moment very differently, you see the Holy Family as a household with needs just like you and me… which makes the birth of Our Lord Jesus even more significant to our Hearts.
We seem to overlook that St Joseph is not mentioned anywhere in that recollection of the Wise Men’s visit but he is definitely the silent Hero and Saviour of the Saviour behind the scenes… like the foundation of a house that you cannot see or you cannot remember it’s there, the same way St. Joseph was present all the way through as a silent and strong support to Our Lady… If it wasn’t from the foundation of a house, the whole house itself would have collapsed. Saint Joseph is the unseen Hero of the humbling Birth of our Saviour.
In the book, Father Calloway explains:
“Throughout the centuries, people have often wondered what the financial status of the Holy Family was, or what their living conditions were. To answer this question, we need to look no further than the New Testament. The Holy Family was poor. Very poor.
The Holy Family lived on Divine Providence. Had Baby Jesus not been given gold, frankincense and myrrh by the Wise Men in Bethlehem, it is likely that St. Joseph would not have had money to purchase food and other necessities for his family when they travelled to Egypt. When they had left from Nazareth for Jerusalem to fulfil the census, they had not brought many things with them because they expected to return to Nazareth. The gifts of the Wise Men were God’s providential way of taking care of the Holy Family. Years later, after returning to Nazareth from Egypt, the Holy Family lived for almost 30 years in a house in Nazareth that was simple and small.” (Page 47, Day 23 Lover of Poverty).
The way Fr. Calloway humanises the situation by putting it in such terrenal perspective makes you humble yourself and acknowledge the presence of God… It really brings light to the fact that the best way to live your life is to surrender yourself to the perfect plan and will of God…
Oh! If we only just let go and let God BE God!
St. Joseph surrendered himself completely to God’s will in these terrifying moments as a Husband and Father: not knowing how to provide for his family, how protect them from danger before birth (trying to look for an inn to stay) and after birth when they scaped the threat of murder made by King Herod…
But there it was God… HE was ALWAYS there.
Why were these Wise Men mentioned in the Gospels? I don’t have the answer, I am not a theologian. But what I do know is that this explanation, this perspective puts our own life in perspective… because no matter what is happening in our lifes TODAY, the Epiphany of the Lord reminds me that God WILL provide. Maybe not the way we want to be provided, but He knows the best way to take care of us.
Let us trust HIS will.
“So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?”
It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'”
Matthew 6, 31-34.
God bless you!
Liza, a Maronite Mum.