Sunday, December 29, 2013

Advent: Three Gifts


We followed the star
knowing only it led
to the west
to what all the portents
pointed
the predictions fulfilled
to the west
to the west

I bring gold
the gift fit for a king

I bring frankincense
the gift fit for God

I bring myrrh
the gift fit to prepare
a body for the tomb

we follow the star
to the west
to the west

even wise men don’t
fully comprehend


It was the English scholar Bede (the “Venerable” Bede), writing in the 7th century, who first pointed out the symbolism of the three gifts of the wise men.


Painting: Adoration of the Kings by Jan Goessaert (Jan Mabuse), 1510-15; National Gallery of Art, London.