Now we've covered the three Wise Guys, and their gifts. But did you know that the gifts of the wise men were also thought to represent the three items contained in the Ark of the Covenant? Gold symbolized the manna. Frankincense represented the tablets of the Ten Commandments. And myrrh was emblematic of the rod of Aaron. So isn't that neat?
The story of the wise men may be found in Matthew 2:1-16. Their visit is commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany (Twelfth Night or January 6). On January 6th, four great events in the life of Christ are celebrated - the visit of the Magi (Epiphany); Christ's baptism in the river Jordan by John (Theophany); the miracle at Cana where Jesus changed water into wine (Bethany); and the feeding of the 5000 men along with their wives and children with five loaves of bread (Phagiphany). If you're following closely, it's kind of like watching Lost - there's lots of symbolism and hints at the very beginning.
At one time Epiphany was celebrated in much the same way as Christmas is now. Even today, in some countries, the wise men or their camels bear Christmas gifts for the children each year. In Czechoslovakia, the initials of the magi's names are written over the entrance ways of houses to celebrate Epiphany. Come on? Not a magical fat man in a red suit with reindeer and a flying sleigh- hey, at least the wise men have always been a part of the story.
Today, the bodies of the magi are in the Cologne Cathedral where they are venerated as saints and called the "Three Kings of Cologne." Their feast day is July 23. They have become the patron saints of travelers. Their names have been engraved on rings to prevent cramps and objects have been touched to their skulls and worn to prevent accidents.
Unless otherwise indicated all scripture quotes are from the New King James V Bible.
Read more about the Epiphany at: